Team Golf XYZ
Detroit, Michigan, July 4: Arjun Atwal missed a bunch of small putts yet again, but still ensured that he would be around for the weekend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The 47-year-old, who is the only Indian to taste a win on the PGA Tour, shot three-under 69, including a hole-out from the fairway for an eagle in the second round. He is now Tied-55that five-under 139, which is also the cut mark for the week.
Webb Simpson and Chris Kirk, who won in the same week, but on different Tours a fortnight ago, are now sharing the lead at 12 under.
While Simpson won the RBC Heritage on Sunday before last, Kirk completed a great comeback with a win in a Saturday finish at the King and Bear Classic on Korn Ferry Tour.
Atwal, who admitted missing many small putts, also said, “I swung the club terrible these last two days so I’ll take 5-under. Also I found something on the range after today’s (second) round, so I should be good to go on the weekend.”
Atwal, whose short game was one of his strengths, laughed and added, “It feels weird without fans. I feed off them, but I better get used to keeping in mind that many are following us on the net and TV.”
Yet, he was appreciative of the protocols. “It is the way these days and these (PGA Tour officials) guys are doing great.”
As for the putting, he added, “I know I am leaving a lot of shots out there with missed putts from short distances, but I have also holed some long ones and the chip-in plus the hole out. Maybe it evens out, but would be nice to see those small ones fall in. I am looking forward to the weekend.”
Atwal hit 10 of the 18 greens, made a few long putts, but also missed a few very short ones. The shot of the day was clearly the second on the Par-4 12th, his third hole of the day. His perfect 9-Iron shot landed straight into the hole from 157 yards on the fairway for the eagle. “That was cool,” said Atwal of the shot. A day earlier he holed out from a bunker from almost 40 yards for a birdie.
On Par-3 15th, he missed from inside seven feet for birdie but on Par-4 16th, he sank a 25-footer for birdie. But again on 18th, he two-putted from 12 feet for a bogey and then missed a four-footer for par and dropped to one-under for the day and three-under for the week.
A tidy 10-footer on third earned him a birdie to get to 2-under but on Par-4 sixth, he missed a birdie from eight feet. A two-putt from 33 feet on seventh fetched him another birdie and he closed with two pars for a 69 and found him at five-under for the week, which was the cut-off.
A year ago, Kirk had taken leave from the PGA Tour to address alcohol abuse and has now turned his life and career around.
Meanwhile Bryson DeChambeau, the only player with Top-10s in each of the three starts on ‘Return to Golf’, Matthew Wolff, Seamus Power, Richey Were ski, Ryan Armour, and Mark Hubbard are tied for third at 11 under. Overnight co-leader Kevin Kisner and Sapp Strake are tied for 9th at 10 under.
Defending champion Nate Lashley missed the cut by a stroke and so did Jason Day, while Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson were two shots from making the cut.