Lynn, a veteran with one career win on the European Tour, hadn’t played since finishing 36th at the Scottish Open four weeks ago. Now, he’s 1-under at The Ocean Course after a stellar 68 that left him five shots off the pace.
Lynn, 38, found out last week he’d gotten an invite from the PGA of America to play. He’d been practicing well the past few weeks and thought maybe he’d have some surprises in store in his first career PGA. His round moved him up 26 spots into a tie for 11th and within sight of the leaders.
“My game has sort of turned a corner a few weeks ago,” said Lynn, who finished well ahead of the bad weather. “Practice has felt good. I feel like I’m hitting it well. Yeah, I came here this week thinking my game feels pretty good, so why not?”
RYDER CUP HOPES: Maybe Padraig Harrington’s got a shot at the European Ryder Cup team after all.
Harrington, put on notice by captain Jose Maria Olazabal that he needed something special to happen to be selected to Europe’s team, had resigned himself to missing September’s matches when he followed an opening-round 70 with 76 on Friday. But Harrington rebounded in the third round with 69, moving five shots off the lead.
MAJOR WINNERS FALTER: There probably won’t be a double-major winner this season. Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson and British Open champion Ernie Els could not take advantage of The Ocean Course’s milder conditions.
Watson started the day eight shots behind the leaders and didn’t make up much ground with his 70 that left him at 2-over for the tournament.
Els never got things going with only one birdie on each nine to end with 73 and was 4-over par.
Els had a dramatic victory at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in July for his four major title. Adam Scott had a four-shot lead over Els with four holes remaining. But the Australian made four consecutive bogeys and Els left with the claret jug.
LUITEN’S WAIT: Joost Luiten was the only player who didn’t finish the second round Friday, choosing to call it a day with darkness closing in on The Ocean Course and the difficult 18th hole left. Turned out, Luiten made the right decision.
Luiten returned at 7:30 a.m., sinking a 22-foot birdie putt to close with 76 and stand at even-par through two rounds.
“If you make a birdie, it’s worth the wait,” said Luiten, playing his first PGA Championship.
Afterward, Luiten, 26, gushed about the greens at The Ocean Course. “They are the best. I played yesterday as the last group out and I have never seen greens get through like this at the end of the day,” he said. “There were not many footprints and stuff. One of the best putting surfaces I have ever seen.”
Luiten’s love of the greens continued in the third round as he opened with birdies on the first and second holes.