Seamus Power breezed through to the weekend after carding an even par 70 at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
The West Waterford professional finds himself just inside the top-40 at four-under par after trading two birdies and two bogeys in a solid second round.
The Olympian would have been hoping for better, however, having got to six-under for the tournament through 12 holes on Friday. He’d picked up a birdie at the par-5 13th on day one but found the water from the tee when he looked to be making his move through the pack in round two before finding the water again at his penultimate hole to let another shot slip.
With American Zack Sucher two clear out in front on 11-under par, Power has seven shots to make up over the weekend if he’s to mount a challenge but with 6.4 million euros up for grabs at the event, there’s still plenty to play for with 36-holes to play.
Unfortunately, Power’s Irish Olympic team partner, Padraig Harrington won’t be joining him for the weekend in Connecticut after recording a disappointing finish on Friday.
The three-time Major champion dropped two shots over his closing three holes which proved detrimental to his hopes of advancing; his two-over par 72 dropping Harrington back to level par and two shots shy of the weekend mark.
With Tiger Woods’ former caddie, Steve Williams on the bag, Australian Jason Day looks the biggest danger to the leaders having moved to within four strokes of top spot after a sizzling 63 in round two.
However, few could begrudge the little known leader Sucher a break at the big time, now pain-free after a horrendous period of injuries, who only got into the tournament on a late sponsor’s invite and who had never led a PGA Tour event after any round before now.
“First year I can remember in a long time where I’m pain-free and it’s feeling really good. It’s nice to be out here,” said Sucher, who missed the cut in a Korn Ferry Tour stop in Springfield and drove to the Travelers assuming he had a good chance to get that sponsor’s spot. His gut feeling has played out nicely, in stark contrast to the way his life has gone since he left the Travelers Championship in 2017.
He missed the cut, played in an outing, but had had enough of constant pain in his left leg. He knew the knee was an issue, but it turns out “his ankle was a mess,” said his wife, Courtney.
Major surgery on the ankle and the knee sidelined Sucher for more than a year and the return to competition has been a mixed bag. In 10 Korn Ferry Tour tournaments, Sucher has two top 10s, but in three PGA TOUR starts, he’s missed one cut and finished T-35 and T-50. In other words, nothing to make Sucher feel that he was ready to break out at TPC River Highlands, but he’s played plenty of competitive golf to know it’s a landscape that cannot be explained.
“The last few years I had on the (Korn Ferry Tour) were a bit of a struggle,” said Sucher, who has a win and 13 other top 10s on that circuit. “And every time I made it here (he’s had PGA TOUR status in 2015 and 2017), it seemed the harder I worked, the more the left leg would hurt.”
“It feels great,” added Sucher, whose best finish in 35 PGA TOUR tournaments across three seasons is a tie for 20th at the 2015 Barracuda Championship. “A lot of work to be done, but right now it’s feeling great.”
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