KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Harry Higgs is keeping his caddie on the East Coast after his play the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.
Higgs was at 1-under 143 through 36 holes at the Ocean Course with his brother, Alex, on the bag. Harry Higgs said Alex had planned to do the same for a family friend, Park Ulrich, at a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball competition starting Saturday in Chambers Bay in Washington.
“Park will have to play tomorrow by himself, and that’s his plan,” Harry Higgs said.
Higgs is playing his first PGA Championship and already has a rare accomplishment at the Ocean Course — making back-to-back birdies on the difficult, windswept closing holes in Nos. 17 and 18.
Only Bill Horschel, who like Higgs accomplished it in the second round, can say the same.
The Higgs brothers will put their partnership to work over the weekend, leaving their friend to compete alone on the West Coast.
“We love you, Park, and, hopefully, you play your tail off and qualify for match play so then we can get all the way the country to play some matches on Monday,” Harry Higgs said.
Every trip to Kiawah Island should include a stop at the beach. Shane Lowry got his in during the second round of the PGA Championship.
Lowry was way right with his drive on the par-5 16th hole at the Ocean Course on Friday, landing in sand closer to the Atlantic Ocean and any greenside bunker.
“It’s funny, I’d seen Rory (McIlroy) out there in the practice rounds and I was trying to figure out where it was,” Lowry said. “Then I obviously found out where it was.”
Lowry’s drive landed close to some fencing designed to limit erosion and blowing sand. He received relief from the fence and popped the ball back onto the fairway as he might’ve from any bunker in any tournament.
Still some 300 yards from the green in two, Lowry put his fourth shot 22 feet from the hole and made the putt to save par.
“Look, I got very lucky there because where I my provisional wasn’t very good either,” the reigning British Open champion said.
Lowry finished with a 71 and was at even par, five shots off the lead.
CLUB PROS PLAY ON
Two of the 20 club professionals at the PGA Championship made the weekend: Brad Marek, a former mini-tour player and Alameda, California-based instructor of elite juniors, and Ben Cook of Yankee Springs Golf Course in Wayland, Michigan.
Marek was the low club pro at 2 over after a pair of 73s in his first ever PGA appearance.
Cook finished at 5-over par 149, making the cut on the number for the first time in three career PGA Championship starts. He had dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch on the back nine, but parred the last two to continue playing.
Ian Poulter noticed a scoreboard as he stood on the 13th tee at the PGA Championship that made him laugh.
“It was ironic,” Poulter said the message board. “It says, ‘Ian Poulter, 6 under through 12 and chasing down a course record.’ And I just started laughing to myself, like who in the world would that and put that on a board with that last five holes to play.”
Poulter was indeed sitting at 6 under on his second round and conceivably could’ve broken the record of 63 set by Germany’s Alex Cjeka at the World Cup in 1997.
Instead, Poulter struggled over the final stretch with four bogeys over those final six holes to finish with a 70 and sit at even par after 36 holes at Pete Dye’s maddening seaside layout.
Poulter said the idea early on here is to just try “to put something in the bank.”
He anticipated the difficulties down the stretch and felt he limited the damage.
“To get in the house without spilling too much over those last five was okay,” Poulter said.