Friday, August 10, 2007
Despite lack of accuracy, Daly remains in the hunt
By Bob Harig and Jason Sobel ESPN.com
TULSA, Okla. -- One way for players to beat the heat in triple-digit temperatures during Friday's second round of the PGA Championship? Stay in the shade of the trees that align every hole.
Of course, John Daly took that concept to heart more than anyone else.
Daly followed an opening-round 67 with a 73 on Friday.
Using his patented grip-it-and-rip-it style, Daly found only one of 14 fairways. Considering the penal rough and expanse of trees to the left and right of the short stuff on every hole, his 3-over 73 has to be considered a roaring success.
Coming off an opening-round 67 that left him in sole possession of second place, two strokes behind Graeme Storm, entering the day, Daly reeled off bogeys on each of his first two holes, Nos. 10 and 11 on the Southern Hills course. He followed with pars on each of his next five holes, then made birdie on the 358-yard par-4 17th, hitting a monumental drive close to pin-high, then chipping to 2 feet and tapping in for a 3.
After closing his front side with a bogey on 18, Daly started his back nine by hitting an errant tee shot into an adjoining fairway, but scrambled to save par. He came in with a 1-over 36 and stands at even-par through 36 holes, 7 strokes behind leader Tiger Woods.
Simply making the cut has been half the battle for Daly this season. In 17 PGA Tour starts, he's missed the cut eight times while withdrawing on four other occasions.
Padraig Harrington is the only player who has a chance to win two major championships this year. The Irishman who won the British Open last month shot 73 Friday to finish at 142, 2 over par. He is eight strokes behind tournament leader Tiger Woods.
"I'm certainly within range but I want to play better golf," Harrington said. "My focus was poor today. My game is there, I just need to be a little bit stronger willed tomorrow."
At least there is a tomorrow for Harrington, who was grouped during the first two rounds with the year's other major champions, Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera. Johnson, who won the Masters, shot 74-76, while Cabrera had 81-70. Both missed the cut.
"It was enjoyable, but it would have been better if all three of us played really well," Harrington said.
Whither the Storm?
The first-round leader, England's Graeme Storm didn't find the same success during the second round when he added a 76 to a 65.
"I think it's just golf, to be honest," he said. "Just one of those things. I didn't get the run of the ball. If I missed the green, I got on the wrong side of the pin. I was struggling to make par. To be honest, I'm disappointed. I should have really finished closer to where I started the day out."
Storm is at 1-over 141, seven strokes back.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut at consecutive majors for the first time in his career but will be around for the weekend here. He shot 69 Friday, then lamented what could have been.
"I feel like I'm playing a lot better than I'm scoring," he said. "That's what's been frustrating."
But at least Mickelson is feeling better. The wrist injury that he suffered while practicing for the U.S. Open in June is no longer the issue it has been. Last week was the first time he did not have to take injections to numb the wrist so that he could practice and play.
"This is the first week I just feel terrific," said Mickelson, who is at 2-over 142, eight strokes back. "I haven't had any problems, haven't even thought about it. ... The heat is prohibiting me from excessive practice. My game is better. My hand feels pretty good, and I'm excited about playing golf. I just want to get the ball in the hole a little quicker."
Woody Austin has been known to wear some, uh, interesting shirts. They are supplied to him by the Tabasco company, and typically they are on fire.
"The ones that I refuse to war are the plain ones," he said. "I have a lot of plain ones with the Tabasco name on the lead. But anybody can wear a plain white shirt."