Big names miss halfway cut
Some Fridays when the cut is made, players are offered a pat on the back. Here at the Ocean Course, they offered tourniquets.
Yes, sir. It’s one thing to be sent to the exits early. It’s quite another to be bloodied and battered in a manner that is totally foreign to you.
Take Matt Kuchar, for example. All he has done the last few years is churn out paychecks and sub-par rounds at a ho-hum rate, so effortlessly that you could have made an argument that he was the most automatic thing on tour. Yet Kuchar’s tour-best streak of 24 consecutive cuts made came to a crashing halt when he shot 82, his highest-ever score in 86 major championship rounds.
Kuchar hadn’t missed a cut since last summer’s RBC Canadian Open, but he defers his spot atop the consecutive-cut list to Jason Dufner, who now has made 17 straight.
Of course, for a while, Dufner might have figured he, too, had missed the cut, because he finished Round 2 at 6 over. But on a day when the scoring average was a mind-blowing 78.1, naturally the cut was a victim of havoc. It was 4 over, then 5 over, until late in the afternoon it ballooned to 6 over, a figure that will allow 73 to tee it up for the final 36 holes.
Hey, that 6-over figure means you’re in Dustin Johnson, and you, too, David Toms. The question is, given the way the Ocean Course is playing, is that good or bad? Johnson, who bogeyed five of his last six holes to shoot 79, smiled. “I’m not going to answer that,” he said. Toms, who played his first nine holes in 42 and wound up shooting 78, could only shake his head.
“Halfway through the round I said to myself, ‘If I had to play two more days of this I’d give away my clubs,’ “ Toms said.
Rest assured, Toms will keep the clubs and play 36 more. But if you ever required proof that the game is a humbling endeavor, this has been your major championship.
Joost Luiten and Bernd Wiesberger, come on back for the weekend.
But Lee Westwood? You’re dismissed halfway through, your first missed-cut on the PGA Tour since last summer’s Open Championship.
Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, and Hunter Mahan? Pack your bags and take with them any hope of vaulting into an automatic berth on the Ryder Cup team.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and David Lynn, you’ve got tee times for Saturday and Sunday.
But Webb Simpson and Nick Watney are out and so, too, is 2010 champion Martin Kaymer, once the world’s No. 1 but suddenly a free-falling marquee name, 21st in the world and a cut victim in each of the last two PGA Championships.
While for a while it appeared that the No. 1 player in the world, Donald, was going to miss a major cut for the second time this summer, he somehow survived. Hard to believe, given that he bogeyed each of his last three holes, but with the wind whipping at upwards of 30 miles per hour most of the day, crazy things happened.
“I actually played decent this week and got nothing out of it,” Donald said, at the time thinking he was headed to the exits.
How he feels now is unknown, but he will start Round 3 just 10 off the lead and if the wind acts like it did Friday, well, crazier things have happened.
Some things remained constant, despite the wild weather, most notably Steve Stricker. he backed up a 74 with a solid 73 and at 3 over 147 is in a tie for 37th.
Stricker extended his streak of cuts made in the majors to 12, tops in the business, and he’s one of 12 to lay claim to being successful in all four this season. The others to have made the cut in all four majors this year: Keegan Bradley, Dufner, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Fredrik Jacobson, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott, and Tiger Woods.
On the flip side, Lucas Glover (77-78), Mark Wilson (76-76), and Alvaro Quiros (76-83) missed the cut in all four majors this season.
The chase to make the cut, as it is every week, was a storyline in itself, even if Thomas Aiken wasn’t quite sure where he stood. Playing in the final pairing, he birdied the par 5 16th and drilled a 5-iron to 5 feet to birdie the brutal par 3 17th.
He was 7 over for the tournament, “but I kept asking everyone where I stood, but I couldn’t find out,” Aiken said.
Not that he had much time, either, because darkness had fallen and it was pretty much unplayable. Luiten, sitting 1 over for the tournament, knew he was in contention and chose not to tee off. “When I couldn’t see the drives that the others hit (Alan Morin and Aiken), I said no,” Luiten said.
Aiken chose differently.
“I was feeling pretty good after the birdies at 16 and 17,” Aiken said, “and the wind was off the right so I figured it might be easier (than it would be in the morning).”
His bid to make birdie failed, however, and with par he signed for 79, finished 36 holes at 7 over, and had missed the cut.
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