NAPA, Calif. — While Kevin Kisner grinded and Troy Merritt (67) and Chez Reavie (68) rallied like veterans, Arizona State’s Preston Summerhays showed he has the game to play with the big boys, making his first cut on the number.
They were among 68 players to shoot 3-under 141 at Silverado Resort’s North Course or better to make the cut and advance to the weekend at the 2023 Fortinet Championship.
Kisner, 39, holed a bunker shot at 17 for birdie en route to shooting 72 and making the cut on the number. Playing for the first time since he withdrew from the Travelers Championship in June, Kisner has a weekend tee time at a stroke-play tournament for the first time since the Players Championship in March. (Ben Crane has his first weekend tee time since the Corales Puntacana Championship, also in March.)
“It feels good,” Kisner said. “But damn if it wasn’t easy.”
Tom Johnson, a 42-year-old club pro and one-time Tour member, didn’t have to sweat the cut line but rather made it look like it was old hat for him. It was anything but at he survived his first cut since 2015 and nearly broke into tears of joy at the accomplishment after shooting a pair of 69s.
“It means so much to me and my family,” said Johnson, the director of instruction at The Meadow Club in Fairfax, California, and the father of a 2-year-old son.
They are all chasing Sahith Theegala, who posted the low round of the day, an 8-under 64, to improve to 12-under 132.
Here’s a closer look at some of the notables who packed their bags and headed for home on Friday.
Golf is a funny game, exhibit No. 2,137.
Putnam, who just missed out on the Tour Championship, is 35th in the FedEx Cup and already locked up his place in all of the Signature events next season, entered the week ranked sixth in SG: Putting for the season, but his putter remained on vacation. He ranked 152nd in SG: Putting this week on the North Course out of 156, losing more than 4.5 strokes to the field.
His ballstriking was superb – he ranked T-6 in driving accuracy and T-14 in proximity, but it resulted in a pair of even-par 72s. Putnam made a double at No. 12 that sealed his fate and ended a streak of nine straight cuts made.
Johnson, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, can turn his attention full-time to retaining the Cup in Rome in two weeks’ time after making bogey on two of the final three holes to miss the cut.
Johnson opened with 69 but struggled on Friday, hitting just six fairways and 12 greens. He needed 31 putts and holed just 44 feet of putts. It marks his second straight cut in a row.
Bhatia, who won for the first time in July at the Barracuda Championship, switched to a long putter, and it didn’t solve his struggles on the green. Bhatia ranked 132nd in SG: Putting and lost more than 2 ½ strokes to the field on the greens. He opened with three straight bogeys to start the tournament on Thursday en route to shooting 1-over 73. He rallied with five birdies on Friday but needed birdie at the last and his chip stopped 7 inches short of the hole. It marked his second straight missed cut since his playoff win in Reno.
Cink, a former Fortinet Championship winner, missed the cut in Napa for the second straight year. It also marked his second straight cut and he’s now missed 12 cuts in 23 starts.
Cink posted rounds of 71-72—143. His driver let him down. He hit just four fairways on Friday and lost nearly two strokes to the field in SG: Off the Tee (147th). Cink, 50, is scheduled to play at next week’s PGA Tour Champions event at Pebble Beach Golf Links before heading to Rome to serve as a vice captain to U.S. Captain Zach Johnson.
Despite a bogey-free 69 on Thursday, Dahmen missed his seventh cut in his last nine starts. Two double bogeys – at Nos. 14 and 17 – sent him into a tailspin from which he failed to recover. He signed for 75 on Friday. His putter was to blame in the second round as he lost nearly 3 strokes to the field on the greens and ranked 144th in SG: Putting.
Holmes was making his first start since the Travelers Championship in June and got off to a solid enough start, shooting 1-under 71 on Thursday.
He made five birdies on Friday but too many boxes on the card, including two back-nine double bogeys (Nos. 11 and 14).
Holmes struggled off the tee (4 of 14 fairways on Friday) and ranked 147th in SG: Approach the Green. Adding insult to injury, he only managed to get up and down 5 of 13 times.
Simpson thought he had turned the corner on a dismal year with a T-5 at the Wyndham Championship last month, but his game showed some rust this week in wine country. Simpson struggled with the short stick, ranking 137th in SG: Putting and T-117 in scrambling (7 of 14).
A former winner at Silverado, Champ’s struggles continued. He missed his 17th cut in 24 starts. He entered the week 143rd in the FedEx Cup and shot rounds of 73-74—147.
Champ was abysmal with the putter, ranking 153rd in SG: Putting and 150th in scrambling (4 for 11).
The NCAA champ made his professional debut in a PGA Tour event and said he felt some nerves on the first tee. He posted 1-under 71 on Thursday but an early double bogey at the par-3 11th sent him over par and it would only get worse. Biondi shot 71-77—148.