Scores were low in the first round and this continued in the second round of the Mylan Classic as Brad Fritsch shot a seven-under-par 64 to take a one shot lead over Cliff Kresge.
To put it into prospective, the Mylan Classic, which is in its third season at Southpointe Golf Club, was won by England’s Gary Christian last year with a score of 17 under par. With the temperatures hot and the wind non-existant, the morning golfers including Fritz and Kresge had an important advantage.
Inside Fritch and Kresge’s rounds
Both Fritsch and Kresge started their round at the same point, five under par and two strokes behind the lead. Fritsch’s front nine was bogey free and was highlighted with birdies on both the second and seventh holes.
Fritsch would really get it going early in his back nine. On the par-5 542-yard 11th hole, Fritsch hit a hybrid 252 yards and made the putt for an eagle.
Fritsch would then biride the par-5 13th hole and then used a pitching wedge off the par 3 14th tee to made birdie there. He finished his scoring with a birdie on the par-4 15th hole to shoot a 64, the second lowest round of the day.
Meanwhile Kresge had more of an up-and-down front nine. He birdied the second hole and then bogeyed the 506-yard par-4 sixth hole.
It was an adventure on the par-5 540-yard eighth hole. His tee shot was well hit, however his second shot was just left of the hole, but with the green sloping left, the ball went into the water. Kresge took a drop and then calmly chipped in his shot for a surprising birdie. All of a sudden a bogey hole turned into a birdie hole and it was the momentum changer for his round.
“I got a drop and I was only 20 feet from the hole,” Kresge said. “It was a great shot and it wasn’t far from the hole but that whole hole feeds left. I just dropped it, got a good lie and chipped it in.”
Kresge would birdie the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th holes staying clean the whole back nine before adding a birdie to post the 65.
It has been a frustrating season at times for Kresge, but he has persevered and now has another opportunity to get in the winner’s circle this week.
“The year has been a year of so close but yet so far,” Kresge said. “I missed probably six cuts in a row by one shot. I just had a lot of negative energy going on, and I got to a course in Columbus, and I got comfortable.”
Here we go again
You may remember the winner of the other major Pittsburgh golf tournament, the Champions Tour’s Constellation Senior Players Championship. Joe Daley is a Philadelphia fan and was born close to the area.
Following his press conference in the media room, Fritsch let out a “Penguins suck” before getting up and all of us laughing before he left the room.
The comment came out of the blue, but perhaps was a response to nearly 15 minutes of postround questions.
In that time though, Fritsch discussed the change in his swing and how he slowed things down.
Fritsch mentioned that with his swing slowed down, he feels as though he is doing everything in slow motion, but when he looks at the tape, he sees that it looks much more down to earth.
“My stroke was getting real jabby and my speed control was really bad,” said Fritsch. “I feel like I’m lengthening my stroke but it’s probably not, it’s just slower. It feels like it takes a long time to hit the ball, but I’ve watched it on video and it looks normal. I was just in a bad place and getting fast.”
Janzen came and saw but did not conquer
Lee Janzen was the biggest name at the Mylan Classic and has won eight times on the PGA Tour. Two of those wins were US Opens. His last win was in 1998 at the US Open and he made up five shots to defeat Payne Stewart and win the major title.
There was excitement when it was announced that Janzen would play in the tournament.
With the low scoring in round one, Janzen fell behind early shooting an even-par 71 to fall behind.
Janzen teed off at 7:20 a.m. on the 10th hole to start his second round and shot one under.
The projected cut going into the day was two under and Janzen would bogey the first and then shot himself in the foot when he drove the ball into the rough on the long par-4 sixth hole, leading to another bogey.
Janzen was running out of holes and would birdie the par-5 eighth hole to give himself a chance. He then birdied the ninth hole, his final one of the day post a one-under-par round of 70.
With the wind being a factor, Janzen had hoped to make the cut, but the two under number stuck meaning that he would miss the cut.
The following is a video of my postround interview I conducted with him. As a note, it was just after noon at the time of the interview, and half of the players had not started their second rounds.
When the wind blows
The scores may be low now, but rain is in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday and the wind is always a factor.
Fritsch first noted the wind at the 12th hole and by the 16th hole, he said that he was ‘grinding for par’.
Both Kresge and Fritsch were both pleased to have finished their rounds before the wind set in.
Fritsch suggested that with the wind that there were, “a couple holes where you might have a line you’re uncomfortable with.”
The low round of the day was an eight-under-par 63 from Matt Weibring. Weibring had started the day at even par and now sits in a tie for sixth place, four strokes behind Fritsch.
Oscar Serna was disqualified after he failed to turn in a scorecard for the second round. He was three over par on his two rounds.
Former US Amateur Champion Casey Wittenberg has shot rounds of 65 and 67 which have put him in third place at 10-under-par, and two shots behind the lead.
Inaugural winner Kevin Kisner is in contention once again as he is in a tie for 13th place at five under par.
Gates will open at 6:30 a.m. for the third round of the Mylan Classic Saturday. The high temperature will be 83 degrees, but there is a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms, so those who will attend the event should bring a raincoat and/or an umbrella.
1. Brad Fritsch -12
2. Cliff Kresge -11
3. Casey Wittenberg -10
T4. Edward Loar -9
T4. Robert Streb -9
T6. Peter Lonard -8
T6. Nicholas Thompson -8
T6. Matt Weibring -8
T9. John Chin -7
T9. Richard H. Lee -7
T13. Kevin Kisner -5
T13. Danny Lee -5
T23 Ben Kohles -4
T34 Jason Gore -3
T45 Steve Wheatcroft -2
CUT Lee Janzen -1
CUT Jon Mills +2
CUT Sam Saunders +7