Friday's Birdies and Bogeys
Who were the winners and losers on Friday at TPC Sawgrass? It's time to take a closer look with another edition of birdies and bogeys.
May 10, 2012
Birdie: Tiger WoodsWoods started Friday's round in danger of missing the cut in back-to-back events for the first time in his career, but he turned things around with a birdie on the 243-yard par-3 eighth. That was the start of a string of four-straight birdies on his way to a 68. For a 14-time major winner, playing the weekend might not seem like a lofty achievement, but considering he hadn't broken 70 in nine consecutive rounds and his overall underwhelming track record at this event, we'll give him high marks.
Bogey: Tiger Woods' shoesFor the second time in the past year, Woods had to change shoes mid-round because of a malfunction. And that's not counting the other time he switched shoes in 2012 shortly before withdrawing during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. This time, the culprit was a broken eyelet, and he made the change in the middle of playing the sixth hole at TPC Sawgrass. The switch certainly didn't hurt, but it certainly wasn't the free advertising Nike was looking for.
Birdie: Zach JohnsonIf it seems like it's been awhile since Zach Johnson last won on the PGA Tour, that's because it has. The 2007 Masters champion is in the midst of a 46-tournament winless drought, which is a long time for someone with seven tour titles. But the 36-hole leader with Matt Kuchar and Kevin Na has a chance to end that streak and join an impressive list of guys who have won both a major and a Players.
Bogey: Rory McIlroyThere isn't a lot that the 23-year-old phenom can't do on a golf course -- as long as it isn't TPC Sawgrass. In the midst of the NHL Playoffs, McIlroy pulled off a hat trick of his own, missing the cut for a third time in three career appearances. Most surprising is the fact that the World No. 1 made just one birdie over his final 20 holes. McIlroy wasn't alone, though. In fact, four of the top 10 in the World Ranking (Mahan, Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson are the others) won't play on the weekend, and a fifth, Bubba Watson, decided not to tee it up here at all.
Birdie: Kevin NaAs in, 16 of them. That sweet total is the most ever by a player through two rounds at TPC Sawgrass since 1983. Na will take a share of the biggest lead he's ever held into the weekend. Of course, the fact that it's only a share indicates he's still made plenty of mistakes negotiating the Pete Dye layout through two days as well.
Birdie: Harris EnglishA year ago, the University of Georgia star was taking final exams. On Saturday, he'll tee it up in one of the final groups at the Players. Competing at TPC Sawgrass for the first time, the PGA Tour rookie was at even par after two early bogeys on Friday. But he responded with seven birdies over his final 14 holes to shoot 67. His movie-star name isn't too shabby, either.
Bogey: Bud CauleyThe former collegiate star at Alabama may just be a PGA Tour rookie, but we still expected more from someone with more local knowledge on TPC Sawgrass than the majority of the field. Cauley grew up and now resides in Jacksonville and he estimates he's played the course more than 100 times. It certainly didn't look like it this week as he shot a pair of 75s to miss the cut by six shots.
Birdie: Tim ClarkTwo years removed from the biggest win of his life, you'd think simply making a cut wouldn't be that big of a deal. But Tim Clark is a different story. After a runner-up in Hawaii at the start of 2011, Clark tore a tendon in his right elbow and has only teed it up in seven events since. In just one of those, last month's RBC Heritage, did he make the cut, but he'll cruise into the weekend here at three-under par. Fortunately for the South African, he can afford to take his time coming back. He may be stuck on one PGA Tour win, but he picked a good one by making it the Players. Aside from the check for $1.7 million, the trophy also came with a five-year exemption.
Birdie: Sunghoon KangSpeaking of comebacks, the South Korean's first trip to TPC Sawgrass appeared like it would be a disaster when he made a quadruple-bogey eight on his opening hole Thursday. But Kang steadied himself and then fired a Friday 68 to get into red numbers for the tournament and make it to the weekend. A pretty unlikely turnaround, especially for a player who came into this tournament having made just five cuts in 15 events this season.
Bogey: Ian PoulterA co-leader after the first round, Poulter didn't waste long to fall back to the pack. He double bogeyed two of his first four holes on his way to a dismal 76. This, despite channeling his inner-Bubba Watson and wearing white the first two days. C'mon, Ian. If we're going to watch you play some bad golf, you should at least have the courtesy to entertain us with one of your trademark loud outfits.