A long, strange day with no clear view at PGA

Posted: 14/08/2010 in PGA

Kuchar leads by one at suspended PGA

KOHLER, WI- AUGUST 13: Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar posted a three-under 69 on Friday to stay  atop  the leaderboard after his  second round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Kuchar,  the  first-round leader, finished 36  holes at eight-under 136 and is one  stroke ahead of  fellow American Nick Watney, who shot a four-under 68 on Friday.

The  second round  was suspended due to  darkness with half of the field still needing  to finish  the  round.  They will  return  Saturday morning,  weather permitting.

Friday was the second  day in a row that the round was delayed because of fog. The  golfers waited  two hours and 40  minutes to start play. The start of the tournament  was pushed  back  more  than three  hours  Thursday morning,  then eventually suspended due to darkness with 78 players left on the course.

Rain  began  to fall  at Whistling  Straits Friday  afternoon, but play wasn’t stopped until darkness.

The  forecast calls for overnight rain with it possibly carrying into Saturday morning. The plan is for the players to return at 8:00 a.m. (et).

Tiger  Woods,  a  four-time  PGA  Champion, followed  his  worst  start  as  a professional last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a one-under 71 on Thursday.

Woods’ second round was a little different.

He  made six  pars in the second  round before the horn blew, but Woods’ swing was erratic at best. Woods sprayed his drives all over and missed a three-foot birdie  putt  at the  sixth to  magnify what was  a tough  start to his second round.

Rory  McIlroy  (68), former  Masters champion Zach  Johnson (70), Jason Dufner (66),  Bryce  Molder (67), Dustin  Johnson (68),  Simon Khan (70) and teenager Seung Yul Noh (71) share third place at five-under 139.

Phil  Mickelson,  the 2005  PGA Champion, shot  a three-under 69  and is in at minus-two.

“I just want to be in a position where if I play like I know I can, I can make up  some ground,”  said the  reigning  Masters winner.  “And I  feel like  I’m within striking distance.”

Despite  the fact  that half of the  field still has to finish, it appears the man Mickelson and everyone else will trying to catch is Kuchar, who shares the PGA Tour lead in top-10 finishes this year with eight.

Kuchar took the first-round lead Friday morning when he returned to finish the round.  After a  quick  turnaround, Kuchar  collected  his first  second-round birdie from 12 feet at the par-five second.

At  the par-four  sixth, Kuchar hit a  terrible drive into a hazard and had to take  a penalty drop.  He walked off with a bogey, but stayed in a tie for the lead at five-under par.

Kuchar  took sole possession  of the lead with a short birdie putt at the par- five  11th. One hole  later, he ran home a seven-footer for birdie at the par- three 12th and made it three in a row thanks to a five-footer at 13.

Kuchar  was three  ahead and parred his  last five holes for his spot atop the leaderboard.

“Not  too  much trouble to  report in two  rounds,” said Kuchar. “Just putting well  and staying out of trouble, so I find myself at eight-under par. I had a strong week last week and continued on with a good start to this week.”

Kuchar  has  never won  a major  championship and is  currently seventh on the United  States Ryder  Cup points list. Eight automatic spots will be finalized at the completion of the PGA Championship.

He  burst on to the golf scene with a win at the 1997 U.S. Amateur and a great showing  at  the 1998 Masters as  an amateur. With  his big grin and big game, Kuchar earned two PGA Tour victories, but has not yet lived up to the enormous hype when he turned pro.

“The  game  makes you do  crazy things. And  whether it’s expectations or not, it’s  the game of  golf,” said Kuchar. “I think that’s the beauty of the sport of golf. There’s no guaranteed contract. You have to perform. And it’s a tough game.

“It’s  going by  so fast. I still  find myself feeling almost like a rookie. I still  feel like I’m  the kid from ’97 winning the U.S. Amateur and playing in the Masters in ’98. I still feel like I’m that same kid. It feels like that is just a blink of an eye ago.”

Chad  Campbell posted  his second consecutive two-under 70 on Friday and is in the  clubhouse  at four-under 140.  Martin Laird and Francesco Molinari joined Campbell in a tie for 10th, but have plenty of golf to play in round two.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)


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