Poulter lambasts unfair set-up, but Rose keeps his cool at Oakland Hills
IAN Poulter described the set-up as "unacceptable", but Justin Rose was not complaining on the second day of the PGA Championship after plotting his way round Oakland Hills to move into contention near the top of the leaderboard.
The field played to an average of five shots over par in the weather-delayed first round, the Donald Ross-designed layout in suburban Detroit proving a stern test for the world's best. But Rose took advantage of an early tee time yesterday to post a three-under-par 67 before the breeze began to stiffen.
The Englishman had carded a three-over-par opening round of 73, but got the bit between his teeth during his early start to round two. He collected four birdies and a bogey yesterday to move to even par for the tournament at the halfway stage. That put him just one shot behind American JB Holmes, who took the early clubhouse lead with a round of 68.
Alastair Forsyth remains in striking distance after three bogeys and a birdie 3 at the par-4 16th for a two-over-par 72 left the Paisley man five-over-par for the championship and comfortably inside the projected cut mark of nine over.
For Colin Montgomerie, the other Scot in the field, it was a day he will want to forget. A 14-over-par round of 84 left him 150th in a field of 155 starters and may have done irreparable damage to his chances of securing a wild card for Europe's Ryder Cup team.
In one of the worst rounds of his career, ten bogeys and two double bogeys left him on 160, 20 over par.
Rose, on the other hand, was as delighted with his scoring as he was to have finished his round early in the day. American Ben Curtis also made headway to improve on an opening 73 with a 67, while South Korea's Charlie Wi was the other low scorer among the early finishers with a second consecutive level-par round of 70.
"I'm ecstatic with that round of golf," said Rose, who is seeking his first major triumph and can enhance his prospects of securing a Ryder Cup place with a good result this weekend. "Three under par in those conditions was more than I could have hoped for. I know Ben Curtis shot three under too, but the average score is going to be very, very high and guys are going to have a hard time this afternoon so I'm glad to be done. The conditions were much tougher than I expected this morning, so I was happy that I was still able to go out and put together a decent score."
The overnight co-leaders, Robert Karlsson of Sweden and India's Jeev Milkha Singh, both started later in the day, with the Swede struggling badly and Singh initially thriving.
Karlsson bogeyed his first four holes in an up-and-down round to card a 77 for five-over-par 145. Singh, meanwhile, was striving to stay in contention, his 74 leaving him in the hunt on two over.
Argentina's Andres Romero had also enjoyed a good opening round of 69, one shot back of the leaders in a group of five which had also contained Spain's Sergio Garcia and the Americans Ken Duke, Billy Mayfair and Sean O'Hair.
As one of 18 players forced to come back early yesterday morning to complete their first rounds, however, Romero suffered for having to go straight back out on the course for his second round, posting a 78. But he was not the only early starter to find the conditions hard going.
Poulter, attempting to overtake Rose in the Ryder Cup standings, was one over par for his second round having opened with a four-over 74. Poulter was angered by the course set-up and three particularly long par-three holes of 198, 238 and 257 yards.
"I drove it a little better and had more shots from the fairway which makes it a little easier, but you are just trying not to bleed to death out there," Poulter said. "It's just like the PGA slice your throat on the first tee and you have to try and make it round to the 18th without dying.
"It is just frustrating when you stand on par threes and you are hitting 5 iron and aiming for a greenside bunker because you know that is the only way you can make par.
That personally is not right, is not on, it's unacceptable."
Open champion Padraig Harrington returned following Thursday's one-over-par 71 and opened with a birdie, but a bogey at the last left the Irishman four over for the tournament. "I just ran out of steam," Harrington said. "It was a struggle for me."