British Open 2017: Matt Kuchar -- and the fans he aimed at on a par 3 -- survive windy Day 2
SOUTHPORT, England -- The most anxious moment of Matt Kuchar's second round at the 146th British Open came on the 12th hole as his tee shot sailed toward the crowd left of the green. Kuchar had taken the unusual route to the par 3 on purpose, but now his ball needed to make a hard right -- both for the good of Kuchar and the people outside the ropes. And it needed to do it fast.
"What stood out to me the 12th hole, it was a par 3. I think it was playing about 162 yards today. Wind was in off the left. I pulled 5-iron. And there's a hill right of the green with nasty, weedy grass that you just don't want to be in," Kuchar said. "So I must have aimed 30 yards left of the pin into the crowd, hit a shot, started at the crowd, and stayed at the crowd for a long time before finally the last, I'd say, 20 yards started drifting over, and ended up in the middle of the green."
Such was the difficult crosswind players faced at Royal Birkdale on Friday. And Kuchar had the easier side of the draw for his 71 that put him in fine position heading into the weekend at four under. After telling his wild tale from No. 12, he was asked if he looked forward to watching the afternoon wave take on Mother Nature.
"A hundred percent," Kuchar said with a smile. "I think that's one of the cool things over here, whether it's Thursday or Friday, whatever your morning round is, getting to go back to the room, put on the TV and watch the guys play in the afternoon, and particularly in tough conditions. I think that's kind of what we know about The Open and I think that's what people enjoy about the British Open is watching the hard wind, the rain, the guys just trying to survive out there. Today is my day. I get to kick back in the afternoon and watch the guys just try to survive is pretty much all you can do."
Kuchar shot an opening 65 under mostly sunny skies on Thursday that included an outgoing 29. Things weren't as easy on Friday when he made his first bogey of the tournament on the second hole, but he bounced back on the next hole by chipping in for birdie. Kuchar moved to six under twice, briefly taking sole possession of the lead, but bogeys on 16 and 18 dropped him back to four under through two rounds.
Still, with a late tee time on Saturday afternoon, he'll get to watch a lot of golf before he tees it up again.
"I don't know that the guys that watched this morning get to think, 'holy cow, this is going to be great. I get to go out and do this this afternoon,'" Kuchar said. "So in my situation, having been out there, posted a nice round and now get to watch is fun."