Date: August 23, 2008

Aussies a long way off

Stuart Appleby, John Senden and Matthew Goggin lead a lethargic Australian tilt after two rounds at The Barclays. The trio are all in a tie for 36th spot on one-under-par – nine strokes adrift of defending champion Steve Stricker (10-under) who grabbed the outright lead after reeling in first-round leader Hunter Mahan. Another cluster of Aussies are a stroke further back with Steve Elkington, Robert Allenby and Jason Day all on even-par in a share of 44th position. Meanwhile, Nathan Green, Aaron Baddeley, Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling, Peter Lonard, Matt Jones, Nick O&aposHern and Adam Scott all missed the cut on what was a disastrous day for the Australian contingent. Mahan had laid down his marker for the first of four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments by blasting a nine-under-par opening round at the 7319-yard Ridgewood Country Club course in New Jersey, four shots better than second-placed Paul Casey of England. Stricker started the day a further two shots adrift in a tie for eighth place but proved eager for the chase. The American, who won the 2007 event at Westchester Country Club, holed a birdie at the par-three second hole and then eagled the par-five third, chipping in from 67 yards. Stricker then closed to within two shots of Mahan with a birdie at the fifth hole to reach the turn in 31, four-under for his round. He added another birdie at the 11th and drew level with the leader at the 13th with his fourth birdie of the day. The outright lead became his with a birdie two at the 15th to move to 10-under on the way to a seven-under-par 64 before Mahan had even begun his round. The low scoring has been a surprise given the pre-tournament predictions of tight fairways, punitive rough and small greens. “It is a good course. You&aposve got to do a lot of good things,” Stricker said. “The greens are tough. But I didn&apost think the scoring was going to be this low. And when Hunter goes out and shoots that nine-under round, it shows you that it is capable and it is out there.” Mahan failed to build on his dominant position as conditions toughened in the afternoon and fell to seven-under, three shots adrift with a two-over-par second-round 73. “Putts,” said Mahan when asked the difference between his two rounds, although he also acknowledged the condition of the course at different times of the day. “No question,” he added. “Especially Thursday morning (US time) to Friday afternoon, it&aposs a different golf course. The greens are definitely bouncy and firmer and definitely played tougher.” American Dudley Hart and Angel Cabrera of Argentina finished their second rounds on six-under for the tournament after producing scores of 69 and 67 respectively while Kenny Perry, FedEx Cup points leader in Tiger Woods&apos absence, joined them after also carding a 67. Anthony Kim quickly got over an opening day he described as &aposone of the toughest rounds I&aposve ever played&apos to move to six-under after 14 holes before eventually finishing five-under at the halfway mark. Kim, a two-time winner in just his second year on the PGA Tour and an automatic qualifier for the US Ryder Cup team, had been stung by a bee and suffered an adverse reaction to medication during his opening round of 70. Kim provided the bite on Friday with five birdies, his only blemish coming at the par-three eighth, his 17th of the day, which he bogeyed for a second-round 67. Sergio Garcia also shot a four-under-par 67 to send the Spaniard to five-under at the halfway stage. Starting on the 10th tee, the US PGA Championship runner-up bounced back from a bogey at his second hole with birdies at the third, fourth, eighth and ninth to reach the turn in 33, four-under for the tournament. He bogeyed his 10th hole but moved to five-under with birdies on his 13th and 16th holes. Also on five-under was Kevin Streelman, who improved his overnight score by a shot. Casey was disappointed to finish bogey, bogey having started at the 10th tee, leaving him back where he started at five-under and ruing a tough afternoon spent on drying, quickening greens. “The golf course, certainly in the last nine holes, I felt was very crispy, greens especially,” Casey said. “The sixth green was toasty. I mean, it&aposs glazed and very difficult to get the ball rolling consistently on those greens.” “But it&aposs the same for everybody. I found the golf course Thursday morning was perfect and Steve Stricker has obviously found the same sort of set-up.” “The afternoon is a different kettle of fish. It&aposs tricky.” It was certainly tricky for Open and US PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington, who at three-over-par and after a second round of 73 comprising four birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey, missed a cut which fell at two-over – his first missed weekend since The Players Championship in May. Second Round of The Barclays (Par 71) -10: Steve Stricker 68 64 -7: Hunter Mahan 62 73 -6: Dudley Hart 67 69, Angel Cabrera 69 67, Kenny Perry 69 67 -5: Sergio Garcia 70 67, Anthony Kim 70 67, Kevin Streelman 67 70, Paul Casey 66 71 -4: Bubba Watson 68 70, Ryan Palmer 69 69, George McNeil 68 70, Charley Hoffman 67 71 -3: Patrick Sheehan 69 70, Mike Weir 72 67, Ben Curtis 71 68, Tim Clark 70 69, Kevin Sutherland 70 69, Bill Haas 71 68, Martin Laird 71 68 Also: -1: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 71 70, John Senden (Australia) 71 70, Matthew Goggin (Australia) 67 74 E: Steve Elkington (Australia) 71 71, Robert Allenby (Australia) 69 73, Jason Day (Australia) 74 68 +2: Nathan Green (Australia) 77 67, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 69 75 +3: Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 72 73 +5: Rod Pampling (Australia) 71 76 +6: Peter Lonard (Australia) 73 75 +7: Matt Jones (Australia) 77 72, Nick O Hern (Australia) 72 77 +8: Adam Scott (Australia) 68 82 +10: Tim Wilkinson (New Zealand) 76 76