EDISON, N.J. – Steve Flesch has become the fourth player to withdraw from The Barclays, stopping after nine holes of his second round while suffering from a sinus headache.
Flesch came into the week ranked 121st and will not earn any FedExCup points. So he will miss next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship and the rest of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Stuart Appleby and Chris Couch withdrew prior to the start of their second rounds, citing back injuries. Pat Perez withdrew on Thursday after his first round.
EDISON, N.J. – Stuart Appleby and Chris Couch have withdrawn from The Barclays prior to the start of their second rounds.
Appleby, who opened with an 81, and Couch, who shot 77 in the first round, both cited back injuries. They are the second and third players to withdraw this week – Pat Perez left Thursday after opening with a 79.
If he’s healthy, Couch should still be eligible for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which begins Friday. He came to The Barclays ranked No. 78 in the FedExCup and was projected at No. 89 when he withdrew. The top 100 in the standings will play at TPC Boston.
Appleby started the week at No. 113 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points at The Barclays. The Aussie will now have a five-week break from competition to heal.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Stuart Appleby's switch to the belly putter this week continued to pay dividends on Friday.
Appleby used 26 putts in the second round after taking 25 in the first. The Aussie veteran has made 10 birdies, one eagle and dropped just three shots to par while moving to 9 under and three strokes off Tommy Gainey's lead.
Appleby said Thursday he was still getting used to the belly putter, which he called "very long and very heavy." He made the switch because he wanted to be more consistent -- and with a win this week could make it three-in-a-row for the non-traditional flat stick.
"My aim has been ordinary of late,” Appleby said.
“When your aim is ordinary you screw it up. I feel like
I can get some quality rolls going today. It felt pretty good.
Didn't make any bombs but rolled the ball nice and scared the hole
as much as I could.
"And, again, like I said, solid golf, something I haven't done in awhile. If I can just stay focused and in the moment, get a run through from now on and just go crazy for another month, it will be great."
Appleby said Sedgefield was very different on Friday morning than when he played the previous afternoon. Course management, the Aussie said, was key.
"The rough was still very long but wet in the morning so you
really wanted to avoid that, sort of made getting any yardage out
of it," Appleby said. "Drove it pretty good. Played pretty good.
The course is a good test. …
"It's tough enough out here where you really need to think about positioning your ball under the hole. There's little slopes kicking off the edges of the greens. Good solid play. Something I haven't been able to say at all for a long time. Nice to be playing on the weekend. It's been a long time."
Appleby has missed the cut in 10 of his last 14 starts. He's
also been disqualified once and had to withdraw from the FedEx St.
Jude Classic. But Appleby said he felt like he began to find some
answers at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
two weeks ago.
"Some shots I hit that were like impressive, they felt like the guy that when I play well that was the sort of swings and shots I made," Appleby said. "... I felt like that week in Akron I started to hit a couple sweet shots and on the range, started to feel like it. That's the beautiful part of the game.
"When you do play well and have successful tournaments, those feelings are still there when you do get it right, it lets you know you're on the right track."
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tommy Gainey has never played in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
If he goes on to win the Wyndham Championship on Sunday, though, Gainey could move as high as 14th in the standings -- which gives him a great shot at making it through all four and playing in THE TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time in his career.
Gainey birdied his last two holes at Sedgefield on Friday to finish at 128, which is the second-best opening 36 holes in tournament history. Carl Pettersson shot 125 in 2008 when he went on to win his hometown event.
Gainey owns a three-stroke lead over Webb Simpson and Stuart Appleby as the morning wave in the second round winds to a conclusion.
The 128 total matches the best of Gainey's career, shot earlier this season at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where he held the lead each of the first three rounds but went on to tie for eighth.
By John Schwarb and Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods’ sartorial trademark has always been the Sunday red shirt. This week at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, the attire attention has shifted south – to his shoes.
Normally golf shoes aren’t a focal point unless they have a standout color (such as Kris Blanks’ red dogs at the RBC Canadian Open), but for a 71-time PGA TOUR winner recovering from leg and Achilles issues, they’re a point of emphasis.
Woods’ Nike Free prototype shoes, the product of nearly a year of design work between Woods and Nike, are described by the company as boasting “a ‘natural motion’ technology that is designed to mimic and conform to the natural motion of the foot, coupled with the protection and traction of a lightweight performance shoe.”
“It was nice to try and get something that I felt comfortable in,” Woods said Tuesday during his pre-tournament press conference at Firestone. “The Free technology is something that I wear every day, and some of the things, some of the aspects, I love training in it, I love running in it, lifting in it, so why can't I play golf in it.
“So eventually we got together and created this shoe, and walking out there on the golf course, it felt good to feel my foot activated, something that I hadn't felt in a long time. That felt very good, so the whole chain was activated, something that I'd always felt off the golf course but not on the golf course.”
There’s no metal on the bottom of the shoe, just rubber and soft cleats, which is a change for Woods. Metal cleats have been fading away on TOUR but Woods is a spike loyalist – or at least he was until this week.
Nike has not said when or if Woods’ shoe would be available to the public, though a big week at Firestone or next week at the PGA Championship would likely answer that.
MORE TIGER: A lot is new for Woods this week. In addition to the new caddie and shoes, he’s got a new putter in the bag.
Woods has been spotted playing his practice rounds with a Nike Method 001, a PING-Anser style putter that he first debuted at the 2010 British Open. That was the first time Woods benched his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS, a putter that he used to win 13 of his 14 career major championships.
Woods cited the Method’s firmer face for the switch, saying it would help him get putts to the hole on St. Andrews’ slower greens. By Sunday, however, he returned to his trusty Cameron.
