By Stan Awtrey, Special to PGA.com
KOHLER, Wis. -- A group of members from Glen Arbor Golf Club flew to Whistling Straits on Friday to support Rob Labritz, the PGA director of golf at their club in Bedford Hills, N.Y. But the 2 hour, 40 minute fog delay kept Labritz off the course until late in the day, so the traveling fans only got a chance to watch Labritz play one hole, which he birdied, before they had to return home.
Fortunately they'll be able to see him play again this weekend on television. Labritz shot a 71 in the second round, leaving him at even-par 144, good enough to make the cut and qualify for the final two rounds. He was the only one of 20 PGA club professionals who made it to the weekend.
"Making the cut is the first milestone to reach. Now it's time to go do some pin hunting," Labritz said. His goal is to finish in the top 15.
Just getting to the weekend was a nice accomplishment for the 39-year-old native of Hartford, Conn., and graduate of Central Connecticut State. Labritz is playing in the PGA Championship for the third time and this is easily his best performance and the first time he's made the cut.
It's been seven years since his last appearance at the PGA and he has spent much of that time revamping his golf swing with coach Tom Wilson. Labritz said he now understands more about his swing and is able to better control his flight.
"My swing feels good, I'm rolling the ball really well and I've kept my emotions in check," he said.
Labritz has competed around the world and said he wasn't bothered by the big crowds at Whistling Straits. But he admitted that it can be easy to lose focus and get distracted.
"I told myself coming down 18 to stay focused and I did," he said. Labritz had a double-bogey on the 18th hole in the first round, but made par to end his second round and help preserve his chances to make the cut. "I've been there before and blown it," he said.
Labritz played the first two rounds with K.J. Choi and Steve Marino; Choi made the cut, Marino did not. He was paired in the second round with rookie sensation Rickie Fowler and PGA TOUR winner Martin Laird.
"The pressure's off," Labritz said. "Now it's just a matter of seeing how many birdies you can make. You've still got to stay focused."