Matt Kuchar in control for now at PGA Championship
Fri, 13 Aug 2010 21:04:53 GMT —
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) " One of Matt Kuchar's shots landed on a service road and another in a thick upslope of rough.
And he's still in the lead at the PGA Championship.
The strangest of seasons resumed Friday, with play at Whistling Straits disrupted again by fog and unfamiliar names popping up on the leaderboard. Kuchar was at 7 under through 12 holes, giving him a two-stroke lead over the likes of Nick Watney, PGA Championship rookie Bryce Molder and Dustin Johnson, best known for his meltdown at Pebble Beach.
Among those at 4 under are Jason Dufner, D.A. Points and Noh Seung-yul, a 19-year-old South Korean and two-time winner on the Asian Tour.
Phil Mickelson was headed back in the right direction, getting to 1 under with back-to-back birdies. But Lefty, who announced this week he's been diagnosed with a potentially debilitating form of arthritis, is struggling with his control, plunking a fan with his tee shot on the 15th hole. The fan didn't appear to be hurt " and he came away with a nice souvenir. Mickelson wrote "Sorry" on a glove, putting a frowning face inside the "O," and signed it.
Bubba Watson and Francesco Molinari, whose 68s gave them the clubhouse lead before the first round was suspended for darkness Thursday night, teed off late Friday. So did Tiger Woods, assuring him of playing on the weekend. That's no small feat these days for the No. 1 player in the world, whose 71 on Thursday was the first time he'd broken par in eight rounds.
Half the 156-player field had to come back Friday morning to finish the first round after darkness halted play Thursday night. But just as it did Thursday morning, fog delayed play for about three hours Friday.
"It's tough finishing anywhere when you've been on the range for 2 1/2 hours," said Adam Scott, who had five holes left when he came back Friday. "It's been a long day already."
Kuchar didn't mind the delay. He got only 5 1/2 hours of sleep Thursday night, less than his preferred eight, and the extra time on the driving range gave him a chance to find his swing again.
"I never wake up in the best of spirits," he said. "So (the delay) was just some extra time to kind of get my body back in sync again."
It worked. Picking up on the par-4 No. 6, Kuchar birdied it and played his last three holes at par to preserve the first-round lead at 5 under. He finished the first round with an eagle " he holed out from 124 yards out on the fairway early in his round " four birdies and just one bogey.
"I was very impressed. Very impressed," playing partner and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie said. "He handled himself very well."
Kuchar got to 6 under with a birdie on No. 2 in his second round. But he gave the stroke back after his second shot on No. 6 sailed left, bounced on a path trampled down by spectators and rolled down a hill before finally coming to a stop on a service road. Kuchar actually had a chance to save par on the hole, but his putt stopped a few feet past.
No matter. He rebounded with back-to-back birdies early on his back nine.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.