Small, Chang lead Illinois PGA, with Biancalana lurking

Writing from Grayslake, Illinois

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

By his reckoning, Roy Biancalana has played eight rounds of competitive golf in the last eight years.

Evidently, that means he’s fresh. He’s three off the lead at Stonewall Orchard Golf Club after his first two rounds in the 97th Illinois PGA Championship. He followed Monday’s 2-under 70 with a 1-over 73 and stood at 1-under 143, three strokes behind leaders Mike Small and Dakun Chang, when the storm-tossed tournament, delayed twice, was suspended for the day.

Where has he been? In Florida, for a start, and working his other job, that of a relationship coach.

“I was out of golf,” the 58-year-old Biancalana said. “I hit balls on the range, but I wasn’t playing tournaments. So it’s taken me a while to get my competitive chops back. I don’t feel really comfortable yet like I used to.

“I don’t know about expectation. I was surprised it’s taken me a while to feel, competitively, into it. I thought maybe I’d struggled in mechanics, but those are fine.”

Biancalana, an ordained minister who captured a pair of Illinois Opens in his first stint in the state, had three seconds in the Illinois PGA in a five-year span, the last time in 2007.

He went away from golf to concentrate on his relationship coaching, he said, after having “so many relationship disasters.

“Guys ask, ‘What got you into that?’ and I say, ‘Well, I got help and tried to figure out my personal life. I did to some extent and thought maybe I could help other people with the kind of questions that I asked.”

That began 11 years ago, which cut into his golf in the summer, and finally halted it completely until this year, when he returned from Florida. He’s teaching golf at St. Andrews in West Chicago when he’s not relationship coaching.

The trio of Small, Travis Johns and Curtis Malm finished in the gloaming, with Small carding his second consecutive 2-under 70 to stand at 4-under 140 entering the final round. Chang went out in 2-under 34 and stood at 4-under through 27 holes. He’s in one of 14 groups which will finish on Wednesday morning. The final round is planned for Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ll be in it tomorrow unless Dakun goes nuts on the back nine,” Small said. “I started off strong, birdied the first two holes, and then kinda hung in there the rest of the day.”

Small, the 12-time section champion, bogeyed the seventh hole but rebounded with a birdie on No. 14 to play the last 11 holes 1-under.

Johns birdied the seventh, eighth and 14th holes and was tied for the lead before a three-putt bogey on No. 15.

“It was fairly uneventful for me,” Johns said. “I had very good opportunities on 10, 11, 13 and didn’t make any of those.”

Johns has four top-five finishes in the last seven years, including joint second in 2013 and 2016. Chang tied for third last year and tied for seventh in 2015.


Small and Chang leads Johns (70 for 3-under 141) by a stroke and Biancalana, Malm and Brian Carroll by three. They’re the only six players under par, with Sean Gervais and Chris Green at even-par 144 and Eric Ilic even through 17 holes.

“I think the course is playing really hard,” Biancalana said. “Every hole’s a crosswind, and it’s difficult to get the distance. There are some places you don’t want to go.

“And these are probably the toughest conditions we’ve played all year, in terms of hot and sticky and windblown and the course is difficult. That’s why I feel exhausted.”

In Biancalana’s place, that was the par-3 fifth hole, which he double-bogeyed. He rebounded with birdies on the eighth and 13th holes before bogey on the 14th preceded a run of pars the rest of the way. He, Rich Dukelow and Brian Brodell had just arrived at the scoring area before the afternoon’s first rumble of thunder was heard. It came about a half-hour after the 89-degree heat and heat index of 96 subsided somewhat.

The day was bookended by heavy thunderstorms. The first one, which arrived before dawn and overstayed its welcome, dumped enough rain on the property to submerge the putting green and flood some bunkers.

Quick work by the Stonewall Orchard grounds staff allowed for a 9:45 a.m. start, 2 1/2 hours behind schedule, which meant the final threesome of the day commenced play at 4:12 p.m. They were on the course for just over an hour when play was suspended at 5:14 p.m., seconds after the first rumble of thunder from a storm that blew up just west of the course. That delayed play until 6:30 p.m., when the action resumed for 66 miutes until the flag was finally planted in the 18th hole for the day.

Tim Cronin


Streng leads seven by one in Illinois PGA

Monday, August 27, 2018

Writing from Grayslake, Illinois

Tim Streng did Monday at Stonewall Orchard Golf Club what he teaches youth golfers to do the other six days of the week. Hit it close and make the putts.

