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Iwata shoots low as Spieth charges.

JAPAN'S Hiroshi Iwata equalled the lowest round in major championship history as Jordan Spieth took another step towards an even more impressive feat in the US PGA Championship.

Iwata fired an eagle, eight birdies and one bogey to card the 27th round of 63 in the majors, the 34-year-old covering the back nine at Whistling Straits in just 29 to improve on his opening 77 by 14 shots.

That gave the world number 102 a halfway total of four under par, three behind clubhouse leader David Lingmerth - who added a 70 to his opening 67 - and two behind Spieth, who is attempting to becoming just the third player after Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods to win three majors in a season.

Spieth began the day five shots off the pace and tipping playing partner Rory McIlroy to make a move up the leaderboard but it was the Masters and US Open champion who took advantage of the ideal conditions to shoot 67.

Defending champion McIlroy double bogeyed the 18th hole, his ninth of the day, and chipped in for an eagle on the second in an eventful second consecutive 71 to finish two under par.

South Africa's George Coetzee was two shots off the lead after a superb 65, the 29-year-old having needed a birdie on the 18th for a 63 but taking five after finding sand off the tee.

Coetzee, who has won twice on the European Tour this season, had missed the cut in his last three events and carded an opening 74 but fired seven birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to card the lowest round of the week before Iwata's heroics.

McIlroy admitted he was "a little bit annoyed" at failing to take advantage of perfect conditions.

Playing his first tournament since the US Open in June after seven weeks out due to an ankle ligament injury, McIlroy made amends for a double bogey on the 18th by chipping in for eagle on the second and also carded two birdies and one bogey.

The world number one said: "I felt like tee to green I hit the ball pretty well, I'm probably just not as sharp with the short game as I would like to be.

"It was good to get the two shots back I dropped on 18 and I gave myself good chances on the third and fifth but did not take them.

"There are plenty of chances out there and if I can convert a few hopefully there is a low score in me.

"I felt like I played better than what the score reflected. A little bit annoyed.

"I felt like I should have got that ball up and down on seven and then I had a great chance on eight for birdie and didn't take that. That's two days in a row where I haven't finished the round of golf the way I wanted to.

"I don't know if it's rust or I just didn't putt well so maybe I will just work on that a little bit before I tee off tomorrow and it would be great to hole a few more putts, because I feel I'm giving myself plenty of chances.

"Probably one of the most surprising things about yesterday is how quickly I got back into the mindset of tournament golf and being aggressive.

"That hasn't really been an issue, it's just being a bit more efficient, whenever you give yourself chances, take them, and be able to get it up and down when you put yourself out of position."

CAPTION(S):

Hiroshi Iwata of Japan watches his tee shot on the first hole during yesterday's USPGA second round at Whistling Straits - he went on to shoot a 63 <B

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2015
Words:622
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