Friday, August 14, 2009

Halfway at Hazeltine - Tiger's Tail Lights

A four stroke lead at the mid point of a major for Tiger Woods is almost too much to rally from. Woods shot a -2, 70 today and put the clubs away carrying a four stroke advantage over a host of challengers at the 91st PGA Championship. Only a sloppy chip and errant ten footer by Woods on the 18th hole kept it from being five. Padraig Harrington did his best to remain within sniffing distance, but backpedaled 3 strokes to land at -3 for the tourney so far. He was grouped with Ross Fisher with a stellar 68, Lucas Glover, Brendan Jones, and two-time PGA Champion Vijay Singh. Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood held up the Brit contingent at -2. Full field scores.

Who's gone?

Big names sent packing by missing the +4 cut include Stuart Appleby, Sergio Garcia, 78 today, Davis Love III, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Nick Watney, Steve Stricker, and Adam Scott after a dreadful 82, 79. Rumor says that Scott has jettisoned Butch Harmon as his coach after watching his career sink. Perhaps Butchie will call JD.

What's next?

What's up next is for the one or more of the chasers to step up tomorrow, fire at pins, and hope to go low in an effort to chase down Woods. From what I've seen of Hazeltine so far it doesn't appear to be the type of layout where Woods would post any huge numbers and retreat back to the masses. Relatively open, plenty long and drying out play to Woods strong suits, length and the world's best short game for the inevitable missed greens on enormous holes, especially the par fours. The poa greens that Woods putts better than anyone are just frosting. He's swinging well and I wouldn't count on that changing in the next two days. So who has the moxy and game to back it up to narrow the deficit? Tune in, tomorrow should reveal most of the remaining cards in this deck. I expect Sunday will be a barn burner or a coronation. Saturday's the key in this one.

Be there.

Til' next,

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