Streng, an instructor at the Wildcat Golf Academy at The Glen Club, fired a 3-under-par 69 and leads the 97th Illinois PGA Championship by a stroke over a sevensome of notables, including 12-time champion Mike Small.

“It was a tough day with the wind,” Streng said of the 20-mph southwesterly breeze, “but I had my wedges dialed in. Hit a lot of them to 10-12 feet and capitalized on a few. All my numbers were in a good spot.”

Streng seemed impervious to the wind. He birdied the third, eighth, 13th and 14th holes, but was vexed by the wind on the par-3 fifth, where he said it was swirling, and scrambled for par. On most of Stonewall’s holes, there was a crosswind, and on most of the others, it was either with the player or in his teeth. His only bogey was on the downwind seventh.

Streng, who won the Illinois PGA Assistant’s title in 2015, leads Small, Dakun Chung, Curtis Malm, Brian Carroll, Rich Dukelow, Roy Biancalana and Kurt Rogers by a stroke entering Tuesday’s second round.

“I thought the wind was a factor,” said Small, who authored three top-10 finishes in as many weeks during a mid-summer swing on a Champions Tour, finishing with a tie for 10th in the Senior Players Championship. “I made some good par putts, made a couple two-footers for birdie and a couple of others, but otherwise made nothing.”

Small, winner of five of the six Illinois PGAs played on this Arthur Hills-designed course, was 3-under until a bogey on the par-4 16th.

Malm played with Small, hitting 15 greens in regulation and paying the price with bogey on his other three holes, the fifth, seventh and 16th. But he made five birdies, including on the last two holes, to more than make up for it.

“You just try to survive the early rounds,” Malm said. “Try to play well on Monday and Tuesday and get into contention.”

Malm, who won the Illinois Open as an amateur in 2000, has a solo second, two joint seconds and a tie for third in the section championship. His tie for second two years ago at Olympia Fields was painful, as he led in the late going before a triple-bogey on the penultimate hole.

“Obviously, I’d like to win it once,” Malm said. “The ultimate goal is to qualify for the PPC (the PGA Professional Championship, colloquially known as the Club Pro).”

Dukelow, a teaching pro at Medinah Country Club, eagled the par-5 eighth hole and scattered four birdies on his card en route to his 70, and did so playing hurt.

“I’ve been fighting a rib injury,” Dukelow said. “It’s 2 1/2 week now, but it still hurts. I don’t make a big deal about injuries, but this one hurts every time I swing. Maybe it makes my tempo better.”

Carroll, who tied for 10th last year, birdied two of his first three holes and didn’t make another until the par-4 15th, when he sank an 18-footer to make up for a bogey on No. 6.

“It’s a handful,” Carroll said of Stonewall. “I had a couple of chances early to take advantage of the course.”

Chang, off in the day’s second group, was 1-over through 10 holes, then clicked off birdies on the 11th, 14th and 15th holes, three of his five 3s on the back nine. That brought him in at 2-under 70, which held up as the lead until the early afternoon, when Streng asserted himself.

Biancalana, 58, returned to Illinois this year after a decade in Florida as a relationships coach, was bogey-free with birdies on the 16th and 18th to sneak into contention. He was a runner-up twice in the early 2000s.

Rogers, from Red Tail Run in Decatur, was the last of the field to join the crowd at 70, and did so with birdies on the ninth, 10th and 15th holes to offset a bogey on the sixth.

Defending champion Adam Schumacher scored 3-over-par 75 in uneven fashion, with a bogey-bogey-double bogey-double bogey stretch to score 43 on the front side, but raced home in 4-under 32. He’s tied for 28th. The cut will be to the low 60 and ties.

A downpour on Sunday prompted the declaration of lift, clean and place in the fairway, but it didn’t help scoring much. The field of 120 averaged 78.44 on the 6,935-yard par-72 layout. Of the top 20 players, the only one to play the most difficult stretch, holes 4-5-6, under par was Sean Gervais of Chicago Golf Club, who was 1-under thanks to a birdie on No. 4, which helped him to a 1-under 71.

Tim Cronin


Crafty Koepka captures classic PGA

Writing from Town and Country, Mo.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Brooks Koepka can shed the Rodney Dangerfield no-respect tag forever now.

