With two holes to play in the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer had conjured some short game magic to be sitting at 2-under par for the day and 8-under par for the tournament. A par-3 and a par-5 laid ahead and two pars — two bogeys even — would have ensured the Texas duo would be around to challenge for the trophy on the weekend.
However, playing foursomes, an alternate shot format, Spieth put two balls into the water on the 17th and 18th holes at TPC Louisiana, which led to a pair of double bogeys that resulted in a missed cut.
“I had a couple of really bad swings,” Spieth told Golf Channel after the round. “I cost our team an opportunity, which really sucks given how hard we fought today. It’s not a good feeling. It’s much worse than if it’s just you.”
At 6-under par after the double on 17, Spieth and Palmer were still inside the cut line with a one-shot cushion. Palmer knocked a drive on the final hole 301 yards away. Spieth said he tried to make up for his mistake on 17 — hitting his tee ball in the water — with his second shot on the par-5 18th, which also ultimately ended up in the hazard.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 27, 2018
An unlucky break left Palmer’s fourth shot short and in the front bunker with a buried lie that Spieth was unable to extricate. Needing to hole the sixth shot, Palmer blasted out to 20 feet where Spieth rolled in the putt for double bogey to miss the cut by one.
“I struggled with my swing both days,” he said. “Just didn’t hit the ball well at all. We held it together for a while and then it finally just came out. Unfortunately, all we needed was two more swings. That’s how it works, I guess.”
Spieth and Palmer won’t be the only big names not playing the weekend. All in all, five of the six highest-ranked players in the field will be looking for something to do this weekend. The teams of Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley, Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Brooks Koepka and Marc Turnesa all missed the cut.
First-round co-leaders Xinjun Zhang and Zecheng Dou shot an 80 in foursomes to drop from 12-under to 4-under and miss the cut by one as well.
It wasn’t bad news for everyone on Friday. The 36-hole lead is held Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam at 13-under par after a 3-under par effort in the second round. Last year’s runners-up, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown are one shot back at 12-under par.
The teams will play best ball again on Saturday with Sunday’s finale being a second go at alternate shot.