With gusting winds and firm conditions, the WGC-Cadillac Championship turned into a test of survival Friday afternoon. Here's how things look after two rounds at blustery Trump National Doral, where Dustin Johnson takes a slim lead into the weekend:
Leaderboard: Dustin Johnson (-1), Patrick Reed (-1), Hunter Mahan (-1), Matt Kuchar (-1), Graeme McDowell (Even), Francesco Molinari (Even), Rory McIlroy (Even), Jamie Donaldson (Even)
What it means: With the first round completed amid difficult conditions Friday morning, the only winner on the day was the Blue Monster course itself. Players were consistently baffled in Miami, with a field of just 68 players combining to put a whopping 103 balls into the water during the second round. Only four players have bettered par through two rounds, and a crowded leaderboard means that 10 players will start the third round within two shots of the lead.
Round of the day: On a day when no one broke 70, Jamie Donaldson put together the low round by carding only one bogey despite the windy conditions. The Welshman birdied two of his first six holes and then added another circle on the par-5 eighth, where he made birdie despite an errant drive forcing him to roll up his pants and play his second shot while standing in a lake. The 2-under 70 took Donaldson to even for the week and within two shots of the lead.
Best of the rest: McDowell has a U.S. Open title to his credit, so it's no surprise that he's again near the lead at an event where a premium is placed on pars. Like Donaldson, the Ulsterman made just one bogey Friday and countered it with two birdies en route to a 1-under 71 that got him back to even through 36 holes. Despite the conditions, McDowell didn't drop a shot until No. 6, his 15th hole of the round.
Biggest disappointment: Luke Donald opened with a solid 2-under 70 in the first round, but things fell apart for the Englishman in Round 2. Donald failed to make a single birdie but did card both a double bogey and a triple bogey; it all added up to a 10-over 82 for the former world No. 1, who slipped from the first page of the leaderboard into a tie for 50th.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: If winds die down as the forecast indicates, this tournament remains totally up for grabs. In addition to the logjam at the top, with eight players separated by just a single shot, two notable names - Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - remain within striking distance, just six shots back in a tournament that both probably felt was lost at some point Friday afternoon.
Shot of the day: Not much went right Friday for Woods, who carded a 1-over 73 in the second round. A rare bright spot, though, came at the par-3 fourth hole, where Woods knocked in a 92-foot putt for birdie. It marks the longest made putt on Tour this year, and the seventh-longest since on Tour since 2003.
Quote of the day: "I've never played in a major before, but I hear they're set up really tough. I'm guessing that's what it's set up for." - Reed
March 8, 2014