He’s a force in golf, and with three major championships in his pocket, has an inside track to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

And Tiger Woods confirmed he can play championship golf again.

Those are the twin lead stories to come out of the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, and if it sounds like that’s slighting Koepka, who has collected those three majors, including the last two U.S. Opens, in just six starts, consider what he says about what others think:

“I don’t care about what anybody else says. You’re going to have fans and you’re going to have people who hate you,” Koepka said after grabbing the tournament by the throat on the last four holes, and thus grabbing the Wanamaker Trophy as well.

He has more of the former than the latter now, whether he knows it or not. Thousands hung around for the trophy ceremony, which is usually conducted to the taillights of the gallery.

Koepka’s 4-under-par 66 for a PGA-record 16-under 264 was good for a two-stroke victory over Woods, whose 6-under 64 electrified the gallery of approximately 50,000 and coaxed millions to television screens around the world.

However, the numbers don’t really tell the story. Koepka and Woods both battled their way around a Bellerive course that stiffened somewhat as the day went on. Koepka snapped a tie with fellow competitor Adam Scott with 10- and six-foot birdie putts on the 15th and 16th holes after Scott had birdied five of seven holes to climb into a tie at 14-under.

Woods then battled his way within a stroke, and would have tied Koepka on the back nine but for a would-be birdie putt that was a quarter-turn short of falling in on the par-4 11th and a bogey on the par-4 14th. (Not hitting a fairway on the front nine and still scoring 3-under 32 was a push, but Woods rued his erratic tee game during and after the round.)

His chance to make history, returning to glory from the back injury that threatened his ability to walk, much less play golf, was finally thwarted by a hazard-inducted par on the par-5 17th, but he birdied the last, draining a 20-footer, to break a tie with Scott and take solo second. Scott finished at 13-under 267 with his 3-under 67.

Koepka, 28, beat two childhood favorites in Woods and Scott, which added to the flavor of the day.

“When I watched Adam win at the Players (in 2004), I was so mad when he hit it into the water, probably as mad as he was,” Koepka said. “And Tiger, he’s why all of us all play. I don’t think I ever dreamed I’d be playing against them.”

He was, and he outplayed them. All week, Koepka had generally kept the ball in play – hit the fairway, hit the green, hit the hole – while driving it over the horizon. That’s a splendid combination. Woods noticed as much in a practice round.

“It’s tough to catch Brooksie when he’s hitting it 340 (yards) down the middle,” Woods said. “At Shinnecock, he was just bombing it, and he’s doing it here. And he’s making putts. Doing that, he’s tough to beat.”

When he missed, he missed long, making recovering for par possible. Koepka double-bogeyed the sixth hole in the first round and had only four bogeys, back to back in each of the last two rounds, the rest of the way.

The bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes brought defending champion Justin Thomas briefly into a tie for the lead, but Koepka never relinquished a share. Thomas slid back with bogeys on the 14th and 16th holes. Scott failed to convert chances after climbing to 14-under on the 13th, notably at the par-5 17th when he slid a six-foot downhill putt past the hole.

Koepka kept steady of mind even when missing birdie chances at No. 12, 13 and 14. His 12-foot birdie on the 15th pushed him to 15-under, and the follow-up 6-footer on No. 16 for 16-under and a two-stroke lead effectively cued the engraver.

“I had the momentum coming off 13,” Scott said. “When I missed that putt on No. 15, and he was putting after me (and made birdie) ... you know, there are huge moments in tournaments.”

Scott saw it as the turning point.

“I had a chip (for birdie) on 16 and a putt on 17 and didn’t make it,” Scott said. “That was my last hurrah. It would have made it interesting.”

Woods’ day-long adventure made it very interesting. They sold everything in the Bellerive merchandise tent but earplugs, and those were necessary, so loud were the galleries for Woods to do something.

He did plenty. Eight birdies. No fairways hit until the 10th hole. Out in 32. Visions of an 18th major championship (15th as a professional) dancing in the humid air. That turned out to be  a mirage, but for one brief shining moment, Bellerive was Camelot.

Woods’ run brought to mind the charge Jack Nicklaus made to win the 1986 Masters, only his time, the fairy tale didn’t have the dramatic ending. Four strokes off the pace at the start, Woods went out in 3-under 32 and was only a stroke back after piling a birdie on the 13th hole on top of one at the 12th.

“The golf course was soft, it was gettable, and I had to go get it,” Woods said. “I tried.”

