FRIDAY, June 18
Is it really mid-June? And why is everyone wearing layers?
When the marine layer moves in, it gets cold quick in the Del Monte Forest. And Hudson Swafford's caddie, Cory Guzzo, literally had his teeth chattering on the practice range. Looking back as we talked about it, Swafford quipped in Boo Weekley-esque fashion:
"The only time I'm this cold is when I'm in a deer stand [hunting, that is]"
Swafford seemed to be doing a great job of shrugging off his double-quad finish Thursday and his ball striking is, well, pure. (You could put a level on his divot pattern and it wouldn't waiver from horizontal.)
"I've caddied for him for three or four years and it's as good as I've seen him hit it," said Guzzo.
Swafford did, indeed shrug off the empotional roller coster of his "what might have been" opening round
and was a very respectable 1-over on the day Friday, 6-over for the tournament heading into No. 18 and just needing a bogey to make the cut. Alas, lightning struck again and Swafford made double on No. 18 to miss the cut by one. The tournament should be considered nothing but a success for Swafford.
On Friday, Georgia Coach Chris Haack almost couldn't stand the excitement of having two of his current players in back to back pairings. There was lots to watch and he did his best to run between groups, wearing a distinctive suede cowboy hat. "I've got many of my former players out on Tour but to have two current players out here is as good as it gets."
* * *
Scott Langley of Missouri was relaxed preparing for his 8:50am tee time, sitting at 3-over with an excellent chance to play over the weekend. His brother Nick, 3 years younger and about 4 inches taller, isn't caddying for him in the tournament, but did get to carry during a magical day on Wednesday in a practice round pairing with none other than the ever-popular Tom Watson.
"That was pretty cool, said [Nick] Langley. Watson would chip in, and the crowd would go crazy. My brother would chip in, and nothing."
Langley's caddie is a pro at the Patriot Club in Tulsa named Will Dierenzo. Dierenzo is three years older, and the two played one year of high school golf together. Langley fired a 69, just 3 strokes off the low round of the tournament posted by Phil Mickelson. The highlight of the day? A high, lofting 5-iron on No. 17 that hit the front of the green, touched the fringe and then turned left - taking a look at the cup before settling to kick in range. Since the players can't see the final result from the tee they get their answer from the crowd in the right hand bleachers, and the roar they let out for the University of Illinois rising Senior were the best I heard all week. It made foa a nice "long walk with the putter in the hand" for Langley, who just missed a 5 foot putt for 68 on No. 18.
Russell Henley, the leading amateur after Thursday's 73 looked as chilled and laid back playing as when he was doing the "live chat" with Golfweek on Wednesday. He posted 74 on Friday to make the cut at 74. During the live chat, Henley said the best part of his game was putting. But watching him drive the ball, with a low, controlled fade as his "go to" shot, would have even the casual observer wondering if driving wasn't a close second.
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