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Dufner, Bradley surprise PGA leaders

Aug. 12, 2011 at 8:16 PM   |   Comments

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley led a group of unlikely challengers Friday midway through the PGA Championship, an event that will go on without Tiger Woods.

A collection of players who have labored in relative obscurity on the PGA Tour lined up to make a weekend charge at the final major championship of the year.

Included among the 16 players who finished 36 holes under par at the Atlanta Athletic Club were D.A. Points, John Senden, Brandt Jobe, Brendan Steele and Scott Piercy. Those players, combined with Dufner and Bradley, have four PGA Tour wins among them and a victory by any this week would be a huge surprise.

The only former major championship winners among the 16 sub-par shooters were Jim Furyk and Davis Love III.

As the second round unfolded, the main sub-plots became the unheralded nature of many of the contenders, the carnage that was taking place at the closing hole and the quiet exit of Woods. He shot a 3-over 73 for a 150 total and missed the cut by six shots.

It will be only the fourth time in his career that Woods has failed to play on the weekend in a major.

"I think I was in 22 bunkers (over two days) and had four or five water balls," Woods said. "That doesn't add up to a good score."

Bradley, the winner of this year's Byron Nelson Classic, shot the low round of the day with a 64 and Dufner, winless on the tour, had a 65. They shared first place at 5-under 135.

Another shot back were Points, Senden, Furyk and Scott Verplank. Although he has a U.S. Open title to his credit, Furyk missed the cut in five out of six events earlier this year while a victory for the 47-year-old Verplank would make him the second-oldest major winner in history.

Tied for eighth at 137 were Steele, Jobe, Anders Hansen and first-round leader Steve Stricker, who followed his opening-round 63 with a score 10 shots higher.

Last week's Bridgestone International winner Adam Scott was among those at 138, after shooting a 69 that could easily have been lower. Scott was one of the potential contenders who ran afoul of the watery, 18th hole that will likely decide the winner Sunday.

Scott hit his second shot into the water at 18 and made a double bogey, as did Phil Mickelson after he had climbed to within four shots of the lead. Mickelson finished with a 71 and a 142 total.

Stricker also hit the water at 18 and salvaged a bogey. Woods did the same thing to finish his round.

Rory McIlroy, who suffered a strained tendon in his right wrist Thursday but kept on playing, made the cut at 143 after shooting a 73. That round included a triple-bogey at the par-3 17th when he hit his tee shot into the pond fronting the green.

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