RBC Heritage

Heritage Notes: Pettersson survives cut at Harbour Town

Sabbatini doing better than he expected

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com, ccox@islandpacket.com, mmccombs@islandpacket.comApril 19, 2013 

Rory Sabbatini scopes out his putt on No. 7 during Friday's second round of the 45th RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

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No matter what happens this morning, the streak is alive.

Defending champion Carl Pettersson is inside the cutline. The second round of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing was suspended late Friday when storms moved over Harbour Town Golf Links, but the cut won't move better than 1 over, meaning Pettersson is safe.

The defending champion has now made the Heritage cut the past 20 years.

Pettersson, who won last year's Heritage by five shots, struggled to a 75 on Friday and is 1 over after 36 holes. Past champion Glen Day, local favorite Tommy Gainey and Matt Kuchar are among the notable names also in at 1 over.

The cut could move to 2 over when 17 players complete their second round Saturday. If not, two-time champion Boo Weekley, 2011 champion Brandt Snedeker and 2012 runner-up Zach Johnson -- each at 2 over -- would pack their bags.

Gainey played his last five holes 3 over to make things interesting. Kuchar needed a par on his final hole after going out in 38 on Friday.

Past champions Jim Furyk, Brian Gay, Justin Leonard and Aaron Baddeley are among those safe at even par.

Notable names who will miss the cut are former Bluffton resident Kyle Stanley (4 over), Clemson product Lucas Glover (3 over), 2012 British Open champion Ernie Els (4 over) and crowd favorite John Daly (10 over). Daniel Nisbet, the 2012 Players Amateur champion, also will miss the cut when he completes his final hole Saturday morning. The Australian is 13 over.

Seventy players were 1 over or better when play was suspended Friday. The line could move to 2 over but not better than 1 over.

Regardless of whether the cut is 1 over or 2 over, it will be the slimmest margin between the leader and cutline this PGA Tour season. The previous mark was nine strokes.

SABBATINI EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

Rory Sabbatini arrived on Hilton Head Island earlier this week with few goals in mind. But the South African now finds himself in the thick of things at the Heritage despite a rough go of it so far in 2013.

The 37-year-old enters the weekend tied for seventh after 36 holes at Harbour Town Golf Links, having fired a 2-under-par 69 in each of his first two rounds. The former Arizona Wildcat carded a trio of birdies Friday afternoon and just one bogey, on No. 6.

"Coming in this week I wasn't expecting a whole lot," he said. "I got more out of it than expected so far."

Sabbatini's efforts garnered him his fifth cut in nine attempts so far this year. He has yet to card a top-25 finish this season, with his best finish coming in a tie for 27th at his last stop, last month's Tampa Bay Championship. He is 147th in the FedExCup rankings and is attempting to rally from a 2012 season that saw him miss the cut in 16 of his 29 appearances, which included a pair of top-10 finishes.

"For two days I've actually been doing very well with my ball-striking, especially my irons," he said. "I think if you can putt well around this golf course, it makes things easier."

Sabbatini was worried about Friday after seeing a less-than-promising forecast, but managed to get his round in with little complications, potentially setting him up for a big weekend in Sea Pines.

"I'm very happy," he said. "I looked at the weather forecast this morning, and I was a little concerned that if I could get done with my round today. I'm happy to be done, and posted another good score. So all things considered I'll take where I am right now."

NO SLOW PLAY HERE

Despite a field that expanded by 12 golfers, play wrapped up around 6:35 the first night of the tournament, which is pretty close to the norm, according to PGA Tour official John Bush.

Bush said the tournament simply accounted for the extra players by adding tee times to the front end of each session, two at 7:10 a.m. and two at 11:50 p.m., and the extra players caused no noticeable delays.

The RBC Heritage was the fifth of seven tournaments, including the Humana Challenge, the Tampa Bay Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Shell Houston Open, the Crowne Plaza Invitational and the AT&T National, to have its field expanded from 132 to 144 for this season.

IT'S ON EVERYBODY'S MINDS

As he walked up the fairway with Bill Haas after his tee shot on No. 9, his final hole of the day, Zach Johnson turned to the gallery on his right and asked if anyone knew if authorities had caught the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. When they replied no, Johnson, simply said, "Thanks."

SEE YA

Two players withdrew before Friday's second round. Peter Hanson, who shot 3-over 74 in the first round, didn't give a reason, while Greg Chalmers, who shot a first-round 76, cited a left hand injury.

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