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Wind Batters Kiawah and The PGA Championship

by Jeff Skinner

The PGA of America bills the PGA Championship as “Glory’s Last Shot.”  If the wind stays up at Kiawah Island they may have to change that to “Glory’s Last Stand” as in “Custer’s Last Stand” because it was a massacre out there in round two.

The wind that is so much a part of the makeup of The Ocean Course was the star today as players were severely tested as the average score ballooned to over 78 strokes.  Pete Dye’s creation lived up to its billing as only two holes averaged under par on Friday.  The par five second played to an average 4.85 and the par five sixteenth was slightly easier at 4.84.  The toughest hole on the course was the par four, 447 yard tenth that tested players with an average of 4.64.

Three players stand tied for the lead, Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Carl Pettersson at four under and with the cut coming at +6 every golfer is still in the tournament.

Only five players managed to break par on a day that drove most of the players crazy.  Singh had the low round of the day at -3 and Woods, Ian Poulter, Phil Mickelson and Michael Hoey were the only other players to join him under par.

Phil Mickelson had an early start and when he finished around lunch time his one under 71 looked to be only a slight improvement over Thursday’s 73.  But with the carnage that was strewn all over The Ocean Course his 71 vaulted him up the leaderboard  55 slots into a tie for eleventh.  Such was the day at Kiawah.  What normally would be considered a ordinary score turned into a marvelous one.

Tiger Woods continued his solid play and red hot putting to card a one under 71.  Woods forced a laugh afterwards at how brutal a day it was on the course.  He is sinking just about every putt he sees.  In two rounds he has used only 48 putts and one putted 24 times.  That kind of putting wins championships.

Vijay’s three under was enough to move the 49 year old up 39 spots into a tie for the lead.  Singh is trying to become the oldest major winner in history and top Julius Boros record win at 48 years, 4 months.

Take a look at the bloodbath that flowed over the links at Kiawah Island.  Hunter Mahan 80, Rickie Fowler 80, Matt Kuchar 82 and Nick Watney 82.  Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker all missed the cut and all many of these golfers are vying for, or an integral part of their respective Ryder Cup teams.  This is beyond ugly, it’s scary.

If the wind keeps blowing as strong as it has and the course dries up then the scores will only move higher.  There won’t be much glory in Glory’s Last Shot, only a few battered and beaten survivors with one wearily lifting the Wannamaker Trophy.

Update 8/11/12: Michael Hoey was disqualified after he went to the PGA and informed them he failed to recreate his lie on the ninth hole.  Click here for story.

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