Tiger Woods coaxed in a birdie putt on the final green as dusk fell over Valhalla to continue his quest to become the first golfer in 47 years to win three major championships in one year. That up-and-down from a bunker earned Woods a round of 67 and an 11 under par total of 133 for a one shot lead in the US PGA.
The US Open and British Open champion leads by a shot from fellow American Scott Dunlap, with whom he shared the initiative after a first round 66. Dunlap conjured up some outrageous putts in his second round – almost holing a huge eagle effort on the last – for a 68 and second place with several groups still out on the course.
However the drama of Woods’ birdie was almost overshadowed by the emotion of Jack Nicklaus playing possibly his final stroke in US PGA Championship history – and what a shot it was. The Golden Bear came agonisingly close to holing his third shot from over 100 yards for an eagle which would have enabled him to make the cut.
In the event, the ball grazed the cup and Nicklaus bowed out gracefully, passing the torch from his own golden era to the new one currently being illuminated by the brightly lit talent of 24 year old Woods.
Dunlap, joint overnight leader with the world number one, Open champion, US Open champion and defending USPGA champion, went to the turn in 33 with just 13 putts and then holed an outrageous 30-footer for another birdie at Valhalla's long 10th.
But Woods's response was to cover the front nine in 32 and when Dunlap bogeyed the 467-yard 12th after driving into the trees, the man chasing Ben Hogan's unique 1953 feat of three majors in one season led on his own for the first time.
Fred Funk moved to seven under par, four behind, tto finish alongside unknown Texan professional JP Hayes. Former Victor Chandler British Masters champion Bob May made a bit move, going round in 66 for six under.
Darren Clarke, four under overnight, had an up and down day but finished in that position after a level par 72, posting two birdies to finish in his round which helped him finish on the same mark as fellow European Thomas Bjorn, who had a 68.
Agrentina's Angel Cabrera added a 71 to his opening 72 to stand on one under alongside Sergio Garcia, who last year challenged Woods all the way. Garcia shot a 69 as did Bernhard Langer to lie on level par.
Double Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal fought back from an opening 76 with a four under 68 to also lie on level par.
Colin Montgomerie, complaining of feeling unwell, added a 72 to his first day 74 and at two over fell further behind. Montgomerie, who two weeks ago in Sweden suffered migraines, said he had experienced more "terrible" headaches and dizziness during the 100-degree heat of an opening round which for 18 of the 150-strong field spilled into today because of slow play problems.
The start of the second round was delayed for an hour because of a storm in which three inches of rain fell in a few hours and a 50-foot tall tree was brought down on the 10th hole.
Padraig Harrington was the first of the Europeans back onto the course, having risen at 4.45am so he could have more treatment on his troublesome neck. Harrington went to the turn in 34 to improve to one over, but then wasted two more birdies coming home by having bogey sixes at the 10th and 18th and a double bogey six at the 12th.
It left the Dubliner on three over and facing a long wait to discover if he was among the leading 70 and ties who survived the halfway cut.
Nick Faldo was on the same mark and that represented a superb recovery from the 42-year-old. He opened with a 79, then dropped two more shots in the first three holes to be nine over.
But it all started to change when he chipped in at the fifth and after six more birdies he handed in a 68 and said: "I just hope I make it."
Ian Woosnam looked likely to miss out by one after a 75 put him on four over.
Dane Bjorn, who had his best-ever finish in a major when he was joint second with Ernie Els, eight behind Woods at the Open last month, had a 68 to put him in the hunt again at four under. Els himself, second in the first three majors of the year, shot the same score to improve to two under.
Andrew Coltart, one of the 18 who had to return to finish off their opening rounds first, completed it in 74, but then dropped back to four over with four to play before saving himself superbly with three late birdies.
Welshman Phil Price and Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance were heading out at seven over and nine over after 16 and six holes, but Gary Orr gave himself a chance with a hat-trick of birdies from the fourth after his opening 77. The winner last week of the Victor Chandler British Masters, however finished with a one under par 71 which was looking one too many to survive the cut.
Paul Lawrie had three birdies in his first seven holes and finished on two over par after a 71.