5 Things: Bradley, Dufner share midway PGA lead
Saturday, August 13, 2011
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Five things you need to know from the second round of the PGA Championship:
1.) Bunched 'board: Thirty-six holes at Atlanta Athletic Club has done little to identify a potential champion, as 13 players are within three shots of the lead held by Jason Dufner (65) and Keegan Bradley (64).
While the top of the leaderboard may lack household names -- Jim Furyk (T-3) and Davis Love III (T-14) are the only players in the top 15 who have won a major -- it isn't without intrigue.
Start with one of the leaders.
Bradley, the nephew of LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, is one of the most promising young Americans. The PGA may represent his first start in a major, but don't be fooled: He won earlier this season in Dallas, then contended last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational before shooting 41 on his final nine to tie for 15th.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a surprise that I was up here," Bradley, 25, said, "but I work very hard, and this is what I've been looking forward to doing my whole life. So it's as comfortable as I can be."
• • •
2.) Dazed and confused: Tiger Woods' chances of playing the weekend essentially ended Friday when he went bunker-bunker-water on the par-4 11th hole. (He wound up with a double-bogey 6.) At 10-over 150 for the tournament, Woods, who skipped the U.S. Open and British Open with injuries to his left leg, missed the cut at a major for only the third time as a pro ('06 U.S. Open, shortly after the death of his father, and the '09 British).
"This year has been frustrating," he said. "I haven't been able to practice and work and obviously compete. I just need to go out and do my work."
Woods' future is murkier than ever. By missing the cut at the PGA, he failed to qualify for the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin in two weeks at The Barclays. (He said last week that he would not play next week's Wyndham Championship because of a prior family commitment.) Woods likely won't return to competition until November, at the Australian Open, giving him ample time to work on his swing with instructor Sean Foley.
2011 PGA Championship (Rd. 2)
Check out photos from the second round of the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club
"I guess I've got some time off again," Woods said.
• • •
3. Skidding Stricks: After an opening-round 63 at Atlanta Athletic Club, Steve Stricker appeared poised to distance himself from the field. Even before he teed off Friday his lead had grown, from two shots to four.
Now, he needs to shave a few strokes just to catch up with the leaders.
Stricker shot a 4-over 74 on Friday to drop into a share of eighth, two shots back of Dufner and Bradley.
"The way we got there wasn't ideal, but we're still in there, only a couple back, and anything could happen on the weekend," Stricker said.
Stricker made the turn in 38 (bogeys at Nos. 3, 6, 8 and 9 and a birdie at No. 5), then needed to hang on down the stretch just to stay in contention.
His fellow Wisconsinite, Jerry Kelly, didn't fare much better. Kelly shot 73 and is among three players tied for 11th.
• • •
4.) Welcome back: Jim Furyk, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, seemingly has regained his form just in time to salvage a disappointing season.
The difference, apparently, has been the belly putter.
Furyk, No. 84 on the Tour money list, shot a 5-under 65 Friday to surge into a share of third, one shot behind leaders Dufner and Bradley.
"I really don't feel like I hit it any better," Furyk said, "but I was just able to score and get the ball in the hole and kind of keep the momentum going."
Furyk has only two top-10 finishes this season, and none since March. He hasn't finished better than 24th in the majors this year, either.
Furyk missed four straight cuts in June and July, but has experienced slight improvement in recent weeks: T-48 at the Open Championship, T-34 at the Canadian Open, T-23 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
As for the belly putter?
"I still need to get maybe a little bit more comforable with it," he said, "but it feels a lot better than what I was doing before."
• • •
5.) Cut casualties: The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over 144. Among those players who won't be around for the weekend include two of the protagonists from last year's PGA at Whistling Straits: Martin Kaymer, the winner, and Dustin Johnson, who grounded his club in an ill-defined fairway bunker on the 72nd hole and missed out on the playoff by a shot. Other notables to miss the cut: Jason Day (5 over), Anthony Kim (5 over), Ernie Els (6 over), Graeme McDowell (12 over) and Darren Clarke (14 over).