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Coetzee jumps into contention with 65

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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – South African George Coetzee won two European Tour titles earlier this year, but he wasn’t exactly riding a wave of confidence coming to the PGA Championship.

He missed the cut in his last three European Tour starts.

He also came here having missed the cut in all three of his previous PGA Championship starts.

So what were his expectations teeing it up at Whistling Straits?

“Hopefully, make the cut,” Coetzee said.

With a 7-under 65, Coetzee did more than that. He vaulted into contention.

PGA Championship: Full-field scores

“It’s funny how the game works,” Coetzee said. “I’ve had the same kind of swing thoughts, the same game plan.”

Coetzee, 29, is a three-time European Tour winner. He says putting has always been the strength of his game, and he showed that taking just 21 putts in the second round.

“I’ve always said that I would be picking up trash if I couldn’t putt,” Coetzee said.

Coetzee shot that 65 Friday despite a bogey at the final hole. He’s fourth on the European Tour in putts per greens in regulation this year. He credits his father for his putting skills.

“I was about 10 years old,” Coetzee said. “I remember me and my mates used to play nine holes, and my dad came to me one day and said, `If you want to make it in this game, you don't play nine holes with your friends. You stand and putt, and putt from when they tee off until they come off the golf course.’ So I've always been kind of focused on putting.”