The Ocean Course returns to brutal form as scoring plummets

Luke Donald hits his tee shot on No. 18 Friday. (Source: Alex Kreitman / Live 5 News)
Luke Donald hits his tee shot on No. 18 Friday. (Source: Alex Kreitman / Live 5 News)
Graeme McDowell on the tee Friday. (Source: Alex Kreitman / Live 5 News)
Graeme McDowell on the tee Friday. (Source: Alex Kreitman / Live 5 News)

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The swirling winds off the coast of Kiawah Island toyed with some of the world's best golfers Friday morning. The brutal wind has been the subject of conversation leading up to the 94th PGA Championship at The Ocean Course, but it wasn't until Friday when the wind made a grand and late entrance.

Dozens of players dropped strokes during the morning round with wind speeds more than double from the first round. The projected cut line went from 2-over to 4-over in less than eight hours. Ricky Fowler, who shot 2-over-par Thursday, is one of many players who struggled.

Fowler had a miserable finish to Friday's and he is sure to miss the cut. He began his round on the back nine, but it was the front nine holes that did him in. He carded a bogey at No. 5, a double bogey on No. 6 and a triple bogey the par-5 7th hole. He also bogeyed No. 9 to finish with an 8-over 80 on the day, putting him at 10-under for the tournament.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano sat in a tie for third after Thursday's first round, but Friday's conditions sent him plummeting down the leaderboard.

"It's playing tough in this wind, especially," Fernandez-Castano said after his round.

Fernandez-Castano finished with a 6-over 78 on the day, which leaves him at 1-over for the championship. He is expected to make the cut.

"(The course) is playing really, really long and you want to have a chance to get on in two on the par 5's," he said. "These greens, even though they're big, they have a lot of run-outs, and of course reading the putts in this wind, it's never an easy task."

The world's No. 1 player, for the time being, also had trouble with Friday's conditions. Luke Donald shot two strokes worse than his first round score. He now sits as 6-over for the tournament and is on the short side of the cut line.

"(The course) didn't play anything like the practice days, so you really had to adapt," Donald said. "I was talking with my caddie on the range if I would rather had 2-iron to hit it a bit lower. The course changed quite a bit and you had to adapt."

Padraig Harrington, the 2008 PGA Champion, went from 2-under-par at the start of the day to 2-over-par. Harrington shot a 4-over 76.

"I didn't score very well," Harrington said. "A couple of the par 5's, I gave myself chances with chips and bogey putts and didn't make and them and a couple of bogeys, the same thing. It's hard. It's hard if you've got something left out there, anything over a foot is difficult in the wind."

K.J. Choi is another player to drop down the board. Choi came into Friday at 3-under, but after shooting a 5-over 77, he sits at 2-over. Add Graeme McDowell to the same list. He is still Even-par for the championship, but dropped four strokes Friday.

"All around it's a tough test," McDowell said. "Is it unfair? I mean, this is the PGA Championship. You've got to go out there and battle it out and someone is going to win the tournament this weekend. You've got to hang tough out there."

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