JASON DAY has missed the cut on his return to the tournament that began his run of five victories last year, starting the week with an illness before carding a 2-over 74 during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Day opened the tournament with an even-par round of 72 but couldn't improve on that on Friday to make the weekend's action.
Recognised as one of the longest players on Tour, Day’s game off the tee was one of his downfalls at Torrey Pines Golf Course after the US PGA Championship winner hit only 10 of 28 fairways over two days on the South and North courses.
However, there may have been more reasons behind Day's underwhelming performance in La Jolla.
Before the tournament even began, Day told the media he had been “as sick as a dog” and then pulled out of the Wednesday pro-am.
Heading into the weekend, the leaders at Farmers Insurance Open are American Gary Woodland and Korea’s K.J. Choi, who both sit 9-under.
Despite no Australian featuring at the pointy end of this week's PGA Tour leader board, there are still a handful of good news story for Australian fans.
Teen sensation Ryan Ruffels made the cut on his professional debut, assuring himself his first ever tournament pay cheque.
It’s the second time the Australian has made the cut on the PGA Tour after surviving Friday as an amateur at the 2015 Canadian Open.
This week in southern California, where the 17-year-old grew up, Ruffels opened his tournament with a 2-under 70 and followed that with a 1-over 73 to survive the cut by a solitary stroke.
VIRAL VIDEO - THE "RIDER" CUP:
Through 16 holes on Friday, the young Victorian golfer carded three birdies and three bogeys.
After another bogey on his 17th hole when his approach landed in the bunker short of the green, Ruffels was in danger of missing the cut had he dropped another shot at the par-5 18th.
His final tee shot landed in the right rough, meaning Ruffels needed three shots to reach the green, but a 111-yard third shot to seven feet gave the teenager a look at birdie.
Unfortunately he missed that putt, par was good enough to earn Ruffels a Saturday tee time at Torrey Pines.
Ruffels will be joined on the weekend by compatriots John Senden (T57), Australian Open champion Matt Jones (T57) and the rejuvenated Aaron Baddeley (T38), who has now made five cuts on Tour using his limited conditional status.
Playing the North Course, Baddeley began the second round at 1-over after a Thursday 73, but birdies on his opening two holes sent him under-par for the tournament.
But standing on the 15th tee, the Victorian was 2-over and looked set for an early ticket home.
Baddeley then got hot. Birdies on the par-4 15th and par-4 16th got the three-time PGA Tour winner back to even-par, but with the cut likely to be under-par, Baddeley needed to pick up at least another shot at the par-5 18th.
Instead, he eagled the last and heads into the weekend as the best-placed Australian, though still seven shots behind the leaders.
MATT JONES' SWING THOUGHT:
For the other Australians in the field, Day wasn’t the only one to underperform in La Jolla as 9 of the 13 who teed it up also missed the cut.
Victorian Jarrod Lyle’s attempt at regaining his full PGA Tour card took another hit as he missed a second cut in as many weeks.
Currently playing on a 20-tournament medical exemption, Lyle now has just six events remaining to accrue the necessary $US209,000 to earn back his full status on the world’s best tour.
Marc Leishman and Rod Pampling (both even-par) missed the cut by a stroke, while a 3-under 69 wasn’t enough for Cameron Smith to make up for a 4-over 76 Thursday, the Queenslander finishing the tournament at 1-over.
The rest of the Australians to miss the cut were Geoff Ogilvy (2-over), Cameron Percy (4-over), Rhein Gibson (6-over) and Robert Allenby (12-over).
Gibson will be particularly disappointed as a 1-under first round was cancelled out by a horror 7-over second round.
PHIL MICKELSON'S ENCOUNTER WITH A FENCE:
FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN SECOND ROUND LEADERBOARD
|T38||AARON BADDELEY (AUS)||-2|
|T57||RYAN RUFFELS (AUS)||-1|
|T57||JOHN SENDEN (AUS)||-1|
|T57||MATT JONES (AUS)||-1|
|mc||ROD PAMPLING (AUS)|
|MC||JASON DAY (AUS)|
|MC||MARC LEISHMAN (AUS)|
|MC||GEOFF OGILVY (AUS)|
|MC||CAMERON PERCY (AUS)|
|MC||JARROD LYLE (AUS)|
|MC||CAMERON SMITH (AUS)|
|MC||RHEIN GIBSON (AUS)|
|MC||ROBERT ALLENBY (AUS)|
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