Second-Round Notes – Friday, April 14, 2017
Partly cloudy. Light and variable wind with a high of 77.
Graham DeLaet 65-67—132 (-10)
36-Hole Cut: 74 players at 1-under-par 141 from a field of 131 professionals and one amateur.
Graham DeLaet seized the first 36-hole lead/co-lead of his career with a 4-under 67 Friday to post 10-under 132 at the RBC Heritage. Through seven holes, DeLaet was 1-over but got back to even-par at the eighth with a birdie. DeLaet got into red numbers on the next hole by holing a 109-yard wedge shot on the par-4 ninth for eagle and added birdies at Nos. 11 and 12.
Second round at a glance: 10 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 29 putts, 2 of 3 scrambling.
DeLaet is making his 160th start on the PGA TOUR this week but remains in search of his first victory. The 35-year-old Canadian has 29 career top-10s including three runner-ups.
Although Harbour Town has long been one of DeLaet’s favorite courses on TOUR, his record has failed to match that affection with only three made cuts. DeLaet’s best finish in five previous starts at the Pete Dye design came a year ago with a T14.
In 11 starts on TOUR this season, DeLaet has posted three top-10s and seven made cuts. DeLaet sits No. 72 in the FedExCup standings.
Luke Donald chipped in at the last to tie DeLaet for the 36-hole lead at 10-under 132. Donald’s 4-under 67 was his 13th consecutive round of par or better at the RBC Heritage. Donald owns a remarkable six top-3 finishes in his last eight starts (11 overall) at Harbour Town Golf Links (T2-2016, 2nd-2014, T3-2013, 2nd-2011, T3-2010, T2-2009).
Second round at a glance: 7 of 14 fairways, 11 of 18 greens, 25 putts, 6 of 7 scrambling
Donald, a five-time TOUR winner, has held the 36-hole lead/co-lead eight previous times in his career but has never converted it into a victory. The last time Donald held the lead or a share after two rounds was at the 2011 RBC Heritage, where he fell in a playoff to Brandt Snedeker.
31 of Donald’s last 33 rounds at Harbour Town have been even-par or better.
Since 1934 (official PGA TOUR events), Donald is one of 14 players to finish runner-up in an event four times. Only five players have more runner-up finishes in an event during that span: Jack Nicklaus (7, RBC Canadian Open), Phil Mickelson (6, U.S. Open), Payne Stewart (5, The Honda Classic), Jack Nicklaus (5, Ford Championship at Doral), Greg Norman (5, BMW Championship).
Donald owns five PGA TOUR victories (2012 Valspar Championship, 2011 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, 2006 The Honda Classic, 2002 Sanderson Farms Championship).
Donald has held three 54-hole leads at the event (2016, 2014, 2011) but failed to convert any into victory.
Ian Poulter is in a tie for third at 8-under 134 after a second round 68 that included five birdies and two bogeys. Poulter, who is playing on a major medical exemption, has this week and one more start to collect $144,669 or 117.75 FedExCup points to satisfy the requirements of his medical exemption and secure his status for the remainder of the season.
Since returning from a foot injury in October, Poulter’s made eight starts on TOUR with five made cuts and a season-best T17 at the CIMB Classic.
The two-time TOUR winner is making his seventh start at the RBC Heritage, where he’s never missed the cut but has never finished inside the top 10. His best finish at Harbour Town came in 2015 (T18).
Following a front-nine 3-under 33, Webb Simpson posted nine straight pars on the back nine to sign for a 3-under 68. Simpson’s 8-under 134 is two shots back of the co-leaders. The four-time TOUR winner is looking for his first win since the 2013 Shriners Hospital’s for Children Open.
Simpson nearly won this season’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, falling in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama. Although Simpson has made nine cuts in 13 starts this season, the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon has failed to finish inside the top 10 outside of the playoff defeat in Phoenix.
The Charlotte, N.C. resident has made the cut in six of seven previous starts at the RBC Heritage. His best finish in Hilton Head came in a runner-up effort at the 2013 edition, where Graeme McDowell defeated him on the first playoff hole with a par.
Second-Round Leader Notes
A year ago, eventual champion Branden Grace shot a 2-over 74 in the second round and was four shots back in T21 entering the weekend.
The last six winners of the RBC Heritage have trailed by at least two shots after 36 holes. The last 36-hole leader/co-leader to convert the lead into victory was Jim Furyk in 2010.
Team RBC Leaderboard
In 2015, Jim Furyk became the third consecutive RBC Golf Ambassador to win the RBC Heritage (2013/Graeme McDowell and 2014/Matt Kuchar).
RBC began sponsoring the RBC Heritage in 2012. In the two years preceding their sponsorship, current RBC Ambassadors Furyk (2010) and Brandt Snedeker (2011) won in Hilton Head. To further enhance the connection, Carl Pettersson, who won the RBC Heritage in 2012, also won the RBC Canadian Open in 2010.
Additional Player Notes
Aiken, S.C. native Kevin Kisner fired the round of the day with a 7-under 64 that included no bogeys to get to within four shots of the lead entering the weekend at 6-under 136.
Nick Taylor, who celebrated his 29th birthday Friday, posted a 5-under 66 to get to within three shots of the 36-hole lead at 7-under 135. Taylor is looking for his second career TOUR victory. Taylor’s first victory came at the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship.
First-round leader Bud Cauley followed up his 8-under 63 with a 1-over 72 and is in T5 at 7-under 135.
Two-time RBC Heritage champion Jim Furyk missed the cut in his 18th start at the RBC Heritage, where he owns eight top-10 finishes. Furyk opened Thursday with a 3-under 68 but followed it up with a 3-over 74 to miss the cut by a shot at even-par 142.
After a missed cut at The Masters Tournament last week, this is the first time Furyk has missed back-to-back cuts since July of 2011 when he missed four in a row.
Defending champion Branden Grace made the cut with rounds of 71-68. No defending champion who has teed it up the year following his win has missed the cut at the RBC Heritage since Davis Love III in 1993. Grace is attempting to join Payne Stewart (1989-90), Davis Love III (1991-92) & Boo Weekley (2007-08) as the only back-to-back winners at the RBC Heritage.
Since the RBC Heritage moved into its slot after the Masters in 1983, just six players have won the event without having competed in the Masters the week before: Carl Pettersson (2012), Brian Gay (2009), Boo Weekley (2007), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Bob Tway (1995) and Davis Love III (1987).
1-under 141 is the lowest 36-hole cut in the 49-year history of the tournament.
11 first-time winners on the PGA TOUR have come at the RBC Heritage: Hale Irwin (1971), Graham Marsh (1977), Doug Tewell (1980), Nick Faldo (1984), Davis Love III (1987), Glen Day (1999), Jose Coceres (2001), Peter Lonard (2005), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Boo Weekley (2007) and Branden Grace (2016).
Multiple winners of the RBC Heritage: Davis Love III (5), Hale Irwin (3), Johnny Miller (2), Hubert Green (2), Tom Watson (2), Fuzzy Zoeller (2), Payne Stewart (2), Stewart Cink (2), Boo Weekley (2), Jim Furyk (2).
R1 – Bud Cauley (63), Graham DeLaet (65), Ben Crane (66), Sam Saunders (66), Russell Henley (66), Martin Laird (69), Nick Taylor (69), Steven Bowditch (71)
R2 – Kevin Kisner (64), Wesley Bryan (67), Fabian Gomez (67), Brandt Snedeker (68), Martin Kaymer (69)
R1: Morning scoring average (70.47) vs. afternoon scoring average (70.18).
R2: Morning scoring average (70.44) vs afternoon scoring average (70.78).