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January 8 2013

12:19 AM

Observations from Monday at Kapalua


Steve Stricker celebrates with his caddie after holing out for eagle on No. 18. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM

KAPALUA, Maui -- The PGA TOUR got very fortunate to complete 36 holes on Monday. Both the golf course and the wind were right on the edge for most of the day. Just as the second round began, two golf balls moved on the greens during wind gusts. TOUR officials were ready to halt play but the winds subsided just enough for the tournament to continue. A brief morning rain injected just enough moisture into the greens, which rolled out at 8.6 in the stimpmeter.  The course, the wind, the rain and the green speed were all just marginal enough for competition to continue.

Winds: Just because 36 holes were completed and just because Dustin Johnson is 11 under, don’t think Monday was an easy day of golf. The wind blew between 20-25 miles an hour and gusts hovered in the upper 30s. The conditions allowed for some strange yardages. Johnson hit a couple 9 irons 100 yards into the wind and hit one sand wedge 160 yards that he described as, “not quite a full wedge but close.”

Nerves: It was far from a walk in the park for Steve Stricker. It was more like a long limp home. Stricker walked 36 holes with a nerve problem in his upper thigh that shot pain down into his leg. He was in obvious discomfort and would lie down in the fairway between shots to stretch. He was able to shoot 6-under 67 in the second round by putting well. Stricker took just 26 putts. He said the nerve issue started in December and cautioned officials he might withdraw at the start of the opening round. There is nothing like shooting 6 under to alleviate some of the pain.

Driving: Dustin Johnson put a new TaylorMade driver into his bag and leads the tournament in driving distance at 307.6 yards. He attacked the Plantation Course even in the high winds with phenomenal drives. Johnson putted for eagle on four different occasions on the back nine alone, shooting 5 under on the quartet of holes. The distance off the tee also enabled him to hit 33 of 36 greens despite finding just 15 of 30 fairways.

Conflict: Amanda Dufner faced a decision. Would she watch her husband Jason play his second round of golf or would she sneak off to the clubhouse to watch football? Her alma mater won. Amanda is a University of Alabama graduate and she enjoyed the National Championship game and outcome. Roll Tide.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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