Friday, August 9, 2013

PGA Championship -- Day 2 Wrap-Up

So here's where the top 10 players in the world are after two days at Oak Hill Country Club, near Rochester, N.Y.

1.  Tiger Woods is 1-over par, in a tie for 38th.
2.  Phil Mickelson is 2-over par, in a tie for 50th.
3.  Rory McIlroy is even par, in a tie for 28th
4.  Justin Rose is 6-under par, in a tie for 5th.
5.  Adam Scott is 7-under par, in a tie for 2d.
6.  Matt Kuchar is 7-under par, in a tie for 2d.
7.  Brandt Snedeker is 3-over par, in a tie for 60th.
8.  Graeme McDowell is 1-under par, in a tie for 22d.
9.  Luke Donald has missed the cut with a score of 5 over.
10.  Keegan Bradley is 1-over par, in a tie for 38th.

So after all my complaining about Shaun Micheel winning in 2003, Oak Hill seems to be serving up a pretty decent tournament.  I think it's good that the course has been playing relatively easy, as this has allowed for a fair number of birdies and generally allowed the players to be somewhat aggressive.  In 2003, only three players were under after two rounds.  This time, 27 players are in red figures, and today we saw Webb Simpson tie the course record with a 64 -- only to see Jason Dufner break the record a few house later with a 63.

It's been a disappointing tournament for fans of Tiger, Phil, and Rory McIlroy.  But McIlroy hasn't played all that great this year, and this course is just not good for Tiger and Phil -- the fairways are too narrow, and (for Tiger at least) the greens are too difficult to read.  Significantly, in 2003 Tiger finished in a tie for 39th, and Phil finished in a tie for 23d.  This is a course where you need to hit the ball down the middle, and then put the ball on the green -- because the rough is so high, all the fancy stuff that Tiger and Phil usually do around the greens is relatively useless.

In short, this course rewards steady, dependable players like Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, and Steve Stricker -- all of whom are in the top 10.  If the course keeps playing like it has, this tournament should go right down to the wire.

As for Jason Dufner, he has won two tournaments -- the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the 2012 Byron Nelson Championship.  At the 2011 PGA Championship, Dufner had a five-shot lead with four holes left -- but made three bogeys in a row and lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley.  It will be very interesting to see how his game holds up over the next two days.

Here's the leaderboard:

1.  J. Dufner-9 (68+63=131)

T2.  A. Scott (AUS):  -7 (65+68=133)
T2.  M. Kuchar-7 (67+66=133)
T2.  J. Furyk-7 (65+68=133)

T5.  J. Rose (ENG):  -6 (68+66=134)
T5.  H. Stenson (SWE):  -6 (68+66=134)

T7.  R. Garrigus-5 (67+68=135)
T7.  S. Stricker-5 (68+67=135)

T9.  W. Simpson-4 (72+64=136)
T9.  M. Kaymer (GER):  -4 (68+68=136)
T9.  C. Hoffman-4 (69+67=136)
T9.  M. Fraser (AUS):  -4 (67+69=136)

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