Commentary

Kiawah kicks back with a vengeance

Updated: August 11, 2012, 8:40 AM ET
By Gene Wojciechowski | ESPN.com

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- You're going to see Doug Wade's score and laugh.

You're going to see it and think that you -- the guy who uses Ziploc bags for headcovers -- could have shot what he shot in Friday's second round of the PGA Championship. You might even think you could have shot better.

You would be nuts.

[+] EnlargeDoug Wade
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty ImagesPGA club pro Doug Wade went 45-48 to shoot 93 in Round 2 of the 94th PGA Championship. He wasn't alone, though, as more than a dozen golfers finished above 80 on Friday.

Wade, a club pro from Dayton, Ohio, playing in his first major, needed 93 -- yes, 93 -- swings to make his way around the hell that is the Ocean Course. That's one stroke shy of tying the highest score ever recorded in a PGA Championship.

The last time Wade shot such a grotesque number?

"Uh, I probably would have been 14," said Wade, 33. "It would have been before I got to high school."

The 93 has a baby brother named 83. That's what Wade shot during Thursday's opening round, which puts him 32-over-par for the tournament. I don't think he is going to make the cut.

"The best moment today was finishing," Wade said.

Give him that much -- he finished. And he did it on a muggy, low-country day when it briefly rained sideways and the winds packed a picnic lunch and stuck around from morning to night. Gusts reached 30 mph and the scoring average for the second round was 78.10.

"It was just a long day," said Wade. "No place to hide."

Justin Rose and Davis Love III shot 79s. Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler shot 80s. Alex Noren backed up a first-round 67 with a second-round 80. Matt Kuchar, my pre-PGA Championship pick, shot 82.

And they're touring pros. Wade is the new club pro at Miami Valley Golf Club in Dayton who had almost zero time to prepare for the Ocean Course wind tunnel.

"He had a newborn two weeks ago and he just closed on a house -- all in the same week," said his caddie and longtime buddy Kyle Rabe. "The thing I was most proud about him is that he kept playing. It's so easy to throw it in, but he didn't."

It was borderline brutal here Friday. Wade's playing partner Jamie Donaldson, who managed a 1-over-par 73 -- and felt wonderful about it -- said the weather made the course play four to five shots harder than Thursday.

"The scores will tell you at the end of the day," he said.

Here's what they said: You will suffer.

Adam Scott shot 75 and was half-giddy about it.

"I think I played very well," he said. "I consider 75 kind of a par round of golf out there."

Palmetto fronds arched their backs in the winds. Flagsticks struggled to stand straight. Golf balls ignored directions.

You couldn't bump and run because the grabby grass on the mostly elevated greens and Pete Dye's design aren't friends of such shots. If you got the ball in the air, anything could happen.

The wind took a 2-iron shot of Scott's so far right on the par-5 seventh hole that it plunked a woman in the head. A doctor happened to be nearby and attended to her. Scott stopped by, apologized, got her information and said he was going to send "a big bunch of flowers."

Wade didn't need flowers. He needed a hug.

Two weeks ago in section qualifying, he shot 65. Friday, he shot 93, just a stroke short of Gary Campbell's 22-over-par 94 in the first round of the 1977 PGA Championship and Tom Dolby's 94 in the second round of the 2002 PGA.

"We were expecting to have calm conditions this morning, but then got woken up at 3 a.m. with that thunderstorm," said Rabe. "It never stopped blowing. It just kept blowing harder, harder and harder."

About 40 friends and family members followed Wade around the course. They had come from Ohio and as far away as Arizona. And they cheered until the very end, even when he sank his final putt for a bogey 5 on the 18th hole.

Here's how gruesome it was for Wade: he hit one of 18 greens in regulation, five of 14 fairways and needed 32 putts. (He missed, by his own count, four 3-footers.) He recorded five pars, seven bogeys, four double bogeys and two triples, including a snowman on No. 11.

"On a day like this," said a sympathetic Donaldson, "if you're off your game, it's painful. ... He's a good guy, a nice guy."

Wade was off his game -- a lot. The wind, the heat, Pete Dye, the pressure and the PGA Championship can do that. So can a newborn son, a new mortgage and a new job.

"It was fun," said Wade, his PGA-issued contestant's money clip attached to his white belt. "It'll be fine. I guess the way you got to look at it is if I can shoot in the 90s, in front of a national audience in a PGA event, anything I do negatively in the game of golf is going to be put in perspective. It shouldn't really matter what I shoot in my next event."

Remember that when you see Wade's 93 in black and white, or even club pro Michael Frye's 90. Don't smirk or laugh. Instead, feel free to admire the effort.

After all, they finished.

Gene Wojciechowski | email

Columnist / College Football reporter