Kiawah Island goes from beauty to the beast

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:01 AM ET

Just like the ocean that lends its name to the field of battle being used for the PGA Championship, Kiawah Island can change its mood quickly and laugh at anybody who actually believed that the final major of the season was going to be a rather long walk in the park.

The 7,676 yards that it can take to play the Ocean Course was hardly an intimidating number on a magical Thursday in which unknown Dutch golfer Joost Luiten actually pushed his score to eight under and John Daly once again became a credible golfer instead of a sideshow with a 68.

It was the stuff dreams are made of, but then the nightmare blew in for the second round and if you didn’t know it would, you had your head stuck in one of nearby sand dunes or didn’t listen to the weather report.

The gusts that blew in transformed Kiawah from beauty into beast to underscore the importance of considering conditions before judging Congressional, the site of Rory McIlroy’s waltz to last year’s U.S. Open, or RBC Canadian Open sites such as Hamilton and St. George’s as too soft.

Had those gems received the weather that dominated Kiawah on Friday, the stories that transpired on those other venues would have been completely different.

The story at Kiawah is that Tiger Woods is tied with Vijay Singh and first-round leader Carl Pettersson, who jousted with Woods all day before stumbling with three consecutive bogeys near the end. Woods also bogeyed 18, not as much of a bad thing on a day such as Friday.

At four under, that trio is one ahead of Ian Poulter and two up on Rory McIlroy and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

Saturday promises to be a replica of the second round, so expect to see the lead to continue changing hands frequently. If it is to move off its current number, it’s more likely to take a downward spiral to tighten things up even more.

Already, the lead is two less than the six-under Pettersson had after the first round and only 10 players are under par. The players who survived Friday’s war of attrition will no doubt have visions of pars dancing in their heads and bogeys won’t be treated with the usual disdain.

Singh’s 69 was the round of the day and Phil Mickelson’s 71 was good enough to boot him way up the leaderboard into a tie for 11th at even par, so it’s little wonder that Adam Scott, looking to get back on track after his collapse in the British Open, said he was glad to escape with a 75.

Scott will begin the third round at one under, just three shots off the lead.

It could have just as easily gone the way it did for Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who shot a 67 on Thursday, but bloated that by 11 shots in Friday’s 78. Even with that, Fernandez-Castano is just five shots back.

Consider that players such as Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day had 80s, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney and Rory Sabbatini had 82s and that players who were six over for their first two rounds will be playing the weekend, with more of the same on tap for Saturday.

More explosions will take place before nicer weather is supposed to move in for Sunday’s final round, but by then, the leaderboard could look considerably different than it does right now.

Saturday’s third round promises to be anything but a day at the beach.

MORE CARNAGE AT KIAWAH

Both captains for next month’s Ryder Cup missed the cut. Davis Love III shot a 79 on Friday to finish seven over for the tournament. While Love had nine bogeys against just two birdies, his European counterpart Jose Maria Olazabal posted a birdie on two, then went eight consecutive holes in which he put up seven bogeys and a double bogey before finally parring the 11th. Olazabal finished with an 86 to go 16 over for the tournament ... Olzabal wasn’t the only one to go on nightmare run. Bill Murchison, an assistant professional in Georgia who almost didn’t get into the PGA Championship, shot a first round 82 and followed up with an 86, a round that included a run of nine straight holes in which he had six bogeys and three double bogeys ... Tour regular D.A. Points opened with seven holes in which he triple bogeyed twice, double bogeyed once and put up four bogeys. Points finished the day with an 87 to go 16 over for his two rounds ... Two former Canadian Open champs have withdrawn. Scott Verplank withdrew on Friday with a hip injury after shooting a 42 on his first nine holes, while Sean O’Hair, last year’s winner, withdrew after playing 15 holes, citing a wrist injury. O’Hair had gone triple bogey, double bogey and quadruple bogey on his previous three holes. Also, Kevin Na pulled out with a shoulder injury after a four-hole stretch that included two bogeys and a couple of double bogeys, All three players opened with first round 75s ... Play was called at 8:16 p.m. with Luiten the only player who didn’t finish his round. He was at five over on the day and one-over for the tournament.


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