— The alarm first sounded at 3:50 a.m. Friday, and Rickie Fowler hit the snooze button. He eventually rose and arrived at TPC River Highlands at about 4:45 for his 6:50 tee time.
For a California kid, it was like being on West Coast time.
"Very early," said Fowler, who shot a 5-under-par 65 in the second round of the Travelers Championship. "I flew out here Monday night [from California], got up at 6 o'clock Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning for my tee times. Luckily, I got to sleep in to 8 yesterday. Back to a 4 o'clock wakeup call [Friday]."
After shooting a 1-over 71 Thursday, Fowler played well Friday. He started on the 10th tee and scored two birdies before the turn.
Fowler later made an eagle on the par 4 No. 2 and was at 6-under before ending his round with a bogey on No. 9.
Last year, Fowler missed the cut in Cromwell. With a 136 he had no problem making the cut of 138 Friday.
"It was nice to be able to get some birdies going and get everything going in the right direction," he said.
Putting Costs Harrington
Padraig Harrington entered the day in a four-way tie for the lead at 6-under par. He finished the day lamenting his failure in one crucial area.
"Missed a lot of putts," said Harrington, who struggled to a 1-over 71 in the second round, leaving him at 5-under and in tie for 23rd. "It's the nature of the game. You need to be holing those putts in order to feel good about your game."
He didn't fare exceptionally well off the tee, either. His tee shot on the par-5 13th went out of bounds left, leading to a bogey on one of the course's best scoring holes. He followed with another bogey the par-4 14th. He had four bogeys overall.
But in general, Harrington said, his ball-striking remains solid enough for him to feel confident heading into the final 36 holes.
"I feel like there are a couple of good scores in me," he said. "But I'm disappointed."
Perry Finds His Way
Defending champ Kenny Perry made the cut by shooting a 68 (137). After bogeying his first two holes, that didn't look too likely. But he rallied with four birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way. … Hunter Mahan, the 2007 champion, missed the cut (72—143). He had scored in the 60s in 15 of his previous 19 rounds in Cromwell. He wasn't in that class in the first two rounds this year. At the par-4 15th, he drove the ball off the cart path right and deep into the thick brush. He took a penalty stroke and dropped no closer to the hole. The drop was on top of the hill near a residence. He needed two chips to reach the green. And one putt gave him a bogey. … John Daly (70—141) also missed the cut. … After shooting 70 in the first round, Tom Gleeton of the CC of Waterbury, the Connecticut Section PGA representative for his Spring Stroke Play Championship, shot a 77. Open qualifiers Derek Gillespie (68—140), Jason Caron (69-142), Brett Stegmaier (74-146) and Chris Rogers (73—149) didn't make the cut either.
After a 69 safely put Tim Petrovic (136) into this weekend's play, he spoke about The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp, one of the co-beneficiaries of the tournament. He had attended a gathering of about 10 campers after his Celebrity Pro-Am round Wednesday. He was inspired.
"Our charity, For Every Child, hopetotes.org, helps neglected and abused kids," said Petrovic, formerly of Glastonbury. "It's a similar kind of charity to Hole In The Wall. But their kids are sick and receiving treatment."
Petrovic said The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp founder, Paul Newman, was "Mr. Charity. If I can get close to his level in terms of helping, it'll be unbelievable." Newman died in 2008.
Two-time champion Stewart Cink said a few better decisions Thursday could have turned his 70 into a 64. He nearly backed up his word Friday. A bogey on the par-4 18th left him at 65 (135).
"I try to stay away from expectations, but I felt confident that if I hit some better shots and I gave myself some more birdie putts, eventually some of them would go," Cink said. … Billy Andrade finished with a 4-over 74 to miss the cut in his 23rd appearance at the Travelers Championship. The tournament was the first of the season for Andrade, now an analyst for the Golf Channel who received a sponsor's exemption to play. "It was really nice of them to do that," he said. "I hadn't played, and I don't want to take a spot away from another player, but to have a chance to play here a 23rd year in a row is pretty special." Andrade said he would like to play again next year. … The crowd Friday appeared much larger than that of Thursday, which was hurt by the afternoon thunderstorm that drove lots of fans home. At midday It took about 30 minutes for cars to get to the parking lot from Main Street. Tournament director Nathan Grube was encouraged. "The numbers in every category [concessions, merchandise and parking] are up," he said. "It might not have looked as crowded [Wednesday and Thursday] in certain areas because there are more things to do and places to go like the Fan Zone." … Kevin Stadler was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard after his first round 73 Thursday.
Courant staff writers Zac Boyer, Mike Anthony and Tom Yantz contributed to this notebook.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun