Welcome to the roller coaster that is Golf.
Just 24 hours after carding a career-best 10-under 61 and setting a new course record at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, Padraig Harrington’s reentry into the earth’s atmosphere was a quick and bumpy ride back to the land of familiar struggles. Harrington started the day on the par4 10th, beginning his round with a standard 2-putt par. He gave the par5 11th a go in two, which set up a pitch to within 6 feet and his first birdie on the day. Unfortunately for Harrington, that would be the only highlight of his round on Friday. He would go on to string out 6 consecutive pars before missing the green on the par4 18th and 2-putting from 10 feet for bogey, making the turn at level par on the round.
The front-nine (his back-nine on Friday) was more of the same, mostly pars of the 2-putt variety, with exception of the par4 6th. The same player who holed a 75 footer for birdie in his red-hot round on Thursday went on to 3-putt from 33 feet, after missing what amounted to little more than a tap-in from a mere two feet. The same scenario played out on the very next hole – the par4 7th – as Harrington would miss a 5 footer for his second consecutive 3-putt bogey. He managed pars on the final two holes of the round, shooting 2-over 73 and dropping back to 8-under for the tournament. Despite the 12-shot swing, Harrington maintained his usual perspective on things afterward. “Wasn’t a great deal of difference in the two rounds,” Harrington said. “Today, some things didn’t go well. Golf is a bit like that.” As for the missed 2-footer on the par4 6th…. “You know, I would actually say, my mother cursed at me for missing the tap-in on 6. She wouldn’t be so impressed with me not going through my routine on that.”
Hopefully Paddy’s mother still loves him and he plays better tomorrow. It is St. Patrick’s Day, after all.
While Harrington was experiencing the usual hangover affects from his career-best on Thursday, Jason Dufner was plotting his way to the top of the leaderboard. He made quick work of the opening par5, pitching his 3rd shot to within a couple of feet and getting into red numbers early. A nice approach from 196 yards on the par4 3rd left him a 14 footer for birdie, which he would go on to make to get to 2-under on the day. Another nice pitch shot to within 2 feet on the par5 5th would give him his 3rd birdie on the round, and Dufner would add another birdie on the card after holing a 24 footer on the 9th, making the turn at 4-under 32. He would strike with another birdie on the par5 11th, and make pars the rest of the way in for another bogey-free round of 5-under 66. He goes into the weekend at 10-under par with a 2-shot lead over Padraig Harrington and William McGirt, who are both at 8-under par. Dufner has never won on the PGA Tour in 159 career starts, but finds himself in great position to change that heading into Saturday.
The Nearest Chasers
T2 @ 8-under par: Padraig Harrington (73), William McGirt (68)
T4 @ 7-under par: Chris Couch (68), George McNeill (68), Luke Donald (68), Sang-Moon Bae (66), Ken Duke (67)
T9 @ 6-under par: Jim Furyk (70), John Senden (70), Sergio Garcia (68), Kenny Perry (70)
For a full recap of Friday’s 2nd round action at the 2012 Transitions Championship, click HERE.