CROMWELL, CT - One of the toughest things to do in all of golf is to follow up a spectacular round with another great round the very next day.
Kenny Perry shot an opening round 61 Thursday at the Travelers Championship—and believe it or not, he struck the ball even better on Friday despite the 68 that appeared on his scorecard.
Perry hit 86 percent of fairways today, compared to the 71 percent yesterday. He also hit 89 percent of greens in regulation today, whereas he hit 78 percent yesterday.
The major difference between the two rounds?
Perry needed just 25 putts during his first round, compared to the 32 he needed this morning.
“I hit 16 greens and didn't miss a fairway, so had 33 putts today," Perry said in the press room after his round. "I think I figured that right. And 25 yesterday, so that's eight strokes. That was the difference between my two rounds."
"It was fun out there," Perry continued. "I had control of the ball today, hit it nice, and just couldn't get the speed today. They were a lot slower to me, seemed like today, the greens were, and I just couldn't get enough pace on the ball, seemed like, to make some putts."
"It was an easy day at the office. It really was. It was just I didn't get them in the hole," Perry said.
Perry is still leading the tournament at 11-under-par and is in excellent position heading into the weekend. However, there is now a long list of players nipping at his heels.
There are currently 27 players in the field within five strokes of Perry.
Saturday is typically referred to as "moving day" on the PGA Tour, but Ryan Moore and Anthony Kim decided to do their moving on Friday instead.
Perhaps Moore and Kim were so confused by the whirlwind of the last two weeks that they thought today was actually Saturday.
Kim tied for 16th last week at the US Open, while Moore finished in a tie for 10th.
“Any time you go play solid in a major, definitely—well, for me at least, it kind of gave me some positive momentum going into this week," Moore said following his round at TPC River Highlands.
"I played really well, really solid last week in kind of every aspect of the game. I drove the ball well, I hit irons well, chipped well, putted well, especially putted well. Really made a lot of good solid putts in the kind of short to mid range, and it's just gotten me feeling better standing over the golf ball in every aspect of the game."
Moore began the day at four-under-par, and his second round 65 catapulted him all the way up to second place, just two strokes behind Perry.
Moore finished tied for second at the 2006 Travelers Championship, but tied for 33rd in 2007 and missed the cut last year.
Moore, who has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2005, has yet to win a tournament. Perhaps this will be the week he finally enters the winner’s circle.
“You know, I've won a lot of tournaments. I just haven't won out here yet, and I think that it's the same thing anywhere, you know, at any level," said Moore. "You just gotta get it done when it matters. Just coming down the stretch you gotta hit good shots, and you make putts, and it's as simple as that."
Kim opened with a 66 yesterday, which included four birdies on his first seven holes; and he got off to another hot start on Friday.
Kim recorded four birdies and a bogey on the front nine.
On the 574-yard par five sixth, Kim pushed his five wood out to the right of the green, where the ball came to rest on the seventh tee box.
From there, Kim somehow found an opening between two large trees, pitched the ball to less than a foot and tapped in for a birdie—bringing him to six-under-par for the tournament.
Kim was on the 14th green and eight-under-par for the tournament when play was suspended due to severe thunderstorms.
Garcia, who was playing alongside of Kim, was doing some moving of his own early on in his round.
Garcia began the day at three-under-par and moved to six-under after birdying three of his first seven holes.
But, Garcia’s rhythm was rattled on the par four 10th.
Garcia hit a solid drive down the left side of the fairway, which was perfect for the right-hand pin location—only this fairway happened to have a tree in it.
Garcia’s ball came to rest just a few feet away from the tree, which sat within the left side of the fairway.
Garcia was forced to alter his swing and he pulled his approach shot left of the green, where he was unable to get up-and-down for par.
Garcia was still fuming when he stepped onto the 11th tee box and he pulled his tee shot into the woods on the 158-yard par three. He then hit his second shot out of the woods and over the green, and needed two more strokes to record his second consecutive bogey.
Garcia would also go on to bogey the par five 13th despite hitting his second shot to within 30 yards of the hole.
The current cut line is projected at three-under-par, which is exactly where Garcia stands after 13 holes.
If Garcia somehow goes from being in contention to missing the cut, he could point directly to his tough break with the tree in the 10th fairway. But then again, he can also look to the way in which he handled that tough break.
Even though we’re not out on Long Island anymore, we’re still in the Northeast and there seems to be a new trend emerging in this region of the country—it rains almost every single day.
The rain started falling at around 11am. But, it turned out that the morning showers were just a precursor to the really rough stuff that would come through later on.
At around 4:30pm, play was suspended and the skies opened up shortly thereafter .
There were torrential downpours, deafening claps of thunder, lightening bolts streaking down from the sky and several tornados even whipped through the area.
Perhaps that’s a little dramatic.
But let’s just say that you would not want to be standing outside when this storm came rumbling through. And although the PGA Tour doesn’t head to the Midwest until next week, there were in fact several tornados in the area. Fortunately, none of them decided to turn towards TPC River Highlands.
Play was officially suspended for the day at around 6pm and players who were on the course will resume their second rounds at 8am Saturday morning.
Although Perry has only won once when holding a share of the 18-hole lead, his chances are now beginning to look a little brighter, as he is 7-for-18 in his career when holding at least a share of the 36-hole lead.
Perry has stated his goal of reaching 20 PGA Tour wins before he retires or moves on to the Champions Tour.
Perhaps win number 14 is just two days away.
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