SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – In the end, Rob Labritz couldn’t will the ball into the hole.
The director of golf at GlenArbor struggled again to make putts on Friday, shooting a 6-over 76. He was on the way back to Pound Ridge a short time later. The 45-year-old missed the cut, finishing the PGA Championship at Baltusrol with a 7-over total of 147.
“I putted terribly,” Labritz said. “That was the whole problem. I made one birdie in 36 holes. I hit the ball fine and had plenty of chances to make enough putts and play on the weekend, but my speeds were off and my confidence went down.
“These greens are tough. They have a lot of little nuances. It’s not that I wasn’t comfortable. My speed was off. I left a lot of putts short in the heart and drilled a few by. When your speed isn’t right, your line doesn’t match.”
Brian Gaffney also had a difficult time making up ground.
The head professional at Quaker Ridge shot a 3-over 73 on The Lower Course in Round 2, finishing the championship with a 7-over total of 147.
“I again didn’t hit the ball particularly well and then I figured out how to manage the slice I was trying to play, not very well, but I thought if I could birdie 17 and 18, maybe I would have a chance.”
The cut line was 1-over.
“I had birdie putts on 14, 15, 16 and 17,” Gaffney added. “When I didn’t make birdie on 17, that was a deflating miss and then I went for it in two on 18. It went right and was in an impossible lie to get it out of the bunker. I wasn’t even trying to get it near the flag. I was just trying to get on the green. I got it up in the air, but not quite to the top and it rolled all the way back down. That stings a little bit, but the whole experience was really good.”
The only disappointment for the 45-year-old New Jersey native was not putting on a better show for his personal gallery.
“It’s just sort of strange that they’re hooting and hollering and it’s just me, but it’s really great,” Gaffney said. “I’m thankful for that. It would have been more exciting to give them something to cheer on, but yesterday I did the best I could with what I had and today I think I got a lot out of how unsure I was standing over the ball. I learned some really positive things from this week and if I can clean up my game, I think I can do it again, I know I can.”
Talking about the weather: Heavy rains early in the day forced a 41-minute rain delay and tournament officials had the players hold in place. The Lower Course took on 1.1 inches of water.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to understand some decisions, but you can’t change it as a player,” said Martin Kaymer, who bogeyed two of his first three holes before taking advantage of the conditions later in the round and getting to 5-under with a second-round 69. “It’s something you think about, why they did that, because there’s plenty of daylight today. I think we could have all started at 9 o’clock or so and we would have been all fine.”
Labritz also went off early, and was not particularly enthused.
“We teed off at 7:10 and it was a deluge,” he said. “There was casual water on the tee boxes, casual water on the fairways, casual water on the greens. We had to have a couple of tee boxes squeegeed. I’m surprised we were out there playing. It was raining really, really hard. That was a little disappointing, but the early groups had to play in it and that’s hard. It kind of throws you into a tizzy.”
Oops: Colt Knost, Joe Summerhays and Yuta Ikeda received a post-round apology from PGA Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haigh after officials noticed a mistake on the hole location sheet issued to the first group of the day. It showed the pin on the left side of the green. The hole was erroneously cut five paces from the right edge and the sheets were not corrected until after the initial threesome had hit approach shots. Each of the players made par.
Leaving the premises: Dustin Johnson followed up horrible opening round with a 72 on Friday to finish the championship with a 9-over total of 149, snapping the longest active streak of made cuts on Tour at 25 in a row. … Sergio Garcia finished in the top five at the U.S. Open and British Open, but he made four bogeys and no birdies on Friday, posting a 74 and finishing with a 5-over total of 145. … Rory McIlroy did not find a cure for a balky putting stroke despite logging hours and hours on the practice green after Round 1. He was 1-under on Friday and exited with a 3-over total of 143.
Quotable: “I think if you give anyone else my tee shots this week, they’re up near the top of the leaderboard,” McIlroy said. “It shows you how bad I’ve been around the greens. I’ve hit the ball really well this week and I’m walking away not playing the weekend. That’s really disheartening.”
By the numbers: Phil Mickelson took a triple-bogey 7 on the first hole when he pushed his drive left and off the golf course. He got all three shots back, signed for a 70 and sits at 1-over 141. ”I don’t even know what to say,” Mickelson said. “It was just a total mental block. … It was horrific.” … The scoring average in Round 2 was 70.67, a full stroke better than Round 1.