WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - It's crunch time at the Greenbrier Classic and some of the players know that this weekend will be one of their last chances to make a final stand on the PGA Tour schedule. Matt Every took advantage of his opportunities Friday, shooting a sizzling 8-under-par 62 to seize a one-stroke lead after the second round on the par-70, 7,287-yard Old White TPC course. The former University of Florida standout stood at 9-under 131 through two rounds.
There wasn't a whole lot of separation, though, as 25 players were within four shots of Every and there were 67 other rounds below par.
"It's coming down to the end of the year and a lot of guys are trying to get inside the top 125 for the money to keep their job next year,'' said Every, who was alluding to one of the ways that players can keep their PGA Tour cards. "It's a big week for a lot of people. If you play good it can change your life.''
There was a logjam for second place with five players tied at 8-under 132, including Thursday's opening-round co-leader Johnson Wagner, who turned in an even-par 70 Friday after an 8-under 62. Tommy Gainey, Thursday's other co-leader, was another shot back at 7-under 133 after a 1-over 71 Friday. Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion, had a 4-under 66 to join Gainey and two others.
Friday was also important because it was cut day as the field was trimmed to the top 70 and ties.
Phil Mickelson was among the casualties as "Lefty'' failed to make play on the Classic weekend for the third straight year, finishing at 2-over 142. He showed promise early Friday morning, charging out to 4 under on the front nine to get to even for the tournament, but had three bogeys and just one birdie on the back nine. It's the only event in Mickelson's career in which he hasn't made the cut.
Others who missed the cut included Stuart Appleby, the inaugural Classic champ in 2010, Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters winner, 1998 PGA champion Vijay Singh, Aaron Baddeley, Ken Duke, a first-time winner at 44 years old on the Tour two weeks ago, and 1993 U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen.
Pat Carter, the 13-time West Virginia Amateur champion, who received a sponsor's exemption into the Classic as last year's State Am champ, didn't make the cut and finished at 8-over 148. The insurance executive from Huntington, who was just one of two amateurs in the field of PGA Tour regulars, turned in a 3-over 73 Friday.
Every made eight birdies in a mistake-free round Friday, a rare showing this year for the Daytona Beach, Fla., native. He's missed 10 cuts but has shown promise with a pair of top-10 finishes.
"I played really well tee to green,'' said Every, who opened with a 63 in the 2010 Classic before fading to a tie for 66th. "I finally made some putts. I haven't made anything all year. It just finally happened.