The toughest scoring day in PGA Championship history seemingly blew the leaderboard back a half-dozen years. Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh -- two of the most prominent winners of the last decade but in search of lost magic in this one -- carved their way through Kiawah Island's fierce winds to latch onto a share of the lead in the major known as "Glory's Last Shot."
Singh was the only man to break 70, firing a 3-under-par 69 that proved to be nine shots better than the day's scoring average. Woods came along later to post a 71, holding the lead by himself until a three-putt at No. 18.
"It was tough out there -- wow," Woods said after finally taking shelter from winds that gusted up to 30 mph. "You can't take anything for granted. A simple tap-in is not a simple tap-in."
Woods and Singh reached the midway point at 4-under 140, joined by first-round leader Carl Pettersson, who battled through a tough beginning and end in a 74.
Asked if he felt like he was leading a major or simply beat up, the Swede said: "Both."
"It was a difficult day," Pettersson continued. "I thought 2 over today was like shooting 2 under (on Thursday). I hit some squirrelly shots, which is typical when it's blowing 30 miles an hour."
Ian Poulter was one shot behind after a 71, with Rory McIlroy (75) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (73) two off the pace.
No one could fully avoid having a shot -- or a half-dozen -- toyed with by the winds. The scoring average of 78.11 easily was the highest since the PGA went to a stroke-play format in 1958. That year's opening round at Llanerch Country Club averaged 76.8.
"I was very happy to get off that golf course," said Graeme McDowell, who followed an opening 68 with a 76. "I'm trying to think of the last time I remember a golf course playing this difficult."
To find the last time a PGA Tour round averaged more than 78 strokes, you have to go back to the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills (78.73). In recent years, it also happened in the first round of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie (78.31) and in 1993 at Torrey Pines (78.38).
Singh, Woods, Poulter, Phil Mickelson (71), and Michael Hoey (70) were the only players to break par on the seaside layout -- and Hoey was later disqualified for failing to replace sand he had brushed away to identify his embedded ball.
At the other end of the spectrum, more than 30 players recorded scores in the 80s.
"Most every hole is a direct crosswind," Mickelson said. "If you get it going (off-line) with the crosswinds, your misses are going to be very big. So it's a difficult test."
At even-par 144, Mickelson was tied for 27th when he completed his morning round. By sundown, he had risen to a tie for 12th.
A total of 72 players survived the cut, including Dutchman Joost Luiten, whose round was suspended by darkness with one hole left. He was 1 over and set to play No. 18 at 7:30 a.m. EDT, with the third round starting 70 minutes later.
Doug Wade, one of the 20 club pros who earned a slot in the field, struggled to a 21-over 93 that was one stroke from matching the worst score in PGA Championship history.
Fellow club pro Michael Frye was on pace to challenge the ignominious record as well before playing his final six holes in even par to post a 90.
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