Thursday in this space, we noted that one pro called the first-round conditions in Sea Island, Ga., a “Chamber of Commerce” day. Friday? It was like a trip to the dentist. The winds picked up, and the scores soared. Here are three things you need to know after the second round of the RSM Classic, played on the Seaside and Plantation Courses at Sea Island Resort.
Talor Gooch leads
Navigating the winds best was Talor Gooch, who followed up his first-round 64 on the Plantation Course with a second-round 65 on the Seaside Course. He’s at 13-under overall, one stroke ahead of round-one leader Sebastian Munoz and John Huh, and two shots in front of Taylor Moore and Mackenzie Hughes.
On Friday, Gooch went on a four-under-through-three-hole stretch on the front nine — he birdied the 368-yard, par-4 5th and the 172-yard, par-3 6th, then eagled the 583-yard, par-5 7th after dropping a 66-foot putt — and he added two more birdies on the back.
“I think my game has made a turn for some good stuff in some ways,” said Gooch, winless in now his fifth season on the PGA Tour. “And I’ve been working my butt off for years, but especially the last six, eight months with driving the ball and working my butt off with putting. For my game, if I can get in the fairway, as simple as it sounds, if I can get in the fairway, it’s just a matter of how many putts I’m going to make. Hopefully we can keep making putts and see if we can do some good this weekend.”
What a difference a day makes
Just how much did things flip from Thursday to Friday? During the first round, players were a combined 542-under par; in the second, they were 126-over. And according to the PGA Tour, the difference in scoring average between the first and second rounds on the Seaside Course was 4.65, the third-largest difference from round one to round two in a Tour event since 1983, when records began being kept. (The largest difference was 5.00, at the 1987 Shriners Children’s Open.)
Perhaps no player was cooled off by the wind more than Munoz, who opened with a 10-under 60 on the Seaside Course, then shot a two-under 70 on the Plantation Course. In all, among the 71 players who made the cut, only eight shot better than the day before.
“Ten strokes worse than yesterday, but it felt really good,” Munoz said.