Since then, Woods had been using a toe-down Nike Method mid mallet putter (similar to the Method 005), which has a radically different design from the Newport 2 and the Method 001 that is currently in the bag.
So, while Woods is making a putter change this week, it’s actually a return to the style of putter that has brought him his most success in his career.
VERY OLD SCHOOL: Bob Estes, last a winner on the PGA TOUR in 2002, nearly broke the drought Sunday at The Greenbrier Classic only to lose in a playoff. Had he won it would have been the first title in quite a while for a Titleist Bulls Eye blade (pictured).
There are far more Bulls Eye-shaped putters at miniature golf courses than at TOUR events nowadays. The more preferred sticks from the Titleist arsenal, of course, are Scotty Camerons – like the Del Mar prototype used by Bill Haas (the other Greenbrier playoff runner-up) and the 009 wielded by Scott Stallings (the winner).
OOPS: Golf World shared the story about Stuart Appleby’s Callaway logo balls, which ended up on sale at The Greenbrier instead of in the Aussie’s bag. The company made 112 dozen balls with the player’s usual apple-bee logo, but Appleby thought the logo was too big.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – Phil Mickelson talked earlier this week about how much his family was enjoying the many activities at The Greenbrier.
The way he’s playing on Friday afternoon, though, their stay could be an abbreviated one. Mickelson has played seven holes and just made his third bogey. He’s currently tied for 96th at 3 over and in danger of missing the cut.
Mickelson’s playing partners in the Featured Group – Greenbrier pro emeritus Tom Watson and defending champion Stuart Appleby – aren’t faring much better, either.
Watson, who skipped the U.S. Senior Open to honor his commitment to Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, is even par for the day but 5 over for the tournament. Appleby, who shot an historic 59 in Sunday’s final round last year, just bogeyed the seventh hole and is 2 over for the tournament.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Phil Mickelson wasn't particularly pleased with the even-par 70 he shot in the first round of The Greenbrier Classic.
He didn't have much time to dwell on it, though. After all, he had a date to go white-water rafting with his wife Amy and their three kids on Thursday afternoon.
Still, Mickelson knows he'll need to do better on Friday to extend the family's stay at The Greenbrier into the weekend. But there will be time before his 12:40 p.m. tee time to work out the kinks with his putter which he used 31 times in the first round.
Mickelson had some flashes on Thursday, though. He started on the back nine and turned in 1 under, then birdied No. 1 to get on the leaderboard. But Mickelson made four bogeys over his next eight holes and just two birdies to finish at even par.
"It was a disappointing overall score for me, because I played
well enough to score low," said Mickelson, who is making his debut
at The Greenbrier Classic. "I missed six putts inside six feet, and
I just can't do that.
"I ended up making some longer ones, which was good, to offset it. But I've got to get this turned around for tomorrow."
Mickelson did enjoy the company on Thursday, though, as he played with defending champion Stuart Appleby and teed it up in competition with Tom Watson for the first time. Appleby shot 71 while Watson, the pro emeritus at The Greenbrier who skipped the U.S. Senior Open to play here, had a 75.
"It's great to see him playing in a regular TOUR event,"
Mickelson said. "It's great to see him back out here playing. Gosh,
he strikes it so well and so solid. He made some great putts early
on. Looked like he was going to have a good round. Unfortunately
didn't turn out that way.
"But he still has so much game."
Stuart Appleby returned to Greenbrier sounding like a proud father who'd dropped in to visit on his sons. It has been a year since becoming just the second man ever to shoot 59 on a PGA TOUR Sunday, as well as the first 59 on a par-70 course. His 59 was the fifth overall.
By the sound of it, it won't happen again for awhile. Certainly not at the The Old White TPC, where Appleby reached 22 under in beating Jeff Overton by a shot in 2010.
For starters, the course is 200 yards longer. That doesn't sound like a lot, but the course now stretches to 7,210 yards with the aid of just two par-5s. That alone, Appleby said, it good for adding a few shots to the overall score. He also thinks it swings the advantage back to the longer hitters like Gary Woodland and J.B. Holmes, who are both in the field this week.
"This course is absolutely built for them right now," Appleby said. "The course is very long today. It's got to be, I think, between I think three and four shots harder than what it was for us Saturday and Sunday last year compared to today. You know, anyone shooting in the mid-teens I think would be a very good score."
While the course is different, Appleby is very much in the same position he was a year ago, when he entered this event in the midst of a four-year PGA TOUR slump. He entered the event with just two top-10s, then proceeded to shoot 65-59 on the weekend for his ninth PGA TOUR win (and first since 2006). In 2011, the results are similar: Just one top-10.
"You know, at this time last year, I was also very frustrated," Appleby said. "So, [you] just got to understand that the game works in weird ways."
One thing's for sure: He will have a big crowd following him the first two days. He's slated to play with a couple of guys named Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson.
"One [is] a legend of the game and one still becoming a legend of the game," Appleby said. "And me, sort of stuck [as] the sandwich in the middle."
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Stuart Appleby was disqualified Friday for signing an incorrect scorecard -- the Aussie signed for a 3 on the par-4 fourth when he had a 4 on the hole. Of course at 7 over for the week, Appleby easily missed the cut anyway.
Add Stuart Appleby’s name to the list of contenders after the Aussie poured in a 55-footer for birdie on the ninth hole to make the turn in 4 under and move within two of the lead.
Aussies always tend to fare well in Texas events -- the wind, the grasses, etc., are similar to what they’re used to in Australia -- and that’s playing out again here at Colonial.
How good has Appleby been the last three rounds? Well, he has just one bogey -- and 14 birdies -- over his last 27 holes. And remember, he shot a final-round 59 to win at The Greenbrier last year.