The front nine was a cinch for Daniel Berger, but the back nine drew some blood.
Coming off a 3-over 73 in an opening round where Winged Foot seemed gettable for many players (21 players managed to finish under par), Berger went bogey-free for his first nine Friday, going 4 under on the front nine with birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 8 and 9.
The back nine was a different story — proving Winged Foot isn’t going to play nice.
The World No. 13 carded his first bogey of the day on No. 10 after narrowly missing an 11-foot, 10-inch putt on the par-3 hole. He added two more bogeys on Nos. 14 and 16 due to putting struggles. He regained some lost ground with his fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 17th, but 18 leveled the playing field. Berger carded a double-bogey 6 on his final hole of the day to bring him to even par on the round and keep him at 3 over through 36 holes.
Berger, who did not speak to media after Friday’s round, walked off the course tied for 44th with Dustin Johnson and Lee Westwood.
The 18th also tripped up Bubba Watson, who was 3 under for the day when he stepped up to the tee box. He double-bogeyed the par-4 hole about 10 minutes before Berger to finish with 1-under 69, 1 over through 36 holes.
Berger, 27, is projected to make the cut, which was hovering at 6 over after the morning wave.
Berger is coming off an impressive 2019-20 season in which he played 17 times and recorded a top-25 finish in 13 of those events. He totaled seven top-10s, including winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in a playoff with Collin Morikawa, the first event back on the Tour schedule after a 13-week hiatus due to COVID-19, and a T-2 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
The three-time Tour winner ended his season admirably in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, finishing third at the Northern Trust, T-25 at the BMW Championship and T-15 at the Tour Championship after a final-round 73.
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