Valdosta Daily Times

April 27, 2013

Daly struggles, barely makes cut

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — John Daly will be playing this weekend, but he barely made it.

Daly sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to move to even par for the tournament, the cut line for the seventh annual South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank and Trust Company.

When he sank the putt the large crowd gathered in the sky boxes and standing around the 18th green gave a big uproar for the two-time major champion, yelling encouragement for the upcoming weekend rounds.

Regardless of the cheers and his birdie putt on No. 18, Daly wasn’t pleased with his second round that was filled with struggles that eventually led to him snapping his driver in half across his leg following an errant tee shot on the par-5 13th.

“It was a bad day,” Daly said. “I just struck the ball really poor today.

“I drove the ball bad and I didn’t hit my irons very good again. It was just a grind out day.”

Daly finished his second round with a 2-over 74, making him even par for the tournament and in a tie for 51st.

Heading into the weekend, Daly won’t be in contention for the win and he knows that is the case. Instead, he wants to work on his game and find out what has his game struggling on certain holes.

“That is all you can do,” Daly said. “The irons are going dead left and my driver is going everywhere. But the only good thing is that I’m putting really good. My putter kind of kept me in both days.”

Daly’s round started with four straight pars before he birdied the par-5 fifth, moving him to two-under par for the tournament.

Then, he had back-to-back pars before his round started to fall apart.

Daly triple bogeyed the par-3 eighth, a major setback for what looked to be a promising run towards the top of the leaderboard.

On the hole, everything just went wrong in Daly’s eyes.

“I short-sided myself on the left and had a bad chip,” he remembered. “Then I hit a bad putt and hit another bad putt and tried to tap it in and screwed that up too. I just made a six.”

Like the two-time major champion that he is, Daly immediately bounced back and birdied the par-4 ninth, despite landing his tee shot in the trap on the left side.

“It always seems like one hole and I grinded it out and made a great birdie,” Daly said. “I hit it into the left bunker and hit an 8-iron up there to about 25 feet and hit the putt. It kind of got me going again….The putter has just really saved me so far.”

The back nine wasn’t friendly to Daly. He parred Nos. 10 and 11 before posting back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13, moving him to 3-over par on the round and 1-over par on the tournament, above the cut line.

“I just had a bad break off the tee and ended up near a bush and just tried to chip it and it went dead left in the hazard,” Daly said, of No. 12. “I made a great bogey. And on No. 13 I left my third shot just short, hit a bad chip and missed about a 10-footer for par.”

Needing to gain a stroke back, Daly was unable to birdie the final five holes. He made par on the first four before landing his putt in from 12 feet on the 18th.

“It has been a bad stretch of like four or five weeks of missed cuts for me,” Daly said.

“So it was a big putt to at least just play on the weekend and try to figure out what the hell is going on. And the best way to do that is just to play competitive.”