Matt Kuchar continues strong play in the PGA Championship
SHEBOYGAN, WIS. - The only thing clear after two days of fog-induced havoc at the PGA Championship is that Matt Kuchar is playing very, very well.
Kuchar ran off three straight birdies on the back nine to get to 8 under on Friday. That gave him a two-stroke lead, though half the field hadn't even made it onto the course by mid-afternoon after fog delayed resumption of the first round by almost three hours.
Bryce Molder and Noh Seung-yul, 19, were doing their part to hold up the season's tradition of unknowns making big runs at the majors, as both reached 6 under. Dustin Johnson, best known for his meltdown at Pebble Beach, was also at 6 under.
The big names were either holding steady (Ernie Els) or spraying their way around the course (Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker).
Despite the wacky weather, Kuchar was proof that decent scores were available on the 7,514-yard, links-style monster. Maybe that was a good sign for Tiger Woods, who finished his first round at an encouraging 1-under 71 and had to wait until dinnertime to begin a second round he certainly wouldn't complete by sundown.
Bubba Watson and Francesco Molinari, whose 68s gave them the clubhouse lead before the first round was suspended for darkness Thursday night, also had late tee times Friday.
"It's testing us for sure, you're playing a very big golf course and you know you're going to have delays," said Els, who got to 5 under on his first nine. "You've just got to try to stay in the present and play every shot as it comes. Not try to get to ahead of yourself, I guess."
Kuchar often plays a game with himself, looking through a book of golf courses and trying to guess where they might be. Though he always guesses - wrongly - that it's somewhere in Europe, Whistling Straits catches his eye.
"I really just like the look of it and the feel of it," Kuchar said Thursday night.
It shows. Though he got only 5?? hours of sleep, less than his preferred eight, the second fog delay in as many days gave him precious extra time on the driving range.
"I never wake up in the best of spirits," he said. "So [the delay] was just some extra time to kind of get my body back in sync again."
Picking up on the par-4 No. 6, Kuchar birdied it to take the lead and played the last three holes at par to preserve the first-round lead.