Weeks: DeLaet overcomes injury to contend at PGA

Bob Weeks
8/8/2014 6:12:22 PM
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First it was the flu and now it's his neck.

It's remarkable in itself that Graham DeLaet was able to complete 36 holes at the PGA Championship but even more amazing that he's within shouting distance of the lead.

After getting over a raging bout of stomach flu early in the week, DeLaet added to his ailments when he tweaked his neck at the gym in his morning warm up Friday. Only a quick crunch from his chiropractor Dr. Craig Davies and a handful of Advils got him to the first tee, but the pain got progressively worse as his day went on.

"I didn't think I was going to be able to hit the ball very flush at all," DeLaet admitted. "I just shortened my swing a little bit and worked with what I had. I was just kind of bunting it out there and making do."

All through the round, DeLaet was rubbing his neck and turning awkwardly to avoid further pain. Davies monitored the patient's progress from outside the ropes.

The makeshift swing worked for him as he posted a three-under 68, making him one of just a handful of players with two rounds in the 60s over a soaking Valhalla Golf Club that was drenched early in the day and received constant sprinkles as the afternoon wore on.

"It was a good day," DeLaet said. "I gave myself a number of good chances and I was able to roll a few good putts in, which was nice. I had a little hiccup there on two – well, maybe more than a hiccup – but I stayed patient and I was really seeing the lines well and I was putting well."

The hiccup or maybe full-on barf came when he four-putted the second hole (his 11th) from just 30 feet.

After missing his second putt from just four feet, DeLaet carelessly tapped his third attempt wide of the hole before tapping in.

However he managed a double bounce-back, following up the putting disaster with two birdies.

"All things considered, when you take away the four-putting it was probably one of the best rounds I've played as a pro," said the bearded wonder. "With the neck and the weather and obviously a tough golf course I'm very happy with the way things went."

In addition to a couple of fine rounds, DeLaet is also happy to be playing on the weekend at one of the big four. He's missed the cut in four of the five he's played coming into this week, admitting that he may have built the events up into something bigger than they are.

But with the flu and neck injury, his expectations were tempered somewhat, he acknowledged, freeing him up to simply play golf.

"It's by far the best I've gone into the weekend in a major," he stated before heading in to another session with his chiropractor, "so I'm excited about the opportunity coming up."

As long as the muscle relaxers don't run out and he doesn't get sick again, he may have a good chance for a high finish at Valhalla.

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