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Justin Thomas takes lead over Rory McIlroy at US PGA… with Matt Fitzpatrick and Tiger Woods behind

Justin Thomas warns he is ‘a long way from home’ after taking the lead over Rory McIlroy in the second round of the US PGA.

Former champion Justin Thomas overcame test conditions to set the clubhouse goal on day two of the 104th US PGA Championship.

Thomas, who lifted the Wanamaker Trophy at Quail Hollow in 2017, hit a second straight 67 at Southern Hills for an average total of 134, six under par.

That took the world number one a shot ahead of overnight leader Rory McIlroy, who was among the last starters on Friday as he continued his bid to win a fifth major title and first since 2014.

American Justin Thomas established a one-shot lead during the second round of the US PGA.

American Justin Thomas established a one-shot lead during the second round of the US PGA.

Rory McIlroy, who accurately called his 65 opening 'great' in the tournament, teed off later.

Rory McIlroy, who accurately called his 65 opening ‘great’ in the tournament, teed off later.

Winds forecast to gust to 40 mph had prompted tournament officials to opt not to mow the greens before play began Friday in an attempt to prevent balls from rolling on undulating surfaces.

Thomas immediately found the speed of the greens to his liking when he birdied the 10th, his first hole, and also took another shot at the 13th to join McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard for the first time.

That was short-lived as Thomas quickly bogeyed the 14th, but it turned out to be the only blemish on the former world number one’s scorecard as he followed up a run of eight pars with a birdie on the fifth and then completed a great day’s work with a birdie on the ninth.

Matt Fitzpatrick was three shots behind Thomas after shining in tough conditions at Tulsa

Matt Fitzpatrick was three shots behind Thomas after shining in tough conditions at Tulsa

Tiger Woods shot 74 in the first round and seemed to be feeling the effects of his car accident.

Tiger Woods shot 74 in the first round and seemed to be feeling the effects of his car accident.

“(I’m) very pleased,” Thomas said. ‘Although I played solid yesterday, I played very, very well today.

‘The conditions were obviously very difficult. I stayed very patient, tried to get into my own little world and get into a zone and just tried to execute each shot to the best of my ability. I felt like we did a great job of that and I’m happy to have a good round to prove it.

We’re halfway there, so it’s still a long way from home, but I’m very, very pleased with the frame of mind and frame of mind I’m in.

“I just need to try to maintain that as best I can and keep trying to play good golf.”

McIlroy’s opening 65 was his lowest opening round at a major since the 2011 US Open at Congress, which he won by eight strokes.

He was also nine shots better than playing partner Tiger Woods, leaving the 15-time major winner facing a battle to make the cut.

Woods admitted after his 74-game start that his right leg, which he feared might be amputated after last year’s car accident, wasn’t feeling “as good as I’d like.”

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