Brutal Kiawah bares its teeth

8/10/2012 6:17:33 PM
Dark, windy and stormy conditions were the order of the day during the second round  (Getty Images)
Dark, windy and stormy conditions were the order of the day during the second round (Getty Images)

While the first morning of the 94th US PGA Championship saw limp flags and wall-to-wall sunshine, conditions were somewhat different for the second round as winds up to 30 miles per hour rocked Kiawah Island.

And with PGA of America forecasters predicting a strong probability of electrical storms as Friday progressed, the 156-man field knew they could be in for some tricky and testing Major mayhem during their second 18 holes on the already-monstrously long Ocean Course.

Playing amongst the early starters on Friday, the legendary Fijian Vijay Singh exhibited all his experience to negotiate the brutal weather and reach the turn three under par for the day – a phenomenal score in the circumstances.

Despite bogeys at the tenth and 14th, the former World Number One bounced back with birdies at 13 and 16 to take a clubhouse lead at four under par as the afternoon groups headed out.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who gained global recognition for his impressive victory at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush six weeks ago, was placed next best as the day drew on, finishing just one over par for the day despite consecutive bogeys at the testing 238-yard par three 14th and 15th.

At three under par for the tournament, the 36 year old could see his leaderboard position boosted significantly with the weather not set to yield throughout Friday afternoon.

Tied for second overnight after a superb five under par 67 on Thursday, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño was one to fall victim to the high winds on the South Carolina island on Friday morning, eventually signing for a six over par following a rollercoaster round that included two birdies but six bogeys and a double at the par four sixth.

“It’s playing very tough in this wind,” said Castaño. “On the tenth, we start the first four holes playing into the wind which is never a good thing whereas if you start at the first at least you get the first four holes a little bit downwind.  So that didn't help me much.
 
“Six over par is not the way I wanted to play today, especially finishing with plus four on the last four holes.”

Proof – as if it was necessary – of how much more of a test the Ocean Course was on Friday compared to the first round was evident in the average scores across the first two days on Kiawah Island, with the first round average score of 73.33 bettered by almost four shots on day two with 77.13, or just a shade more than five over par.