Gooch deals with the wind at Sea Island and takes a shot
St. Simmons Island, Ga. – Strong winds swept off the Atlantic Ocean on Sea Island on Friday, and it wasn’t a problem for Oklahoma’s Taylor Gotch as he tackled the five-under-65 exposed sea course to score one lead in the RSM Classic.
As expected, mild conditions for the opening round that set records gave way to winds of 25 mph and temperatures 10 degrees cooler.
“The only thing in common between yesterday and today is that we played 18 holes,” said Zach Johnson, who lives in Sea Island and has toiled for 1-under 71 at the Plantation track.
Gooch matched the round’s low score — Taylor Moore had a hole-in-one on Seaside’s 17th for 65 — and was on 13-under 129.
He was one shot ahead of Jun Huh, who had 67 at Plantation, and Sebastian Munoz, who went from 60 in Seaside to 70 in the second round at Plantation. Moore and Mackenzie Hughes of Canada (68 in Seaside) were behind with gunshots.
Gooch was heading up. He’s No. 14 in the FedEx Cup and has a pair of top five places in the Fortinet start-up championship and the CJ Cup in Las Vegas. Still chasing his first win, Gooch missed a cut in six games this fall and finished 11th or four times better.
“It’s just convenient,” he said. “Obviously I’m playing well, but I think my game has turned out to be some good in some ways. I’ve been working on my butt for years, but especially the last six or eight months with driving the ball and pinning my butt with shooting. , if I can get in the lane… It’s just about how many hits I’m going to do. I hope we can keep hitting and see if we can do some good things this weekend.”
Gooch highlighted his tour by hitting the eagle just over 65 feet in seventh, the longest throw he’s made in his career on the PGA Tour.
“That’s 66 feet, you’re just trying to hit twice, right?” He said. “But my speed has been pretty good this week and I made about 50 feet yesterday, so I was comfortable on these greens from long distances. You always steal one when you make those fall.”
Gooch only made one phantom, not insignificant under the circumstances, and four of the five bird tweezers came from 6 feet or less.
Munoz, who equaled the championship record with a score of 60 in the first round at the beachfront, birded his last hole to share a second place with Huh.
After a day halfway on the Seaside Course, he broke the scoring record with an average of 66.31 — the second lowest on the PGA Tour since 1983 — the other half averaged more than four points higher at 70.96. The farm average score increased roughly by four shots, from 68.70 to 72.68.
The cut was at 4-down 138. Among those to make it to the weekend was 57-year-old tournament host Davis Love third with birders at No. 13 and 15 for a 70-level tie at the beachfront. Adam Scott also made the cut on the number, needing birds in three of the four holes in the back ranch nine for 71.
Those who missed the cut included Jason Day, Lucas Glover and Graeme McDowell, as well as defending champion Robert Streep. He beat Kevin Kesner in a playoff match last year. Neither of them will be around this weekend.
Meanwhile, Johnson is trying to break the “Sea Island Curse”. None of the players living in the area have been able to win an RSM Classic in their first 11 years. This group includes Matt Kuchar, Harris English, Brian Harman, and Hudson Swafford, all of whom are PGA Tour winners.
Well, it’s hard to win,” said Johnson, who was in the last set in the last round last year but finished three shots outside the playoff between Streep and Kessner. “Maybe there’s a little extra pressure because of who you play against and that kind of thing. I think it’s going to happen. … I think the odds are in our favor.”
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