Saturday, September 12, 2020
Ted misses short birdie putts on last two holes to bow out . . .
Ted Potter shot out of the gate at the Safeway Open on Friday as though he was soon going to be battling for the lead even though he only began the day at even par. Starting on the back nine, Ted quickly birdied No. 10, and made it two straight by canning a putt of 15 feet, four inches on No. 11. Right off the bat, he had reached the early projected cut line of 2 under.
Ted parred the next three holes, then went 3 under with a birdie at the par-3 15th. On No. 16, a par 5, he hit the green in two and his eagle putt pulled up a foot short, but the birdie got him to 4 under. He then added a birdie on No. 17 before making par on 18 to wind up with a solid 5-under 31.
Moving to the front nine, Ted began with a bogey to drop back to 4 under, then parred the next four holes as the cut line was moving up. He hit a fairway bunker off the tee on No. 6 and made bogey to go to 3 under, and was now one stroke short of the cut line.
Needing a birdie on the last three holes to reach the line again, Ted did the improbable. On the par-3 seventh, he put his tee shot in the left rough, 97 feet, 11 inches from the hole, and promptly sank the pitch shot to get it back to 4 under. Another birdie on the last two holes would be insurance in case the line moved up again, which it eventually did.
On the par-4 8th, Ted hit his 83-yard second to within 6 feet, 9 inches of the hole, but missed the important putt that could have cemented his position. The line had moved to 5 under. On the par-5 9th, just as the ever-changing line dropped back to 4 under, Ted's third stopped 6 feet, 11 inches from the hole. With all the marbles possibly on the line, he missed the putt and wound up with 4-under 68.
Now, all Ted could do was wait around and see if any of the players still on the course got it to 5 under to change the line again. And they did. Twenty players wound up at 5 under as a total of 73 made the cut. And a long line of 4-unders packed up and went home.
Sam Burns closed out the day at 15 under (64-65-129) to take the halfway lead, followed by Harry Higgs at 13 under (69-62). Higgs added the rare distinction of making a double-eagle, sinking a fairway shot for a 3-under deuce on a par 5. Cameron Percy, first-round leader Russell Knox and D. J. Trahan were next at 12 under.