Harry Higgs ‘spiral up’, Joel Dahmen plays with fear between 5 takeaways from 2nd round of RSM Classic

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Georgia — After shooting Friday’s 7-Under 63, Harry Higgs was asked if he’s been performing pretty well lately. He smiled and corrected the writer. “No, I put really well,” Higgs said.

Indeed he has. Higgs took more than three strokes on the greens of Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course on Friday, the second-best performance in the field and it propelled him into part of the 36-hole lead with Cole Hammer and Andrew Putnam at 12-under 130 in the RSM Classic.

“It’s usually pretty good,” Higgs said of his putting. “I feel like I have a really good feeling, and I feel like I read the greens really well, so that should be pretty easy. The only poor putt I hit today was pretty much the first one I had that was slow and I just kind of laughed.

His ballstriking has been equally impressive. Higgs has hit 33 of 36 greens in two rounds.

“The way I’m putting, I just have to get it somewhere on the green and it’s probably going to be close to going into the hole,” he said.

Higgs struggled last season and this season plays from the Nos. 126-150 category. His self-confidence faltered and he had to take a good look in the mirror to realize that he was his own worst enemy.

“It’s miserable, it sucks, but it’s part of what we have to do,” he said of the struggle to keep privileges every season. “You have to deal with it. It’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to feel the pressure. It’s all how you react to it, right? Whether you want to run a little and hide in the corner. Like I wouldn’t say I necessarily ran and hid in the corner, but I was very down.

Higgs recently talked about how instead of going down, he’s trying to go up and not be so hard on himself. His attitude on court has improved and he has shown signs of life in his game. His Friday 63 was already his fourth bogey-free round of 65 or less this season.

“I’m going to get out of this rut ​​at some point, which I felt like I was really close to in Bermuda and then I played a bad day on Friday. You know, a few weeks ago in Mexico, it felt like at least I was — the tires were spinning the other way, I was going to get out,” he said. “Come here and sure, I could do a lot of things better than I’ve done so far this week, but I think I’m tied for first place, so you can take it easy, man. Like it’s OK to take some bad shots and have a little smile and joke.

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Putnam ready to attack over the weekend

RSM classic from 2022

RSM classic from 2022

Andrew Putnam plays his third stroke on the eighth green during the second round of the 2022 RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort Plantation Course in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

A pair of 65s over 36 holes tied Andrew Putnam for the lead at the RSM Classic, and he had little to complain about.

“Man, I did everything right. Honestly, I didn’t really miss many shots,” he said. “Hit a lot of iron shots at close range and just played great golf.”

Putnam is making his eighth start of the 2022-23 Tour season and is a perfect 8-for-8 in making the weekend. Improved driving accuracy, his usual solid putting and above average iron play got him rolling. He finished T-2 behind Keegan Bradley at the Zozo Championship in Japan. What else should he do to get back into the winning circle for the first time since 2018?

“Seeing how Keegan won I feel like he had to stay aggressive and attack, and that’s the key to winning here,” he said.

Hammer games with house money

RSM classic from 2022

RSM classic from 2022

Cole Hammer reacts to his putt on the 18th green during the second round of the 2022 RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort Seaside Course in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

It wasn’t quite as nice as Thursday’s 64 at Plantation, but Cole Hammer followed up with a 4-under 66 at Seaside Course on Friday to share the RSM Classic’s 36-hole lead with Putnam and Higgs.

Hammer made seven birdies in the second round, but set up three bogeys, including two in a row at Nos. 7 and 8.

“I was definitely a bit depressed after 7 and 8. I put myself in a great position to make birdies and I walked out with two bogeys, which is almost unforgivable, especially when there are birdies to be made there,” he said . “But coming back by shooting on 9 and then making a birdie on 10 and immediately wiping out those bogeys on two of the harder holes was huge for momentum and for confidence. Then I rolled one in on 12 and then just played a little steady golf from there. Yes, it was obviously a rollercoaster, but sometimes it is.”

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Hammer talked about the importance of patience on Thursday and that was also key on Friday.

“I didn’t freak out or anything like that when I went into the back nine, and thank God I didn’t because it gave me a chance to play some golf,” he said.

Hammer, who is not a member with conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour, was given a sponsorship waiver for the tournament on Sunday and he’s making the most of it halfway through.

“I shouldn’t be here,” he said. “I was five over par through 20 holes in the Houston Open and came back and made the cut and then got a call that night that I was this week and my fall kept getting longer.”

Dahmen plays with fear

RSM classic from 2022

RSM classic from 2022

Joel Dahmen reacts on the second green during round two of the 2022 RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort Plantation Course in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

When Joel Dahmen won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in 2021, he landed a job on the PGA Tour for the next two years. But that job security is threatening to run out, and he is not too happy about that.

“I have been playing with fear for an eternity, ever since I actually got my Tour card. I am terrified of having a job. I’ve never really had one,” he said Friday. “Financially a pretty good place with the family right now, and I just don’t want to give this up. One of the most coveted things in all of sports is a PGA Tour card. Yeah, I just don’t want to give this up.”

If Dahmen continues to play the way he has lately, he shouldn’t worry too much about that. He finished T-3 at the World Wide Technologies Championship in Mayakoba, his best finish since his win. On Friday, Dahmen, 35, shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 on Sea Island Resort’s Plantation Course to improve to 11-under 131 and one stroke off the lead at the RSM Classic.

“I’ve always played a little bit better when I’ve had my back against the wall a little bit, and it’s hard to say you’re back against the wall when you start a year, but for the first time in a few years was it different.” for me,” he said. “It can turn sour quickly. A year and a half, actually two and a half years of playing with freedom, I’ve never had that in my career. So yeah, like teeing off in Napa (at the season-opening Fortinet Championship) was like okay, we’re back to square one. If you don’t play well, you don’t have a job. I was certainly aware of that.”

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Dahmen said he worked on a golf course and spent six months as a clerk in college, and wouldn’t know where to start building a resume. Not that he ever wants to.

“Any job where I’m not in charge, where I don’t get – I go to work when I want. Yes, every job is scary,” he said.

No problems for Noh through 36 holes

RSM classic from 2022

RSM classic from 2022

Seung-Yul Noh walks on the third green during round two of the 2022 RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort Plantation Course in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

After finishing T-64 at the Cadence Bank Houston Open, Seung-Yul Noh flew home on Sunday. He was the fifth substitute to enter the RSM Classic on Monday and thought his fall was over.

“So I’m relaxed like Monday and Tuesday, no golf, no training. And then on Tuesday afternoon I finally got into the field and didn’t get here until late Tuesday night, no practice lap,” he said.

He hasn’t had any problems with it for 36 holes. Noh, 31, followed up a 2-under 68 at Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course with a bogey-free 8-under 64 at Plantation Course on Friday.

Noh last won the 2014 Zurich Classic of New Orleans when it was an individual event. In 2017, he spent two years completing his mandatory military service in South Korea and his game hasn’t been the same since – he hasn’t had a top-10 finish in his last 40 starts. In those two years, he said he played no more than 40 times and was unable to practice.

“When I came on the Tour I felt like an amateur because I lose confidence, lose whole routines, lose everything,” he said. “I’m not going to say it’s a waste of time (being in the military). Like I had a good experience… except (before) the golf career.

But Noh qualified for the Fortinet Championship and Houston on Monday, where he shot 62 to earn one of four spots in the field. On Friday, he hit five birdies in a row from the fourth hole.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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