Round 2 on Friday consisted of hitting 3 total golf shots in the rain before being called in for a four hour weather delay. The delay ran us out of daylight so we would have to come back at 7AM Saturday to conclude the second round and quickly start the third round. I remember saying this could be a blessing in disguise because of the way things were going the past week and in his opening round 76.
When 7AM came around we started with an 18-20 ft birdie putt that was the final shot the day previous. Coming out we knew birdies had to be made and this was a great opportunity to get one back.
When the restart horn went off we were unable to make that putt. It’s tough to walk off a par 5 making par, especially when most of the field is making birdie, but sometimes what can you do? Two holes later on the most difficult par 3 on the course, Ryan hit a perfect 5 iron from 215 yards to about 4 feet. The putt was straightforward and right in the center. It was a nice feeling to get that first birdie out of the way. Two holes later Ryan made another short birdie putt to finally feel like there was some momentum on his side.
The funny thing about momentum is it can leave as quick as it comes. That was exactly what happened on the next hole as Ryan three putted from above a tricky pin position. It’s tough to make up shots on the field let alone give one back with the putter. It stings because of the position we were in, but as I always try to say all you can do is move on to the next shot and execute as best as you can.
Two more pars on 16 &17 got us to the par 5 -18th hole (our 9th of the day). This in my opinion is a bit of goofy par 5 that really favors someone who hits it high and long. We opted to hit 4 iron, 5 iron, wedge to get in position for birdie. On the green Ryan converted a double breaking 20 footer for birdie. Making the turn under at 2 under par for the round was a good feeling and definitely felt like something good could happen.
A good drive and a wedge to about 15 feet yielded a second straight birdie. This definitely put us in the spot we needed with 8 holes left. Many of the holes on this 9 were going to offer great birdie opportunities so it was crucial to take advantage when we could.
4 straight pars led us to the 6th hole (15th hole of the round). We played aggressively off the tee but missed the fairway. The good thing was we missed he fairway left leaving a great angle to a back right pin. A wedge to around 20 feet yielded the 5th birdie of the round. This put Ryan at +1 for the event and only one to two shots out of playing the weekend.
A good look on the 16th hole was not to be. Heading to our 17th hole we knew we could get one back on a reachable par 5. A great drive set up a 240 yard shot over a tall set of trees. The hardest thing about going for this hole in two shots is that anything not executed well can take birdie and even par out of the equation. The shot requires a high left to right shot shape and a bit of confidence to execute. With a 3 hybrid in hand Ryan hit a high cut, slightly right of where he wanted but was going right at the flag. As we waited for the ball to appear through the trees, it came to rest about 12-15 above the hole for eagle. It was a great shot under a pressure situation. The putt had a little left to right movement, but was straight down a pretty steep slope so you had to be a little cautious of speed. Unfortunately the putt missed a hair on the low side yielding a tap in birdie. That putt us on the cut line with one hole to go.
The final hole (9th hole) is a good hole because it requires you to lay up short of the water without getting too greedy off the tee. The issue becomes if you lay too far back you are hitting a shot of around 200 yards. So the question is always be aggressive to get a shorter shot or lay back for safety first? We went semi conservative off the tee knowing par or birdie is going to most likely get us 36 more holes. The second shot of around 180 yards set up a perfect 7 iron. As Ryan hit the shot, it was going right the flag eventually ending up about 5 feet just left of the pin. As we walked up to the putt it was short but looked a hair on the quick side. It was definitely a putt that could get away from you if you tried to make it aggressively.
As I watched Ryan get over the putt I had no doubt it was going dead center based on how today was going. Sure as I thought he knocked it in to cap off an awesome second round 65 which I believe tied the lowest score of that second round. Considering Ryan had made only 3 birdies in his last 3 tournament rounds total, it was impressive for him to come out and make 7 under a good amount of pressure. His 65 also included hitting all 18 greens in regulation, which under any circumstance is exceptional. I was super proud of the kid’s heart and guts to battle whatever mental and physical demons he had. This would leave us an hour before starting our 3rd round and I was super excited to see some more golfing action.