Woods eventually hit five of seven fairways on the back nine but only matched his 3-under 32 from the front. That millimeters-short putt on the 11th and the lip-out when trying to save par on the 14th were the difference between runner-up and a playoff with Koepka.

As it was, Woods all but brought the house down.

“These fans were all so positive, I can’t thank them enough,” Woods said.

Koepka – remember him? – concurred.

“You could hear roars on 10 and 11 9 (for Woods), and they would trickle down across the course as they changed the leader boards, every three seconds,” Koepka said. “The loudest road came when I was over my putt on No. 8. Did he birdie 9?”

Oh yes, did he.

“When he did it was incredible.”

Then Koepka made some noise of his own, sinking that birdie putt, as he had the one on No. 7, as he would the one on No. 9, to go out in 2-under 33. Eventually, the throng that came to cheer Woods saluted him as well.

“I’ve never seen this many people at a golf tournament,” Koepka said. “I don’t even know what to say, there were so many.”

Years from now, many who were here will even remember Brooks Koepka was the winner.

Full house again Sunday

One of the more impressive aspects of the week was the gallery. It was obvious the thousands who poured into Bellerive each day were thrilled to be at a major championship from the way they acted. In four days on the course and watching television coverage – a writer tends to gravitate to the screen since the production can be at many places at once – only a couple of “baba booey” yells were heard. This, with perhaps 45,000 to 55,000 on hand each day. It was more like a Masters gallery, with everyone at Augusta National on their best behavior lest they get thrown out and banned for life.

Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson said he’d never seen so many people at a major championship – though Doug wasn’t yet on the beat when the Masters sold an unlimited number of practice round tickets. The crowds here compared to the big final-round crowds for the Western Open at Cog Hill when Greg Norman or Woods was leading or stalking the leader and over 50,000 would turn out on Sunday. And the 45,000-square foot PGA merchandise tent was mobbed, sometimes with admission allowed only when someone left.

In our experience, only the final round of the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, when vendors were told to be ready for 65,000 fans, appeared to be measurably larger than any of the four tournament days here.

Around the PGA

Koepka won $1.98 million, Woods $1.188 million from the purse of $11 million. Stewart Cink and Jon Rahm, who briefly threatened, tied for fourth at 11-under 269. ... Koepka is the fifth player to win the U.S. Open in the same year, joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Woods. ... With the schedule change, Koepka will defend his PGA title next May at Bethpage Black before defending the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June. ... Illinois graduate and European Tour standout Thomas Pieters made a run, and was 6-under for the day when he double-bogeyed the par-5 17th hole, hitting two shots into the creek that meanders down the right side. That killed his chance at an upset and landed him in a tie for sixth at 10-under 270. He still shot 66. ... Ben Kern, the lone club pro to make the cut of the 20 in the field, scored even-par 70 on Sunday for 3-under 277 and finished tied for 43rd. ... Rickie Fowler teed it up on Sunday, but nothing happened. He scored 1-over 71 for 8-under 272 and tied for 12th. ... The field averaged 69.338 strokes on Sunday, and 70.125, barely over par, for the week. ... The U.S. Ryder Cup standings didn’t change among the top eight, who are now locked in, but Woods gave every reason to captain Jim Furyk to select him next month.

Tim Cronin


Underrated Koepka goes for U.S. Open-PGA double

Writing from Town and Country, Missouri

Saturday, August 21, 2018

When Brooks Koepka won last year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills, he received acclaim, but some reserved endorsing his accomplishment. Their thought was that the course was so wide, and Koepka had such length off the tee, his wasn’t a traditional U.S. Open victory.

Then Koepka went and won this year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, a course that demands both strength and subtlety. That turned most of the nay-sayers into endorsers. Not only had Koepka become the first to win back-to-back National Opens, he’d collected the second at one of America’s signature courses.

If Koepka wins the 100th PGA Championship on Sunday – and he leads the scrap at soggy Bellerive Country Club by two entering the final round thanks to his third-round 4-under 66 for 12-under 198 – he’ll have won three of the last seven major championships, and with a wrist injury limiting his play the first half of this year.

There would be no argument against the quality of that accomplishment.

