After Michael Block rolled in another birdie on the South Course’s 9th hole, the ‘Block Party’ was alive and well.
At that point, Block sat at 3-under for the championship. He made three birdies and three bogies on the front, thus posting an even par score on the opening nine Thursday.
The day before, Block shot a 3-under 69 on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines. He was in prime position to make the weekend, an impressive feat for any PGA teaching professional at a tournament like this.
But somebody turned off the lights on the back nine.
Just like that, the party was over.
He began the closing side with a benign two-putt par at the par-4 10th. But then, he short-sided himself on the par-3 11th. Block could not get up and down from the green side bunker right of the pin at 11, thus settling for a bogey.
His missed approaches and failure to save par around the greens were consistent themes on Friday. In fact, Block lost 1.889 shots around the greens on the South Course, ranking 76th. Only 78 players teed it up on the South Friday.
This trend continued at the par-5 13th, one of the more famous holes at Torrey Pines.
Block hit his third into the greenside bunker, but once again, he could not save par from the sand and thus dropped another shot.
Suddenly, he was at 1-under, two shots below the cut line.
He continued to trend downward.
Two holes later, Block stripped a 292-yard drive down the middle of the 15th fairway. That could have helped swing momentum in his direction, but Block air-mailed his second shot into the trap left of the green. He then left his third in the bunker, thus leading to another bogey.
By then, he was even par, and hope was dwindling away with three holes to play.
Alas, at the next hole, the 186-yard par-3 16th, Block found the beach yet again. He had short-sided himself once more, thus leading to another dropped shot. Block was 1-of-6 in sand saves during the second round.
Just like that, Block found himself over par for the championship for the first time all week, and unfortunately for him, that would be where he finished.
Block, who rose to notoriety at the 2023 PGA Championship, signed for a 4-over 76 thanks to his four bogies on the back nine. He walked off the 18th green at 1-over.
But luckily for him, the golfing world will again see Block at Valhalla for the PGA Championship in May. He famously got up-and-down to save par on the 18th hole at Oak Hill to earn a trip to Louisville in 2024.
If only that short game traveled to Torrey Pines this week.