Southpointe Golf Club can be a very tricky course when the wind is blowing and the greens are firm. Those were the conditions in the afternoon Friday for the second round of the Mylan Classic.
That is why Canadian Brad Fritsch was extremely happy to tee off with the morning group because by the time the wind started to become a factor, he was almost done with his round.
Fritsch, who shot a 7-under 64 to take a one-shot lead heading into the weekend, said that the course conditions for the players in the morning group were much different -- and more favorable.
"I saw the forecast for [Friday] and saw that the wind was supposed to pick up and so I knew it would be very good for me to get out with the early group," Fritsch said. "I guess you could say it was the luck of the draw."
Fritsch, who is the only player who shot 64 Friday, said he played his final five holes in the wind. But it wasn't a factor in three of those holes because it was actually favorable to the players. On two of the holes it was a factor -- Nos. 16 and 18 -- he had to scramble to save par.
"On 18, the wind was blowing all over the place and for my approach, I actually got three different clubs but eventually you have to hit the ball, so I did," Fritsch said. "That [wind] makes this a different course because on some of the holes it will make you take a line that makes you uncomfortable because the slope of the fairways is so severe, and then also hitting into the greens."
Fritsch said the greens were slower earlier in the day -- "The greens were a very good speed to make putts," he said -- but began to dry out and firm up by the end of his round.
Not surprising, the player in second place -- Cliff Kresge -- also was in the morning group and shot a 65 to sit at 11 under.
Kresge leads the field with 14 birdies through 36 holes and he said that the key to playing early in the day was taking advantage of the lack of wind and going at the pins.
"Honestly, I like to use the wind as my friend but a lot of guys don't," Kresge said. "This course will get tougher later and guys will have to be careful with their iron shots going into greens because there are some funky areas around them that if you miss it can be a tough up and down."
One player who managed to navigate the windy conditions was Casey Wittenberg, who shot a 67 and sits at 10 under in third place.
Wittenberg, who started the round in second, said one easy example of how the wind changes things came at No. 7, a 473-yard par 4.
"[Thursday, without wind] I hit my driver then my 7-iron into the green," Wittenberg said. "[Friday], I hit my driver then 3-iron from right around the same spot. That's a significant difference in clubs to use for basically the same shot. But I was able to make some shots and stay out of trouble, and that is the key. Now, hopefully, things even themselves out for the whole field over the next two days."
Ed Loar said he was ecstatic with the way he played in the windy conditions as he shot 69 and sits at 9 under in fourth, three shots back and tied with Robert Streb, who was the co-leader with Loar after the first round.
Loar said that the wind was gusting on some of the holes and that made it difficult to go at some holes, so he had to play it safe several times to stay out of trouble.
"I said before the round, because I could tell it was going to be windy, that anything under par would be a great score for the afternoon group given how the course played," Loar said. "The wind is a great equalizer, especially on this course because it is hard to figure out which way it is blowing from hole to hole.
"But I feel really good about how I am playing and I was happy that I followed up a great round Thursday with a very solid round [Friday]. Now it is just about keeping it going for two more days."
Two players -- Nicholas Thompson, Peter Lonard -- are tied for sixth at 8 under. Lonard fired a 65 and had the best front nine of the round when he shot 30.
There were 62 players who made the cut at 2 under.golf
Paul Zeise: email@example.com, 412-263-1720 and Twitter @paulzeise.