WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — With soft greens and cooler-than-usual temperatures leading to piles of birdies, the Greenbrier field figures to play in attack mode this weekend.
“Yeah, I think it makes you want to be more aggressive,” said Tony Finau, who enters Saturday seven shots off the pace at 6-under.
Webb Simpson, dazzling on Thursday, cooled off with a second-round 67 but couldn’t be too disappointed over a 12-under total that left him one shot back of the leader. Simpson tees off in the penultimate pairing Saturday at 1:45 p.m.
“It’s nice being 12-under, and knowing historically what wins this golf tournament,” he said. “The weather’s going to be good this weekend. So scores will continue to be good.”
Bad bounce for Kim
South Korean Whee Kim has gone 62-68 over the first two days, tying him for fifth place at 10-under.
Friday’s round included a run-in with a sprinkler head on No. 8 after Kim thought he hit a terrific 4-iron off the tee.
“I was thinking just try to land in front off the green, the front edge, and it could roll pretty good to the pin,” he said. “I hit a perfect shot, and then I unexpectedly hit that sprinkler head.”
The shot caromed into the right rough and Kim wound up with a bogey on the par-3.
“It was just unlucky,” he said. “It’s always happening in golf.”
Bubba Watson (-6) followed up Thursday’s 68 with a 4-under 66 to leave himself tied for 24th, some seven shots off the lead.
“My wife had a talking to me last night and said my attitude was terrible, so I had to change it,” he said. “My whole goal today was to get in around top 15 so I could have a chance on the weekend.
“We were close to that. Had to get to 7-under, but all in all, it’s a good two days. You know, I still have a chance to fight and compete and try to win.”
Who missed the cut?
With the cut line at 3 under, Haskins Award winner Norman Xiong (-2) narrowly missed making the weekend in his first pro event. His round ended with six consecutive pars, including two missed birdie putts from inside 10 feet.
Among the other notables who didn’t make the cut were past champions Ted Potter Jr. (-2), Jonas Blixt (-2), Danny Lee (-1) and Stuart Applebee (-1).
Two golfers who were among the tournament favorites, J.B. Holmes (-1) and Jimmy Walker (+5), failed to advance. Crowd favorite John Daly (+4) fired 67 but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome Thursday’s 77.
West Virginia ties
Nine-time West Virginia Open champion David Bradshaw (-1) missed the cut thanks to three back-nine bogeys.
Former Marshall golfers Logan Lagodich (+3) and Davey Jude (+6) also fell short of the weekend.
A second-round 75 ended it for state amateur champion Sam O’Dell (+7), lowlighted by a triple-bogey on the par-3 15th hole.