Koepka is chasing the first U.S. Open-PGA double since Tiger Woods’ doing so in 2000 (along with the British Open, and finally the 2001 Masters for the grand slam). He leads Adam Scott by two strokes after Scott’s 5-under 65 for 10-under 200, and is three ahead of Jon Rahm (66), Rickie Fowler (69) and Gary Woodland, who led the first two rounds but slipped to a 71 on Saturday. There are 11 players, including defending champion Justin Thomas, within four strokes, and 14 within five – with British Open champion Francesco Molinari lurking that far in arrears.

“Stay in the moment, that’s the big thing,” Koepka said of how to go about his business. “There’s a lot of star power (on top) and it should be. It’s a major championship. That’s what’s going to make this event very exciting to watch tomorrow.”

Koepka only hit nine fairways in the third round, but made the most of it. That’s why he was hitting driver on the first hole, for instance, when Woodland and Kevin Kisner, with whom he played on Saturday afternoon, were laying up.

“I don’t see anything but driver,” Koepka said. “With Zoysia fairways the ball’s not really going to roll out anyways, and especially with a wet golf course.”

Which, despite a sunny day and a high of 88 degrees, it still is. The wind was negligible until late in the round, which means the moisture in the ground is staying there. That plays into the hands of the big hitters, and Koepka qualifies.

“All you have to do is put it in the fairway and you’re fine.” Koepka said.

And scramble like a demon, which he has. Oh, and putt. Koepka’s only needed 81 putts so far, only 50 in the last 36 holes. Of the main contenders, Scott’s rolled it 86 times, Rahm 91, Fowler 89, Woodland 83, Woods 86 and Cink 84. If Koepka keeps that up, the Wanamaker trophy and the $1.98 million that goes with it will be his.

However, he’s not ready to lift the 34-pound prize yet, and not because he’s taking easy at the gym, which he visits every available morning, including Sunday morning.

“With so many big names,you would expect two or three of them to really make a run, get off to a good start and challenge me,” Koepka said. “They’re names I’ve grown up watching that everybody else loves to watch play.”

Koepka accomplished his 66 with a penalty stroke for slapping a tee shot against a tree on the 15th hole, which set up a second straight bogey.

“I don’t know how it got behind that tree with so many people,” Koepka said. “It was impressive it ended up there. But you just get on with it.”

He built his lead on an outward 5-under 30, which ballooned to five strokes when Woodland triple-bogeyed the par-4 10th, and a birdie on the par-5 17th kept him ahead of the faster-closing Scott.

“I’ve driven it well,” Scott said. “That’s tricked down into my irons, and I’ve putted well. All around, everything’s looking real solid. But I need a great day tomorrow. It’s a stacked leader board.”

That it is, and while Scott doesn’t look out of place, his Masters win and No. 1 ranking is a distant memory. He’s No. 76 this week, in the PGA for that reason alone.

“When it’s bunched like this, it comes down to the guy who makes a couple of putts when he’s in position,” Scott said.

Rahm, the fiery Spaniard, hasn’t had any blowups this week, which he credits to a new mental attitude. His bogey-free 66 didn’t hurt either.

“I’ve been doing a lot of mental work,” Rahm said. “I think I’m more balanced, hence the bogey-free rounds. I decided to stop complaining – act more like an adult would. Thursday (when he shot 68), it was a really big effort. Yesterday (67), it was a massive effort on a couple of holes. It hasn’t been easy.”

The payoff could be enormous. The same would be true for Fowler. His Players Championship title is great, but doesn’t have that major patina in the eyes of most people. But winning it as he did, racing from behind, may pay off double on Sunday. In his mind, he’s been there.

“It’s how confident I’ll feel tomorrow compared to four or five years ago,” Fowler said of his outlook for Sunday. “But I’ve got to play better than I did today, that’s for sure.”

And by the by, Woods climbed back into the ring on Saturday. First he finished off a second-round 66, then posted a like score that featured a 4-under 31 on the front side and nine straight pars coming in, including a three-putt par on the 550-yard 17th after landing on the green in two. However, that was good enough to lift him from a tie for 19th to a tie for sixth at 8-under 202, and thus into Sunday’s fourth from last twosome.

“I gave myself a chance,” said Woods, who was followed by an enormous percentage of the 45,000-plus who jammed Bellerive and produced Augustaesque roars when Woods was galloping around the front nine. “I played 29 holes, dropped three shots and two of those were three-putts. I just wish I could have got myself a couple shots closer to the lead. But there aren’t too many guys in front of me.

“I’m tired. The 29 holes, it’s not physical, it’s mental.”

