Hobbled Wheatcroft stays in contention at Mylan Classic

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 9:33 p.m.

His distance control deserted him at times. His putting didn't do him many favors.

And he limped around a sloping course that is no bargain to walk with two good wheels.

For all that conspired against Steve Wheatcroft on Friday at the Mylan Classic, nothing compared with what happened to Blayne Barber following the second round of the Web.com Tour event.

Barber, who had been tied for second after shooting 5-under-par 66, was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Barber signed for a birdie on No. 16 when he actually made par.

Barber called it an honest mistake, and honesty is what garnered the 23-year-old national attention in November.

Barber disqualified himself from PGA Tour Qualifying School after advancing to the second stage for not assessing himself the correct penalty in a tournament. Barber took a one-stroke penalty after he moved a leaf while making a swing in a bunker, but the former Walker Cup player later concluded that he should have docked himself two shots.

Barber disqualified himself a week following the penalty after praying about what to do.

Barber's act drew him widespread praise, and he received encouraging messages from several PGA Tour players, including 2012 U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson.

Barber had just finished talking to reporters about how he was at peace with his decision — it cost him a chance to play on the PGA Tour — when it became apparent there was a problem with his scorecard. A correction to his card would have had to have been made before Barber left the scoring area, and less than 15 minutes after he addressed the media, Barber was disqualified.

“Somehow I missed that one on (No. 16),” Barber said through a Web.com Tour spokesman. “It's unfortunate because it could have been corrected. I know it sounds careless, and to be honest I don't know what emotions I am going through right now.”

Wheatcroft experienced his share of frustration, though the local favorite held his round together and kept himself in contention at Southpointe Golf Club.

Wheatcroft shot 1-under 70 with a birdie-birdie finish, and the Washington resident enters the third round five shots behind leader Whee Kim, who fired a 65.

“Hopefully, this is my bad round and we got that out of the way and I've got a couple of low (scores) in me,” said Wheatcroft, who was tied for second after the first round.

Wheatcroft's most immediate concern after the second round was his left foot. He started to feel discomfort just above his heel on the back nine, and that progressed to what the Trinity graduate described as a stabbing sensation.

The bad news: Wheatcroft has no idea how he hurt his foot, and the hills he has to negotiate the next two rounds don't care. The good news: His local connections could pay off in a way he never anticipated when he returned to the course where he once worked and is less than 10 minutes from where he grew up.

Dan Hennessey, a Bethel Park graduate who grew up playing golf with Wheatcroft, is caddying for his old friend this week. Hennessey's brother is a physiatrist in Greensburg, and those doctors specialize in nerves, muscles and bones.

Wheatcroft hopes he doesn't need to see the doctor after spending Friday night icing his foot and also taking Advil to reduce inflammation.

What will make Wheatcroft feel better is if he starts hitting his approach shots to the pin. Wheatcroft had short irons in his hands a handful of times on the front nine Friday but couldn't capitalize. His putter also let him down.

“I've got to get these wedges dialed in,” Wheatcroft said. “I can't afford another 1-under, not with the way these guys are going.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

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