US PGA Championship - Dufner and Bradley lead US PGA

Sat, 13 Aug 02:05:00 2011

Unheralded Americans Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley held the joint lead at the end of the second round of the US PGA Championship but the battle for the final Major of the year remains wide open.

US PGA Championship - Dufner and Bradley lead

Eight players were within two shots of the lead but there were few big names among them - Tiger Woods missed the cut along with Open champion Darren Clarke and 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell.

Instead the 34-year-old D.A Points and 40-year-old Australian John Senden - both with just one US PGA Tour win each - were among a quartet of players a stroke behind the leaders.

Jim Furyk, the 2003 US Open winner and the experienced Scott Verplank, who has seven US PGA Tour wins to his name, were also just a shot back on a leaderboard that few would have predicted but which did not surprise the frontrunners.

"There are tons and tons of guys that can play golf out here," said Dufner.

"The (television) networks and the media focus on big names for a reason, that's who people want to see, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, but there are other guys that can really, really play golf out here, who are really good and who you have never heard of," he added.

Loitering with intent, however, are the better known Australian Adam Scott, who shared the lead briefly before suffering a bogey on the 14th and a double-bogey on the difficult final hole, and Britain's Lee Westwood, whose 68 kept alive his hope of his first triumph in a Major.

"I'm sort of cruising into position," said Westwood, "71 yesterday was by no means out of it, and then I wanted to shoot something in the 60s today, hopefully to try to get into the red and be in good position for tomorrow."

Scott, winner last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, believes there is every chance of making up the distance.

"With great golf, you can make up a few shots here," he said.

"I'm pretty sure that the guys who are leading and playing well, they also think they can make some more birdies but with good golf you can make up shots".

Overnight leader Steve Stricker's four early bogeys undid much of the good work from his sizzling opening round of 63 but he was still only two strokes off the lead.

There was plenty of drama, though, from two of the sport's top attractions - Woods and US Open winner Rory McIlroy.

Woods, a four-time US PGA Championship winner, shot a three-over 73 to leave him at 10 over for the tournament and heading home early for the first time in this event.

He double-bogeyed the par-four 11th after chipping from a bunker, over the green, into water and suffered another double on the 12th.

Woods ended his round going from sand to water as he bogeyed the 18th and left the course looking tired and dejected after just his second event back after a three month injury lay-off.

"I showed signs that I can hit the ball exactly how I know I can. Unfortunately I just didn't do it enough times," said Woods who remains without a win since 2009.

Woods recorded five double-bogeys in a tournament for the first time in his career and he has plenty of work to do before he returns, according to his schedule at least, at the Australian Open in November.

The attention in the early part of the day was on McIlroy, playing with a bandaged forearm, as he struggled to a three-over-par 73 that left him well behind the leading pack.

The Northern Irishman hurt his wrist on the third hole Thursday and played through pain to finish at even par with his further participation in the tournament in doubt.

However, McIlroy looked more comfortable as he dealt with the challenging Highland course at Atlanta Athletic Club on Friday.

"It was probably tougher mentally more than anything else, trying to get it out of your mind," said McIlroy after a round of three birdies, three bogeys and a triple-bogey on the 17th.

Defending champion Martin Kaymer of Germany finished at five over and missed the cut, along with Australian Jason Day, who after being on the fringe of contention fell apart on his back nine.

Americans J.B. Holmes (illness) and Rocco Mediate (injury) withdrew from the tournament Friday, along with South African Retief Goosen (illness).

Reuters

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