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Atwal misses cut on PGA debut

August 13, 2005 16:45 IST

Arjun Atwal's hopes of making the cut at the US PGA Championships ended with a string of bogeys and double bogeys as he was unable to tame the Lower Course at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.

The Indian golfer, ended his second round with a seven-over 77 on Friday and finished the two rounds before the cut at 11-over and crashed out.

It was Atwal's second Major, after the British Open in 2004, where also he failed to make the cut. The missed cut at the PGA Championships, where he became the first Indian to tee up, also meant his streak of cuts ended at 12.

Before this event, Atwal had made 12 cuts in as many starts and picked over USD 802,000. Atwal started at the tenth and it was disastrous from the word go, as he double bogeyed and then dropped another shot at 12th to be three over after three holes.

Two more bogeys on 15th and 17th, the 650-yard par-five hole, further ruined his chances, even though birdies on 14th and 18th gave him an outside chance.

On the front nine of the course, which was Atwal's second nine, the Indian ace birdied the first and fifth. But in between double bogeyed the fourth. Then towards the end, he ended as miserably as he had begun with four dropped shots in three holes -- a double on seventh and bogeys on eighth and ninth.

In two days, Atwal managed just 11 pars but had nine birdies, 12bogeys and four double bogeys, three of them on second day, and that did him in.

Even as the Indian was struggling, Tiger Woods clawed his way back with a birdie on the 18th to just make the cut at four over for the tournament.

The field is led by Phil Mickelson, whose brilliant back nine of five-under saw him finish the day at five-under and eight-under for the first two rounds.

He is three shots clear of the second placed Jerry Kelly, while Rory Sabbatini, Lee Westwood and Davis Love III are tied third at four-under. Defending champion Vijay Singh is three under after a second round of 67.

Meanwhile, Atwal's predicament of missed cut was shared by the likes of Padraig Harrington, Justin Leonard, Chris Di Marco, Brad Faxon, Peter Lonard, Graeme McDowell, Billy Mayfair, Colin Montgomerie, Jonathan Kaye, Rod Pampling, Shigeki Maruyama, Robert Allenby, Darren Clarke, Jeff Sluman and Darren Clarke among others.

The Asian flag was kept flying by Korean Yang Yong-eun at the halfway stage of the PGA Championship. Yang, who plied his trade on the Asian Tour before venturing to Japan, shot an impressive three-under-par 67 to move up to tied 11th place on 138, six shots behind pacesetter Mickelson.

The Korean was in good form shooting seven birdies, including five in his last eight holes as he surged up the leaderboard in what is his PGA Championship debut.

 Choi Kyung-ju, winner of the SK Telecom Open on the Asian Tour this season, was tied 30th after adding a 70 to his opening 71 for a 141 total.

The two-time winner on the US PGA Tour finished strongly with two closing birdies. American Ted Purdy, an old hand in Asia, stumbled to a 75 to make the halfway cut right on the 144 mark.

Other Asian Tour casualties included Kevin Na who missed the cut by two after shooting a 76 while Thongchai Jaidee, last season's Asian Tour number one, missed the cut after adding a 74 to his first round's 76.


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