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FRIDAY MORNING WAVE: Players maximize opportunity during early portion of second round at PGA Championship

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

Take a look at Patrick Cantlay’s scorecard and it’s easy to see how Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York was playing during the second round of the PGA Championship. On Thursday, light winds made for the easiest of conditions players would encounter. The wind picked up by mid-morning, setting the stage for a challenging afternoon wave at the Tour’s second major of the year.

Back to Cantlay’s scorecard. He hit 10+ fairways and before the afternoon wave took to Oak Hill, led the field in strokes gained off the tee. He also managed to hit more than 80% of greens in regulation. He finished his round with a bogey but that didn’t matter. It was still enough for a 3-under 67; and when the dust settles should be enough to keep him in the top-15 heading into the weekend.

In his post-round presser Cantlay said he hoped for more wind. “I hope it blows more than it did this morning, but I didn’t avoid any wind,” he said. In his estimation, more wind would be ‘great’ for keeping scores down.

Taylor Pendrith fired a 1-under 69 to head into the weekend inside the top-10. And if Cantlay’s effort was made possible by hitting a solid number of fairways- Pendrith’s came from a strong putting effort. He led the field in strokes gained putting for most of his round, and in his words, “If I had an average or bad putting day, it could have been ugly.”

He did it by keeping the ball below the hole for most of his round. The wind was still a factor, though, as Pendrith noted, reflecting on practice rounds earlier in the week. “Tuesday and Wednesday were super hard out here,” he added. “I knew the winds were going to die down a little bit, but it’s picking up now, and it’s tricky.”

Sepp Straka, who sits T-11 after shooting 1-over 71 on Friday, gave his assessment of the course after two rounds and staying in contention. “It’s brutal,” he said during his post-round presser. “The wind today made it so hard to hit the fairways. I had a couple back-to-back drives on 16 and 17 where I thought it was dead in the middle, landed in the perfect spot, and just the fairways are so firm, it just rolled right in the rough.”

There’s not a lot stopping the golf ball out there right now. The fairways are hard and dry. Even with rain in the forecast on Saturday- it won’t do much to soften the golf course- after a week-and-a-half of little rain in the Rochester area. “When you get in the rough it’s really tough to score. It’s playing pretty hard.”

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