Conrad Shindler made his second start on the PGA Tour since 2019 this week at the Travelers Championship as one of four players who Monday qualified.
CROMWELL, Conn. — At PGA Tour events, there’s always drama on Fridays.
It doesn’t usually involve players with the best golf odds; it’s about the players grinding down the stretch to make the cut.
This was Conrad Shindler Friday at the Travelers Championship.
Schindler Monday qualified for the tournament, and following an opening round score of even-par, he knew he needed a solid round Friday to make it to the weekend.
The top 65 players and ties advance to the weekend at most PGA Tour events.
Some may not realize that players who miss the cut don’t receive a paycheck and don’t earn any FedEx Cup points.
For someone like Shindler, this is everything.
He is chasing points to get into the top 200 at the end of the season to earn a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, and a paycheck at least means not taking a net loss for the week.
That’s all Shindler could think about Friday, well before his 1:50 p.m. tee time.
“[I had been thinking about it] when I woke up this morning; when I went to sleep last night,” he said. “Anyone that says they don’t pay attention to [the cut line], I am going to say they’re a liar.”
Following the morning wave, the cut line was 1-under, and given the good scoring conditions, the thought was it would move to 2-under.
Shindler knew he needed at least a 2-under par round to make the weekend.
The 33-year-old started on the back-9 and made two straight pars. Then he made his first birdie of the day at the par-4 12th. He didn’t make a birdie on Thursday until his 13th hole of the day, so things were already trending up.
Shindler followed the birdie up with another one on the par-5 13th. He hit the green in two and two-putted to move to 2-under par.
Then, after three straight gritty pars, he hit a beautiful approach on the 17th hole to five feet and knocked in the putt. And then he made birdie on the 18th hole to close his front-9 in style.
While making the turn at 4-under par was great, he wasn’t the only one scoring. Even though the cut line was 2-under, there was still a chance it could shift to 3-under.
On the first hole, Shindler missed the fairway by only three yards and was forced to chip out due to a nasty lie in the rough. His first bogey of the day dropped him to 3-under, and then it was full grind mode.
It’s a tough place for any player grinding to make the cut, especially a lesser-known player like Shindler.
The front nine was deserted as the fans watched Rory McIlory and others finish on the other side of the course or left for the day.
Rory McIlroy makes double bogey on 15 after chipping his third shot into the water. pic.twitter.com/vUqjc0Hgst
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 24, 2022
At one point, the only people watching Shinder’s group were marshalls for each particular hole, Shindler’s father, and this writer.
Following the bogey on the first hole he strung together two pars and then the entire group – Shindler, Beau Hossler and Andrew Novak – birdied the difficult fourth hole.
He was back to 4-under and got some breathing room no matter what the cut ended up being, but the work was still not over.
Shindler still had five holes to play with the cut line at 2-under but still an outside chance at moving to 3-under.
Following two pars, Shindler got to the par-4 seventh.
In the middle of his downswing, a ball landed in the fairway close to the tee box making a loud thud sound. That little distraction led to him blocking his tee shot just a tad right and into a fairway bunker.
It got worse when he got to his ball, which was up against the lip. All he could do was hack the ball back to the fairway, leaving 99 yards for his third shot — not what he was looking for when trying to make the cut at a PGA Tour event.
Fortunately, Shindler stuck the wedge to five feet and made the par putt.
He let a small fist-pump go as it was a great par and kept him at 4-under, which was two shots inside the cut line. It was clear at that point it would be 2-under par.
Shindler parred his last two holes to finish the day and tournament at 4-under. That 66 was good for T-50 and a weekend tee time. Not to mention FedEx Cup points to go along with a paycheck.
“It was a big round of golf,” he said. “They are all important for me right now chasing that [top] 200. I stayed in it all day. Even after we made bogey on 1, I said, ‘All we can do is stick to the target and make aggressive swings.’
“The thought of leaving our target never left us. We stuck to our target every shot and committed to it. All in all, it was a good day.”
Shindler will play Saturday’s third round with Austin Cook at 9:45 a.m. And while he’s currently tied for 50th, TPC River Highlands is a course where any player can go low, so there’s the chance to climb up the leaderboard over the weekend.
Now that he’s made the cut, Shindler can play with a little less stress.
“This weekend it’s no holds barred,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to change our strategy and just start firing at flags, but we should definitely feel a little more free. We have house money, so let’s just get more.”
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