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August 13 — Back-to-back-to-back birdies on 11, 12, and 13 helped Matt Kuchar take a one-shot lead atop a crowded 2010 PGA Championship leaderboard at Whistling Straits.

Kuchar fired a 3-under 69 in his fog-delayed second round and was at 8-under in the clubhouse after carding an opening-round 67. An eagle-2 on the sixth and a bunch of birdies moved Simon Khan into a share of the lead after 15 holes, but a bogey at the 16th dropped him back into a second-place tie with Nick Watney.

Long day. Kuchar and Khan were among the players who had to finish their first rounds early Friday after fog delayed Thursday’s play for more than three hours. Golfers had to wait another two hours and 40 minutes for the pea soup to lift Friday before finishing their first rounds.

The delay certainly had no ill affect on Kuchar’s play. “I feel like my game’s been really good this year,” he told TNT after finishing a long day at the office.

Good year. No kidding. The 32-year-old from Georgia Tech leads the PGA Tour in scoring and top-10 finishes this season. The 1997 amateur champion also finished in the top 30 in three majors in 2010.

Heads up! Phil Mickelson, who also finished his first round early Friday, injected some drama into the field when he hit a spectator with a wayward drive at 15. To make amends, Lefty signed one of the white golf gloves he carries for just such occasions, “Sorry, Phil Mickelson,” with a frowny face in the first “o.”

Mickelson had more fun when he knocked his second shot into a green-side bunker. He clubbed it out and made an eight-footer for par to get to 2-under for the day.

On the 18th (his ninth hole of the day), Mickelson had to take a drop and a penalty when his second shot from a tricky lie in a fairway bunker found the hazard. His bogey putt edged the hole and he walked away with a double to make the turn at 1-over for the tourney. With a birdie on his 17th, Phil finished his second round at 2-under for the tourney.

“I fought hard today,” Mickelson said after his day. “I’m still within striking distance and played a good back nine to shoot 3-under for the day and get back in it.”

Watson starts late and fast. Thanks to the second consecutive fog delay, Bubba Watson teed off after 6 p.m. ET and birdied his first two holes to move to 6-under. With the wind gusting to 20 m.p.h., Watson missed short birdie and par putts on his third hole, the par-3 12th, to drop back to 5-under.

Tiger Woods, who continued to work with caddie Steve Williams on keeping his head still through his swing, striped his first drive of the day after dinner on the east coast, at 6:45 p.m. After a so-so approach shot, Woods settled for par on his first hole. Tiger had an up-and-down first round but posted a birdie on his 18th hole to finish at 1-under.

Trunk-slammer? With the projected cut at the lowest 70 players and ties, it seemed certain that New England golfer Tim Petrovic would not play weekend golf. After starting out with a birdie on his first hole of the tourney Thursday, Petrovic was 5-over and shared 116th  place nearing the end of his second round.

(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out on the Boston Golf Examiner and National Golf Examiner websites. You may reach Kay at mlek@comcast.net)

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