0

All dry, Watson gets rolling at AT&T Classic

DULUTH - Bubba Watson had no choice if he wanted to play more golf.

After he slogged through his first round with a 3 over par, the former University of Georgia golfer needed a low round on Friday to make the cut at the AT&T Classic.

He got better than that, starting in the morning group, Watson shot a 6-under 66 dropping him to 3 under for the tournament and tying him with leader Jonathan Byrd for the day's low round.

"Today, I had to. To make the cut, I had to play good," Watson said after signing his scorecard. "I just made a few putts and held on for a 66."

What he mostly did, was get into a rhythm that the rain delays, soaked gloves and backed up tees didn't allow on Thursday.

"It's hard to get a round going," Watson said. "Today, you didn't have to worry about your grips being dry and making sure your ball doesn't squirt anymore."

Watson's groove allowed him to shoot a bogey-free second round, picking up most of his birdies early in the day before the wind picked up, but he was ready for that.

"You know going into it (the wind would pick up)," Watson said. "The rain is what gets you."

Slocum enjoying the ride

Heath Slocum can't wait to drive to the golf course this weekend.

Slocum makes his home in Alpharetta and has spent this week sleeping in his own bed and enjoying noticeable fan support. But the short drive, on Thursday and Friday, wasn't always quick.

That should change today.

"It's been a good feel this week, nice and relaxing all week," said Slocum who is five strokes back at 7 under par. "The weekend will be even less traffic to get here so I'm looking forward to that as well."

Slocum dropped to 7-under with a 4-under par 68 in a bogey-free Friday round.

"I played real solid," Slocum said. "(I'm) kind of keeping the ball in front of me and staying out of trouble. For the most part (I am) not doing anything special, but definitely not doing anything to hurt myself."

Plus, he's having fun playing with a gallery of support that showed up once the clouds parted.

"There weren't that many people out (Thursday) just because of the weather," Slocum said. "But there were a few more people (Friday) and they're definitely rooting you on, so that's always good.

"Hopefully the weekend will be nice weather, get lots of fans out, lots of people supporting and we'll have fun."

Reigning champ looking for luck

Zach Johnson posted his 5-under early in the day on Friday and then had to wait.

And hope.

"I wouldn't mind if the wind picks up a little bit," he said after his round, intimating his hope that no scores dropped too low for him to catch. "That's all I can ask for, I'm in position."

And even after Jonathan Byrd's 12 under, the defending AT&T Classic champ is just seven shots back.

He just needs his putter to heat up. He is averaging nearly two putts per hole, putting him in just the top 56 in putting for the tournament. Putting has been a problem for Johnson all of 2008.

"I'm putting myself in position to make birdies," he said. "Hopefully the putts will fall more (today) and certainly on Sunday, and put a little pressure on the leaders. You never know what can happen."

For Johnson, what has happened has been good, but he's worried about what is happening.

"I'm trying to forget about last year," he said. "The shots, and everything that took place, I am just trying to put that behind me and stick to the present."

Familiar faces

When Zach Johnson took his second AT&T Classic last year, he did it against a field of local favorites.

All of them made the cut, and are within distance of Johnson and one, Camilo Villegas is five back of Byrd at 7 under. Along with Villegas, who won fans over with his bright style and putting form, are Ryuji Imada, Matt Kuchar and Troy Matteson. Imada, a former Georgia player and Kuchar, an Atlanta native and former Georgia Tech standout are tied at 4 under. Tech's Matteson is a stroke behind at 3-under.

Norman, Goydos bow out

Course designer Greg Norman hugged his son and caddie, Gregory after putting out for a bogey on No. 18.

The bogey put Norman at 7 over for the tournament and far from the even-par cut. The course designer started hot on the first day with an early birdie, but from there he never made any run, finishing at 8 over after the first day.

Gone from the field with Norman is Paul Goydos, who finished a shot out of the weekend at 1 over. The PGA veteran who earned recognition by finishing second to Sergio Garcia in last week's Player's Championship bogeyed two of his final five holes to drop out of the field.

Georgia Tech grad David Duval also missed the cut, shooting 11 over through the first two days.