By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Bubba Watson was a little lethargic when he arrived at TPC River Highlands for his second round tee time. He was scheduled to start at 7:50 and described his body rhythm as, “…sluggish, stiff and sleepy.” It took him a little while to get into the flow of the round but Watson banged his driver a couple times and appeared revived. He leads the tournament, averaging 327 yards per drive and is T2 in proximity to the cup, hitting it an average of 25 feet, 5 inches. Watson says TPC River Highlands suits his eye off the tee.
Putting: Padraig Harrington has revitalized his putting stroke. He has used a standard length putter this year and has worn glasses while putting. This week, Harrington is using the belly putter and is not wearing glasses on the greens. He has found a workable combination. Harrington first started using the longer putter in May with mixed results but is second this week in strokes gained-putting. He had made 257 feet, 11 inches of putts the first two days including a 32-footer in the second round and a 51-footer in the first. Harrington had eight one-putt on Friday. He says he’s had trouble seeing the correct line this year but finally feels good with his setup.
Weather: The golf course changed dramatically in the last 48 hours. With two inches of rain on Tuesday, TPC River Highlands was soft for much of the opening round. That was altered on Friday when winds in excess of 10 miles per hour swept moisture off the course. The greens were still receptive but wedges did not spin as much and golfers adjusted their games. With dry weather predicted for the remainder of the week, the course will continue to get firmer as play continues.
Long distance: John Merrick has taken 32 and 31 putts in two rounds but he has also made some long distance bombs. He poured home a 36-footer on the 17th hole and followed that with a 47-footer on the 18th. That’s 83 feet in putts on two holes. It’s considered a good day when a player makes 90 feet of putts in the round.
Charades: There was some strange sign language as players exited the eighth green, late in the second round. Margo McMillin, the wife of Stephen Ames’ caddie, was gesticulating like a game of charades. She held her index finger up in the air, then pointed it downward and began flapping her arms like a bird. The translation: The cut is one under and you need to make a birdie. Ames was oblivious to the gestures but responded nicely. He hit his approach to nine feet and made birdie to finish 36 holes at one under. The cut line later moved to even, but Ames was safe for the weekend.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.