Pádraig Harrington might have shot a two over 73 and fallen 25 spots into the pack at the Northern Trust Open but some solid putting outside five feet gives him options over the weekend at Riviera.
Harrington holed seven putts outside five feet, including a crucial one from six and a half feet for par at the 18th, to finish two shots inside the projected cut line on one over par.
He made five bogeys and only three birdies but he was in the black for strokes gained with the putter for almost the first time this season and that bodes well for the future.
There's a major championship look to the leaderboard on a classic course that's becoming firmer all the time with two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen adding a one under 70 to his opening 66 to lead by one stroke in the clubhouse on six under from Ryan Moore (68), Graeme DeLaet (67) and former University of Alabama star Justin Thomas (69).
Angel Cabrera (68), another multiple major winner, is alone in fifth spot on four under with defending champion Bubba Watson (69) just three behind in a share of sixth with Derek Fathauer (73), Jordan Spieth (70), J.B. Holmes (69) and Paul Casey (69) on three under.
Harrington was tied for 52nd when he finished his morning round but with the poa greens becoming more difficult to putt in the late evening, he ended the day tied for 42nd.
A seven shots off the pace, he's got a lot of work to do to catch Goosen, his former European Tour rival. But there were signs that his game is not all that far away.
Having kissed the hole with a 22 footer for eagle at the easy, par-five first, Harrington bogeyed the tough second after pushing his drive into the trees and pitching 15 feet past.
He had to hole a six footer for par at the third, where he ran just through the back but then three-putted the par-three fourth from 49 feet.
One over for the day, he hit a 174 yard approach inside eight feet at the fifth and holed the birdie putt, chipped and putted for par at the sixth and then holed a 12 footer for par at the seventh after going long and left with his approach.
Another bogeyed followed at the tough eighth, where his approach ran inches through the back of the green and he took three to get down from 20 feet, missing a six footer.
Out in one over and back to level for the tournament, he needed a solid back nine but almost had a disaster at the driveable but hugely difficult 10th.
Short and right with his tee shot, 33 yards from the pin, he ended up having to hole an eight footer for bogey after bunkering his third shot.
A fine birdie from 15 feet at the 12th eased his stress levels and he while he bogeyed the 13th, taking three from the edge of the green after a 204-yard tee shot to the left rough put him in trouble, he parred his way in from there to make his first cut on the year in his fourth PGA Tour start.