Valero Texas Open Halfway Hut: Lone State State experts thrive, Rory McIlroy misses the cut

News, stats, quotes and social after 36 holes on the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

It was a strange day at the Valero Texas Open.

On the one hand, it was all about the golfers who love playing in Texas and/or the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

Of those, Ryan Palmer leads on 10-under 134 after a second round 66 with Kevin Chappell, Matt Kuchar and Dylan Frittelli sharing second on 8-under.

On the other hand, there were the stories about the golfers who won't be playing the weekend: Rory McIlroy missed the cut and Hideki Matsuyama withdrew with a neck injury after just nine holes of his second round.

The latter is now facing a fretful wait to see if an ongoing problem will clear and allow him to defend his Masters title next week at Augusta National.

The former never found any kind of rhythm in his Masters warm-up, adding a second round 73 to his Thursday 72.

About the only good thing to emerge from the week is that the Northern Irishman's task ahead of next Thursday is simple: he needs to improve just about everything.

He ranked 81st for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 101st for Approach, 34th Around the Green and 103rd for Putting.

For Palmer, a four-time top 10-finisher on the track, there are no such concerns. He's in his happy place.

"I was born and raised in Texas, and I lived here for about three years," he said after posting six birdies and no bogeys. "I love the city of San Antonio and I love the course.

"I like it because it's not easy. It's a ball-striker's golf course and if I'm driving it well, I feel like I've got a good chance."

The men behind him are no less keen on the Lone Star State.

Chappell is a former winner and runner-up in the tournament on this course, Kuchar has six top 25s on the layout and is a seven-time top three finisher in Texas, and Frittelli is an Austin resident.

They all head into the weekend knowing that victory not only offers glory, but also the final ticket to Augusta National.

Stats

Incredibly nine of the 11 winners of this event when held on this course were tied third or better after just 36 holes.

Nine of the last 10 were in that position and also each of the last seven.

The last four winners ranked top four for SG Approach and four of the last six winners ranked top three for Greens in Regulation.

That's great news for the current top four and here are their current rankings in those categories: Palmer (30th Approach, 33rd GIR), Chappell (16th, 50th), Kuchar (33rd, 50th), Frittelli (7th, 4th).

If that hands a clear advantage to Frittelli, also note that great course form is a plus here.

Quotes

Ryan Palmer - leading on 10-under

"Awesome. Bogey-free on this golf course is good any day, but when you throw in the winds we had, it makes it that much more special. I'm excited the way I'm driving the ball again.

"It's the 100th anniversary this year, the second oldest golf tournament on the PGA TOUR. I was having lunch today, and I look over and I see Hale Irwin, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson sitting there having lunch. When you see the greats like that come back, it means a lot to be a part of this tournament."

Kevin Chappell - tied second on 8-under

"I really am proud of the way I played. I hung in there. I'm excited about where my game is because I've don't think I played great yet. I'm excited to be here and seeing some form and excited for the opportunity this weekend.

"I feel at ease around this place. My soul and this golf course get along. I really enjoy being here, my family enjoys being here. It's hard not to have a good week."

Matt Kuchar - tied second on 8-under

"I'm a guy who tends to keep the ball out of trouble and this place you have to do that. The trouble that lies around here can really cost you a big number and hurt your round significantly. So I enjoy when accuracy is a little bit more of a premium than other places."

Dylan Frittelli - tied second on 8-under

"I'm used to these conditions coming from Austin. So I did feel at home a little bit, but I was still really impressed. My game's been trending in the right direction, feeling really comfortable from tee to green right now, which is kind of the forte of my game and the thing that propelled me onto the PGA TOUR."

Social

Ouch:

It had two goes:

Not good news for McIlroy:

A little curtsey:

Jordan Spieth being Jordan Spieth:

READ MORE: Valero Texas Open: Rory McIlroy opens up on Masters scouting mission

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