For those who don’t believe golf can be a fickle game, consider Andres Romero’s last 24 hours.
On Thursday, Romero had a 10-under-par 61 at TPC Summerlin and was a shot out of the lead at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. On Friday, he suffered an epic collapse, shooting a 10-over 81 and missing the cut, which was 3 under.
“I didn’t feel like I was swinging well,” Romero said through an interpreter of his 20-shot difference that had him check out at par 142. “I started hitting the ball badly, and my swing wasn’t there. Then I couldn’t make any putts.”
The 32-year-old from Argentina began Friday’s round with a bogey at the par-4 No. 10. But he was able to erase that mistake with a birdie three holes later and was even through his first five holes.
Then his round turned nightmarish. He made bogey at the par-4 15th, then compounded his problems with a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 16th after he found the water twice and had to take two penalty strokes. Romero added consecutive bogeys at the par-3 17th and the par-4 18th, making the turn at 6 over.
He then went to 7 over with a bogey on No. 1, the first hole of his back nine. Then came yet another bogey, this one at the par-4 No. 3, which had Romero at plus-8 for the round and 2 under for the tournament. At that point, he was in danger of missing the cut.
The coup de grace came at the par-4 No. 6, as Romero shanked his second shot and wound up with a double bogey to go to 10 over and wipe out all the good he had accomplished Thursday.
“I can’t find a reason as to why I played so bad,” he said. “It was just a mental problem.”
■ EX-REBELS ADVANCE — On Friday morning, Chad Campbell and Kevin Penner found themselves in the same predicament and seeking the same solution.
The two former UNLV golf stars were sitting at par going into the second round, and they were going to have to shoot at least 3 under if they hoped to make the cut.
Penner and Campbell came through, as Penner had a 6-under 65 and Campbell finished with a 5-under 66 to advance to today’s third round. It was big for both players, who each got into this week’s field via sponsor’s exemption. Campbell has only partial status on the PGA Tour, which limits his playing opportunities. Penner, a 2013 graduate, has no status on the tour and is relying on the generosity of others in his attempt to establish his credentials.
“I really settled down,” Penner said after his 65, which has him in a tie for 27th place. “I was nervous (Thursday), and I wasn’t comfortable, even though I was hitting it well. I knew if I could just start making some putts that I’d be OK.”
Campbell struggled last year, making $510,661 and placing No. 137 on the tour’s money list. He was encouraged by Friday’s round.
“I hit it a little better, and I took better advantage of the conditions,” said Campbell, a 1996 UNLV graduate who is tied for 37th. “Hopefully it will get me going.”
While Campbell and Penner are playing today, as are Charley Hoffman (6 under) and Ryan Moore (10 under), three other former Rebels are done. Andres Gonzales (2 under), Derek Ernst (1 under) and Bill Lunde (even) failed to make the cut.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.