No player who shot numbers as high as George Bradford, Ricky Touma and Jim Schouller was as happy as those three were walking off the course yesterday at the Booz Allen Classic. Bradford, Touma and Schouller each had smiles on their faces even though none had a chance at making the cut.
"It's fun to get my feet wet," Bradford said. "I enjoyed the experience, and now that I know what it's like I look forward to coming back."
Bradford, Touma and Schouller made their PGA Tour debuts at the Booz Allen Classic. Bradford, a 29-year-old former University of Maryland golfer from Columbia, shot 74-79 -- 153 (11 over par). Touma, a 40-year-old assistant PGA professional at Burning Tree, shot 72-76 -- 148. Schouller, a 30-year-old assistant PGA professional at Congressional Country Club, shot 76-77 -- 153.
Although each hoped to play well enough to make the cut, they took away something valuable despite ending the tournament yesterday.
Bradford, who plays on the Canadian Tour, learned a lot about course preparation.
"How to prepare myself in a practice round for the tournament round," he said. "Whereas on my other tours I just go out and play the course and get a feel for it. I don't really need to look at the pin positions. It's right in front of you. But out here, you really have to take a lot of notes, really work the course and work yourself around it."
Schouller realized what he needs to do better next time.
"I'll take away a good experience to grow off of this," he said. "The next time I get into a PGA event I'll feel more comfortable. I know what I have to go work on in my game."
The part of being inside the ropes that Touma enjoyed the most was the number of people who came out to support him. Touma, who grew up in the Washington area and has worked here his entire career, estimated he had 100 family and friends in the gallery.
"I didn't realize so many people knew me in the area," he said. "Guys I haven't seen in 20 years came out. It was great."
Again, Funk Misses Cut
Crowd favorite Fred Funk, the former University of Maryland golf coach, had one of his poorest performances at TPC at Avenel. Funk, who started the day at 2 under, shot 6-over 77 and missed the cut with his score of 148. This is the eighth time Funk has missed the cut at this event since he started playing it in 1982.
"The worst missed cut I've ever had," Funk said. "I was on cruise control, and everything went wrong. There's nothing to be said. It's just pitiful."
Although his undoing came long before his triple bogey on the eighth hole, it didn't help his cause either. Funk, who started on No. 10, was 1 under after his first nine holes, then shot 7 over on the front nine. He bogeyed 1, 4 and 5 and made double bogey on No. 6. His only birdie was on the par-3 third.
Funk's approach shot on par-4 No. 8 skidded off the green into the steep grassy slope, just inches from the bunker. He hardly stood over the ball before taking his wedge and hacking at it. After a couple of swings, the ball landed 10 feet from the pin. Funk two-putted for 7.
Funk's poor play was surprising particularly after his strong performance at last week's U.S. Open, where he finished a career-best sixth.
The weather delay allowed two players to make an early exit from the tournament. Neal Lancaster and Craig Bowden did not come back to the course when play resumed. Ken Green and Chris Couch also withdrew during their rounds because of injuries. Boyd Summerhays, who was 3 over after the first round, never started.
Lancaster, who had just made a double bogey on No. 16 when play stopped, was 5 over for the tournament when he left. Bowden, who had two double bogeys through 14 holes, stood 8 over. Couch, who began the day with a double bogey, was 7 over through nine holes. Green was 5 over through nine holes. . . .
Three players withdrew after Thursday's first round: Pat Perez (elbow injury), Dan Olsen (illness) and Lee Janzen. Janzen did not provide a reason for his withdrawal, but it might have been his first-round score of 10-over 81. . . .
Charley Hoffman, a Monday qualifier at Little Bennett Golf Club, made his first PGA Tour cut by shooting 69-70 -- 139.