PADRAIG HARRINGTON AND Graeme McDowell were just two of the players to suffer at the hands of rotten weather during the second round of the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island on Saturday.
Harrington and McDowell both signed for rounds of 76 to drop down the leaderboard on a day that produced a number of high scores.
Rory McIlroy also dropped shots and was +3 after 12 holes, leaving him -2 overall.
Michael Hoey fared better than most and signed for a round of 70 that leaves him on +4. He should stick around for the weekend after that effort.
Tiger Woods is another who has managed to keep his round together despite the rains and squalls at the seaside resort. He is -1 for his second round, after 10 holes, and -4 overall.
Lefty battles on
Phil Mickelson put together a round of 71 that may have initially looked underwhelming until swathes of golfers returned to the clubhouse over par.
Starting on the back nine, the American began his round with back-to-back birdies, finishing with three birdies, two bogeys and 13 pars. He said:
The great thing about this course is if you play well and you hit good shots, you can make pars, you can make some birdies. And if you don’t, you’re going to make some big numbers, because it really does reward good shots and it penalizes bad ones.
Mickelson struggled to a two-over 73 in Thursday’s opening round which put him seven shots back of first round leader Carl Pettersson, who was on -6 after 10 holes of his second round.
The seaside Kiawah Island Golf Resort course was playing about four shots longer on Friday after the wind kicked up early in the morning. Combine that with on and off squalls and it made for some often severe playing conditions.
The foul weather also led to a short delay in the tee off times for the afternoon groups.
“Yeah, it was really difficult,” said Jamie Donaldson, of Wales, who shot a 73. “We had a lot of wind at the start but it just got a little bit more windy towards the end.”
We played the last holes, where you think you have a chance towards the end where it’s blowing downwind, but the wind was so strong, you just couldn’t get near flags or greens.
“Just a brutal test of golf,” he added.
From winning to sweating
British Open winner Ernie Els struggled with conditions and the timekeepers and is in danger of missing the cut.
“We were on seven, and we got put on the damned clock,” Els said. “A bit of that rain came in, and man, I was just trying to put anything in play, and I took three-wood, and I hit it right.
“I made an unbelievable five on the par-five. But that’s when I knew, hey, it’s blowing a little bit.”
South Africa’s Els said he is striking the ball well, he just needs to hole more putts.
“Yeah, I’d like it more if I was making frigging putts,” he said. But I like it. I’m hitting the ball really well. I’m hitting it as good as I did at Lytham.”
(Additional reporting © AFP, 2012)