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First-round leader Jay Haas struggled with the weather changes Friday afternoon. (Martin/Getty Images)

Mother Nature still playing crucial role at Oak Hill

By Lauren Deason, PGATOUR.COM Editorial Coordinator

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Blue skies and warm sunshine greeted golfers at the Senior PGA Championship Friday for the first time in what seemed like ages.

Gone were the cold, rainy conditions that dampened the course -- and the player's spirits -- on Thursday. But Mother Nature didn't cease trying to make Oak Hill Country Club as tough as possible.

"The weather kept getting warmer and warmer, but we played yesterday in cold, pretty cold weather with not a whole lot of wind," Jeff Sluman said. "And the wind was certainly much higher today than yesterday."

Sluman's scorecard reflected this change in conditions. He teed off early on the first day, encountered cold but relatively calm conditions and shot 70. In the second round, Sluman had an afternoon tee time and barely needed a jacket but notched a 73.

Jay Haas was another player in the afternoon who struggled with the weather changes. He began the day in the lead -- and as the only player under par -- but bogeyed Nos. 5 and 7 and made double bogey on the 15th hole for a 72 on Friday.

"It was a tougher day. Even though it was cold yesterday, the wind wasn't blowing quite as much," Haas said. "And this afternoon I thought the course was pretty difficult.

"But that's usually what happens when you don't play as well, the course seems a lot harder," he added.

Not only did the wind gust at 10-20 mph, but it also gave the players fits as they tried to predict its direction.

"The wind got really tricky. It wasn't consistent," Langer said after his 1:20 p.m. tee time. "The forecast was sort of northwest but it was (really) all over the place. And that makes it much harder to get it close to the green or close to the hole or even on to the green."

According to players from the afternoon, the wind was extremely difficult. Yet Friday's round was actually a tale of two winds.

Since the winds picked up significantly in the afternoon, players who drew an early tee time didn't complain about the conditions. In fact, since they saw gusty conditions on Thursday afternoon, they were grateful for a reprieve on Friday morning.

"There's not as much wind today," Mike Goodes said after teeing off at 9:30 a.m., and finishing his round at 3 over par. "I think the pins were a little easier today."

Mark O'Meara teed off at 9:00 a.m. and had the low round of the day. His 4-under-par 66 propelled him into a tie for fourth.

"The wind was a little bit more severe yesterday than it was today," O'Meara said. "...(But) the breeze was still blowing out there, still a one and a half club wind out there."

Forecasters predict a mostly sunny day on Saturday with a low of 44 degrees and a high of 66 degrees. Winds are expected out of the northwest from 8-15 miles per hour.

With those conditions, maybe on Saturday the most-talked about opponent at the Senior PGA Championship will be someone other than Mother Nature.

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