KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Another major, another weekend in contention for Blake Adams.
After starting the final round of his major championship debut in June’s U.S. Open in fourth place (finishing 21st), Adams is right back in the mix in the PGA Championship.
With even-par 72 in brutal wind conditions Friday morning at the Ocean Course, Adams is at 1-under par at the midpoint of his second career major.
“I’ve always had, I guess, a track record to play the harder courses better – the U.S. Open, this – on tough, tough days like today,” said Adams, who climbed as high as ninth on the leaderboard before his only bogeys of the day on his 16th and 17th holes.
Playing in a constant crosswind at Kiawah, Adams was the only player in the morning wave to make it as far as 15 holes without a bogey. He carded his first blemish on the par-5 7th hole when he made his third three-putt of the tournament as he was being buffeted by the strong gusts deep into a six-hour round.
“It was already pumping by the time I pegged it in the dirt,” Adams said of the wind that wasn’t expected to kick up until Friday afternoon. “I rolled around that back side with eight pars and a birdie, which is pretty doggone good in my book. Made some putts, missed some putts, let two slip away there at the end. Just a short one for par at 7. I three putted. Third three putt in two days, which isn’t great. But under the windy conditions you have to kind of expect some of those things to happen.
“There are no gimmes on a day like today. I had one or two that were inside a foot that the ball is wobbling and I’m moving. I’m a pretty big ‘ol boy, and that wind is moving me pretty good.”
The Ocean Course played nothing like Adams experienced during the practice rounds or even late Thursday. Despite the PGA shortening the course by 150 yards to some forward tees, Adams found it much longer fighting the wind.
“I wore out the grooves in my 4-iron all day today, which was not how I kind of planned on playing around this golf course,” said Adams, who lives near Swainsboro. “The course is playing really long. My goal when I got up and saw that the wind was motoring was to try to play bogey free. I did it for 15 holes, which is pretty good. I was trying to play old man par, just make 18 pars. And if I made a birdie, great; if I didn’t, I’ll take even par. I let those two slip away out there, but like I said, all in all, not a bad round.”
Only three players in the morning shot better than Adams’ 72 – Vijay Singh (69), Michael Hoey (70) and Phil Mickelson (71). Now Adams heads into the weekend once again in major contention with no plans to change a thing in his fairways-and-greens game plan.
“I’m a pretty laidback guy,” he said. “Just an easy approach. Just try to simplify things like I have the first two days, like I do every week. It doesn’t matter. Like I said, yes, this is a big, big tournament, but to me it’s just another tournament. So just go out, work hard, do my job tomorrow, and see where I end up.”