I’m pretty sure that the 50 top players in the world are glad that there is no cut for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, but if there were, it probably would be around 7 to 8 over par. In fact, it’s been a few years since a round of golf on either tour saw no scores in the 60’s, but that is exactly what happened at the newly designed Trump International Doral Blue Monster golf course on Friday.
The bad news is, the temperatures will be a little cool for South Florida when they tee it up for “Moving Day”, but the good news, the wind will lay down a bit. Miami is expecting early temps to be in the high 50’s early which is low for this time of year, with the high expected to be in the mid 70’s.
The big factor is the wind. It was 18 miles per hour on Friday but gusting over 30 miles per hour at times, and should subside a little on Saturday with the forecast calling for winds 5-10 miles per hour out of the NNE. With a little luck, the PGA will set the course up a little easier for Saturday.
As it turns out, with all of the fire power at Doral, only four golfers will start begin play on Saturday under par. Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, and Hunter Mahan. The best score of the day was a -2 under par carded by Welchman, Jamie Donaldson, and five of the world-class players in the field were in the 80’s.
Luke Donald and Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot 82, Martin Kaymer put up an 80, and many of the field were in the high 70’s. Not only did the wind blow on Friday, but the pins were brutal, and the rough around the firm, fast greens would not keep errant shots out of the new water hazards on the Blue Monster. Dawie van der Walt from South Africa shot 83, and at 20 over par leads only Jason Day who withdrew for problems with his thumb.
“I don’t think I’ve played in conditions this difficult in the U.S.,” said Graeme McDowell, who was one back, along with Francesco Molinari, Rory McIlroy and Jamie Donaldson, after a 71. “It’s an Open Championship day. It’s a real Friday afternoon at St. Andrews in 2010 before they called it. It was hard out there — really, really hard.”
So hard that 113 balls found the water in just the second round alone. That’s one-day total is more than any two rounds combined at Doral since this WGC moved to southern Florida in 2007.
Friday, 24 balls found the wet stuff on just the par-5 eighth, while another 17 splashed down on the par-4 third.
2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth was cruising along at 3 over par, and still within sight of the leaders when he put two in the water at the par 4 14th hole, and put a snowman on his card. Even a birdie at 16 couldn’t keep him from carding a 79.
Graeme McDowell, who was happy to the in the clubhouse with a 0ne under par 71 on his card said in a post round interview that the only thing you could do on Friday, was stay away from the big mistakes, and big numbers. McDowell has a lot of experience playing in these conditions, and I like him as a possible winner on Sunday afternoon.
You can follow Les on Twitter @Spin_47 and in the Golf Community at Google+