Rise and shine. That was the mantra for Haotong Li on the second day of the 102nd PGA Championship. Among the early starters, the Chinese star took off with a pair of birdies at the top of his round, and never really looked back from there. Li made the turn in 31 strokes, moving to 8-under par with birdies at 9 & 10. Overnight leader Jason Day was still on the range, even as Li returned to the comforts of the clubhouse at TPC Harding Park. Brendon Todd had already made the turn but was rooted on his overnight number of 5-under, tied with the Australian.
At the par-4 first, Haotong produced a 304 yard drive to the left intermediate and worked his way to just two feet from the flag for a bright start. After finding the centre of the fairway on the second, the Chinese star produced a laser guided putt from more than 22 feet to reinforce his prospects.
The 25-year-old recorded his best major result at the 2017 Open Championship, when he finished third, six strokes behind Jordan Spieth. However, his recent form did not suggest any sort of magic up his sleeve. He missed the cut at the Memorial with scores of 74 & 77. At the WGC-FedEx St Jude Classic last week, Li finished near the bottom of the field. Even though he got off to an encouraging 67, he shot 73, 74 & 75 from there to slip down the order.
But he hasn’t shown any frailty so far this week. He shot a bogey-free 65 to add to a healthy 67 on Thursday for a 8-under 132 through 36 holes.