The final four pairings: Stewart Cink (201), whose 66 moved him into contention for a second career major, and Jason Day (202), who won the PGA three years ago at Whistling Straits, at 1:25 p.m.; Woodland and Woods at 1:35 p.m.; Fowler and Rahm, each pursuing their first major, at 1:45 p.m.; and finally Koepka and Scott at 1:55 p.m.

Fowler, the most notable player yet to score one of the four traditional majors, is being hampered, sort of, by a strained oblique muscle, but his swing doesn’t seem impacted. He said it didn’t get any worse in the third round, but will it allow him to snap the tie with Rahm and Woodland, climb past Scott and take on Koepka? His Players win came from off the pace when nobody was looking.

Sunday, people will be looking.

Around the PGA

Jordan Spieth, seeking to capture the career grand slam with a victory, had closed within lurking distance of the leaders mid-round with four birdies on his last five holes of the front nine. Then he sailed his tee shot on the par-4 12th hole to the right and watched it bounce off a cart path into a woody refuge. He had 205 yards to the hole and decided to go for it, using a 5-iron. His shot hit a tree, then another, and caromed out of bounds. That led to a triple-bogey 7 and knocked him back in the pack, from a tie for ninth to a tie for 27th by day’s end. “It was just a perfect storm,” Spieth said. “I should have hit 6- or 7-iron and gone for the front of the green. The gap (between trees) was wider higher up.” ... Woods was among the players who lauded the galleries, calling them “unbelievable. Hopefully, we can come back soon.” Koepka said he’d never seen so many people on a golf course for a major as he has this week. ... The 80-player field after the cut scored 69.500 on the par-70 layout, lowing the week’s average to 70.286. A similar day on Sunday and this would be the first PGA Championship where the field beat the course. ... Matt Wallace aced the 232-yard 16th hole with a 7-iron, and threw the ball to the gallery after he picked it out of the cup and kissed it.

Tim Cronin


Woodland carries PGA lead into third round

Writing from Town and Country, Missouri

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Anyone in the fairway at Bellerive Country Club when the second round of the 100th PGA Championship resumed had a great chance at a birdie.

Anyone in the rough risked settling for bogey, so thick and juicy was the high grass.

That’s why nobody left on the course Friday when thunderstorms brought proceedings to a halt at 3:33 p.m. made a run at leader Gary Woodland, who was back at his hotel, pleased to be at 10-under 130 when the storm hit, dropping .45 inches of rain on an already mushy course.

Rickie Fowler came closest, playing his last eight holes in 1 under to come in with a 3-under 67 for 8-under 132 and a tie for third entering the afternoon’s third round. He made two birdies and one bogey along the way, with a birdie on the par-5 17th getting him to 8-under on a windless morning where the surface conditions were vexing.

“The golf ball being wet makes it harder to control with the rain from yesterday and the dew,” Fowler said.

Between Woodland and Fowler is Kevin Kisner, whose 64 for 131 was registered Friday morning. Double U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka scored a PGA record-tying 63 on Friday to move into third at 8-under 132, which Fowler matched.

Four players are tied at 7-under 133: world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (second-round 66), Charl Schwartzel (63), Illinois graduate Thomas Pieters (66) and Shane Lowry, who finished off his 64 in the morning.

Tony Finau likely boosted his standing in the eyes of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk with the 4-under 66 he completed in the morning. Finau, who parred only one of his first 11 holes, settled down and parred three of his last seven holes to go with three more birdies and a bogey. Furyk played with Finau, who scored 74 on Thursday. The second-round rebound put Finau at even-par 140, which made the cut on the number, a record low for a PGA by one stroke. Eighty players advanced to the final 36 holes.

Bryson DeChambeau missed a four-foot putt on his last hole and missed the cut by a stroke. He came into the week ninth in the Ryder Cup standings, the first non-automatic spot. Furyk may be less interested in DeChambeau as a result.

Also missing by one: Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III and Padraig Harrington. Wheaton native Kevin Streelman missed by two despite a second round par 70, while Masters champion Patrick Reed and John Daly missed by three. Phil Mickelson added a 71 to his opening 73, his 4-over 144 four strokes more than what was necessary, while Bubba Watson’s 8-over 78 was punctuated by a pair of double-bogeys and sent him packing. HaoTong Li withdrew with a wrist injury after the 11th hole. He played his last three holes in 4-over.

Tim Cronin