SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Following a first-round 77 Hiroshi Iwata stormed off to the practice tee in search of answers for a balky driver. All he thought he’d found were calloused hands.
Early Friday before he teed off for Round 2 at the PGA Championship, things didn’t appear to be much better, but then the 34-year-old birdied his opening hole on his way to a brush with history.
Iwata turned in 2 under for the day after a bogey at the ninth hole and was nearly perfect the rest of the way, recording five birdies and an eagle (at the par-5 11th hole) for an inward 29 and second-round 63.
Iwata, who is currently second on the Japan Golf Tour money list, became the 27th player to shoot 63 in a major and the first since Jason Dufner in Round 2 at the 2013 PGA. He also set a new Straits Course record.
“On the back nine, after No. 13, I was thinking that I'm going to shoot 27,” said Iwata, who is playing just his fourth PGA Tour event and his second major.
Iwata, who had to scramble for par at the last hole, is no stranger to posting low scores. He shot a second-round 62 in June at the Thailand Open. On Friday at Whistling Straits he was asked the differences between his 63 at the PGA and the 62 in Thailand.
“Just one shot different. Nothing else,” smiled Iwata, who needed only 22 putts on Day 2.