“Nobody's more surprised than I am,” Gardiner said after a second-round 67. When asked why, he responded, “Have you seen my resume this year?”
Indeed, the Aussie has failed to make the cut in each of his last eight PGA Tour starts, failing to cash a check since early February.
“I just haven't been putting it together. I've putted poorly all year, haven't really saved any shots around the greens,” he explained. “But it's just nice to get a few birdies and save a few pars because when I've been giving myself opportunities, I haven't been taking them. My short game has been poor, so it's nice to see some improvement in those areas.”
On Friday, Gardiner posted five birdies on the front nine at Quail Hollow, then made nine straight pars on the back to find himself on a leaderboard that includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.
When asked if he watches leaderboards and whether those names either intimidate or excite him, Gardiner again went into self-effacing mode.
“It's nice to be in the same tournament as they are – that's my first thought,” he deadpanned. “If I'm playing well, I'm happy to look at them because, yeah, it's much better to look at your name when it's 7 under as opposed to 7 over.”