Daily Wrap-up: Round 2, Valero Texas OpenApril 15, 2011
Staff and wire reports
SAN ANTONIO -- PGA TOUR rookie Brendan Steele wrangled the winds and nearly emerged at the Valero Texas Open solely atop the leaderboard.
But on the TOUR's toughest day in years, no one got off that easy.
Steele carried the lead before double-bogeying on the par-4 15th, then blew a chance to reclaim it by missing a 6-footer for birdie on the final hole, keeping him in a rare seven-way tie atop the leaderboard at 3 under Friday.
That is tied for the second-most crowded leaderboard in the PGA TOUR after 36 holes since 1970. Strong winds prevented anyone from breaking out, and Friday's average round of 75.289 was the highest on the TOUR since the 2008 British Open.
"I got pretty beat up out there," Steele said. "I think we all kind of did."
After missing what would've been his fifth birdie, Steele tapped in No. 18 to finish at par-72. He shared the lead with Geoff Ogilvy (72), Rich Beem (70), Kevin Sutherland (70), Charley Hoffman (73), Brandt Snedeker (72), and Kevin Chappell (73).
A day that began with 5 under leading the pace was undone by winds that whipped higher than 30 mph. Players helplessly watched tee shots sail into the woods, and just 13 players shot under par Friday after there 50 sub-par scores in the opening round.
Defending champion Adam Scott followed his opening-round 68 with a 74. But on a day like this, 2 over was good enough to leave the Masters runner-up and three others just a stroke back.
"I can't imagine anyone really running away with it," Scott said.
A seven-way tie after 36 holes hasn't been seen on the TOUR since the 1977 Westchester. The record was an eight-way tie at the 2001 Greater Hartford Open.
"It was blowing when it was dark this morning. It's more like windy Texas days," Ogilvy said. "Happy to get out of it with no damage done and still looking forward to the weekend."
Shot of the Day
Jhonattan Vegas digs out an approach shot to within 10 feet.
Beem, playing the TOUR on a major medical extension, had not only a share of the lead but made his first cut since the Shell Houston Open last year. He missed the next six months after undergoing surgery for a bulging disc in his neck.
Beem, whose home in Austin is just north of TPC San Antonio, bogeyed just one hole and finished his final nine shooting par or better.
"This golf course kind of captures your attention," Beem said. "You have to focus on every single hole and every single shot."
The cut was set at 4-over 148, tied for second highest on the TOUR this season. Among those cut was Kevin Na, who in the windy conditions never stood a chance at overcoming his 16-stroke meltdown on No. 9 in the first round. He finished at 13 over.
The par-4 ninth also claimed another victim Friday: Richard Johnson, who withdrew after needing nine strokes to get through the hole. He then hopped on his Twitter account and wrote his shoulder was still feeling sore.
"Had a little Kevin Na hole on 9. Made a nice 9," he wrote.
TPC San Antonio: Friday EASIEST HOLE TOUGHEST HOLE The par-5 14th hole was the easiest with a Friday scoring average of 4.641.
EAGLES: 4 BIRDIES: 60 PARS: 62 BOGEYS: 15 OTHER: 1
The par-4 12th hole was the toughest with a Friday scoring average of 4.563.
EAGLES: 0 BIRDIES: 5 PARS: 68
BOGEYS: 55 OTHERS: 14
About the leaders • Beem made his first cut since the 2010 Shell Houston Open (T73) in April. After the 2010 Shell Houston Open, Beem missed the next six months after surgery on a bulging disc in his neck. Beem returned last October and missed the cut at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and Children's Miracle Network Classic. He started 2011 by missing his first six cuts of the season. • Beem has two rounds in the 60s this season in 16 total rounds. • Beem had missed the cut in his last two starts at the Valero Texas Open in 2008 and 2009. His best finish in San Antonio was in 1999 (4th). • Prior to Friday, Beem's last second-round lead/co-lead was at the 2007 Deustche Bank Championship (T30). Beem had four previous second-round leads/co-leads and converted two of them into victory. The last second-round lead/co-lead he converted into victory was at the 2002 PGA Championship. His last lead/co-lead after any round on TOUR was the 2007 Deustche Bank Championship. • Beem has played on a Major Medical Extension this season. Counting this week, he has 11 events to earn $658,105 and retain his TOUR card. • Coming into this week Brandt Snedeker had only made four of nine cuts, but he has finished inside the top 25 each of the four and in the top 10 three times. • Snedeker is making his first career start at the Valero Texas Open. • Snedeker has had four previous second-round leads/co-leads. His best finish was third at the 2007 Buick Invitational. • Kevin Sutherland has now made five of eight cuts on TOUR this season with one top 25. • Sutherland missed the cut in his only other start at the Valero Texas Open in 1996. • This is Sutherland's third second-round lead/co-lead on TOUR. His last was in 2004 at THE PLAYERS Championship. He has held eight first-round leads/co-leads, two second-round leads/co-leads and three third-round leads/co-leads on TOUR, but has not converted any into victory. He finished second each of the three times he has held the third-round lead/co-lead. • Ogilvy missed the cut in his only other start at the Valero Texas Open in 2001 after shooting rounds of 76-66. • Ogilvy has four top 25s in seven starts coming into this week. He has now made seven of eight cuts this season.
Garth Mulroy also didn't make it through No. 9 -- but for an entirely different reason. He was 2 over when he withdrew because his wife went into labor.