PGA TOUR Release19 April 2019: Matt Kuchar was planning to trade his golf clubs for a couch and a remote control on Friday afternoon. Ian Poulter had a similarly “chill” agenda now that he was safely past the midway point of the RBC Heritage. Shane Lowry was 3-under through 16 holes, with a one-stroke advantage over Trey Mullinax at 9-under with two more holes to complete his second round.
With scores of 72-74, Anirban Lahiri is at 4-over through 36 holes. The projected cut is even par as it stands.
The two were among the lucky souls who completed 18 holes before the horn sounded to suspend play as a band of strong thunderstorms was converged on Harbour Town Golf Links. That is, if you consider playing in swirling, gusting, blow-your-visor-off 30 mph winds lucky.
“Certainly, glad that I came in with a decent number,” said Kuchar, who shot his second-straight 69. “… It’s one of those struggling days where you have gone through your own struggles and (it’s) fun to watch your friends go through it, as well.”
Play was suspended at 12:48 p.m. ET. Eight groups in the morning wave were stranded on the course and 10 in the afternoon segment had yet to even tee off. Play didn’t resume again until 4:30 p.m.
Shane Lowry, the overnight leader, birdied his first two holes before the suspension and was 9 under with two holes left when play was called for the night. He was one ahead of Trey Mulllinax and two up on Dustin Johnson and Emiliano Grillo, who both battled to 67s in the challenging morning wave.
Poulter also shot 67 and was in what turned out to be a big tie at 5 under at the end of the stop-and-start day.
“I’ve done my bit and now I can relax,” Poulter said.
Grillo had the shot of the day – and likely the week – when he made an albatross on the fifth hole. He used a hybrid from 254-yards for the rarest of shots, making the second one of his career.
“It was perfect,” Grillo said. “It was perfect distance. Perfect wind. It went in, I think, perfectly. It was one of those that I’ll keep in my memory for a long time.”
The albatross fueled a 31 on the front, his second nine of the day, that more than compensated for consecutive bogeys to start the day and moved him to 7 under. The 26-year-old finished with a flourish, too, holing a 22-footer from off the green for his third birdie of the difficult day.
“It was very tough,” Grillo said. “It’s very tricky, because there’s so many holes you’re playing through the trees that you feel like the wind is into you or it’s downwind. The wind feels coming from different places and sometimes it’s not as strong through the trees. It’s very difficult judging it.
”Poulter, who made six birdies and two bogeys on Friday, agreed.
“These are the smallest green complexes we have all year, and when you have a wind that’s 25 mile an hour, and if it drops, it’s easy to miss these greens,” he said. “Easy to get in a lot of trouble. So, you’ve just got to be patient, take your time, know you’re not going to hit a lot of greens in regulation.”
Poulter hit 10 and wielded a steady putter, needing just 26 strokes on the green. He came to Harbour Town, where he shared seventh last year, off a solid Masters performance with a tie for 12th.
“I’ve had some decent rounds around this place,” Poulter says. “I haven’t really finished the week off properly yet. I feel this is a good golf course. It’s nice to get here after Augusta, to get a little relaxation in. Last week was very tiring. This golf course is one I’ve played many times and I enjoy it.”