American Kevin Kisner, seeking his first major title, sank a 48-foot eagle putt and seized a four-stroke clubhouse lead early in Friday's second round of the 99th PGA Championship.
Kisner's spectacular shot at Quail Hollow's par-5 seventh hole highlighted a second consecutive four-under par 67 that left the world number 25 on eight-under 134 for 36 holes in the year's final major tournament.
"I'm hitting the ball really nice and things are going my way. I'm enjoying that," Kisner said. "My bad shots are working out, my good shots are working out and I'm making putts. I'm loving playing right now."
Kisner, a US PGA winner three months ago at Colonial, shared the 18-hole lead with Thorbjorn Olesen, the Dane who stood second as he teed off.
"Kisner is on fire right now," said fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy, who fired a second consecutive 72. "I hope he slows down and gives the rest of us a chance."
Kisner offered rivals little hope for a weekend collapse or an attack of nerves leading his first major so late.
"I'll be plenty loose," Kisner said. "I have a 3-year-old running around all day."
Growing up only a two-hour drive south of the course, Kisner has long played on the Bermuda grass installed around much of the course ahead of hosting its first major. he knows driving accuracy is crucial.
"The ball is coming out of the gun right where I'm looking at it," Kisner said. "The key around here is keeping the ball out of the fairway."
Kisner began round two off the 10th tee and found a fairway bunker, but blasted out into the fairway, dropped his approach 10 feet from the cup and sank the birdie putt to claim the lead alone.
After sinking a six-foot birdie putt at the par-4 12th, Kisner gave one back on the par-3 13th, missing the green, chipping back into the fairway, then rolling the ball to five feet and making his bogey putt.
Kisner sank a five-footer for birdie at the par-5 15th then parred the next nine holes before reaching the seventh, where his second shot was just shy of the green, setting up the dramatic putt to a front pin position. He closed with back-to-back pars.
Kisner, 33, endured four runner-up finishes in 2015 before a breakthrough first US PGA Tour victory at Sea Island, Georgia, in his 109th attempt.
American D.A. Points, who won his first US PGA title in four years in March at the Puerto Rico Open, had closed within a stroke of Kisner with birdies on 14 and 15 only to stumble with back-to-back double bogeys at 16 and 17 to finish with a 73 and seven adrift.
McIlroy, who owns the course record of 61 from before the course revamp, began on the back nine and birdied the par-5 15th, but faded with a run of four bogeys in five holes on the front side, capped by a par putt lip-out at sixth. The 28-year-old from Northern Ireland answered with birdies at the par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth.
"Tougher than yesterday," McIlroy said. "If anything the greens were a little firmer and some of the pin positions were really tough. I think anything under 71 today is a good score.
"It's amazing how they have been able to make this course so much tougher, with the Bermuda grass and the putting surfaces."
US star Rickie Fowler fired a 70 to stand on 139, five off the pace. South Korean An Byeong-Hun also eagled the par-5 seventh in a round of 69 to finish on 140.
World number two Jordan Spieth, chasing his fourth career major title and completion of a career Grand Slam at age 24, would become the youngest player to win all four majors at least once if he can lift the Wanamaker Trophy this weekend.
Spieth, coming off a British Open triumph last month, teed off in the afternoon heat alongside this year's fellow major champions, US Open champion Brooks Koepka of the United States and Masters winner Sergio Garcia of Spain.