The good news/bad news scenarios for Arjun Atwal and Brandt Snedeker, who share the lead at 12 under right now, is that each of the past two years the leader at the halfway mark has gone on to win (Carl Pettersson in 2008 and Ryan Moore in 2009). The downside is that since 1976, only 14 second-round leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the Wyndham Championship.
Snedeker, by the way, has only held two other 36-hole leads, at the 2007 Buick Invitational and the 2008 PODS Championship. He finished third and eighth, respectively. -- Brian Wacker
Arjun Atwal may not be able to earn FedExCup points this week but that doesn't mean the man who is tied for the 36-hole lead doesn't have big goals at the Wyndham Championship this week.
He could also secure his playing privileges by earning enough money to finish among the top 125 on the money list. And if Atwal earned enough to finish between 126-150, he would be exempt into the final stage of q-school.
So barring the all-important win, a big paycheck at Sedgefield would go a long way toward helping Atwal, who already has earned $350,490 this year.
Atwal is still exempt on the European Tour after his 2008 win at the Maybank Malaysian Open, his eighth international victory. But he has opted to stay in the States and continue his quest to earn his PGA TOUR card.
"That's my goal is to secure my job for next year," Atwal said. "... We could have gone and played in Europe. I didn't want to do that. My main goal is to play here."
Toward that end, Atwal has written for sponsor's exemptions for all the Fall Series events. He hasn't received any, though, so he plans to Monday qualify as he did for the Wyndham Championship.
Atwal is nothing if not determined, too.
Prior to this week, Atwal's last tournament was The Greenbrier Classic. He had a flight out of Roanoke that Sunday and was planning to Monday qualify for the Turning Stone Resort Championship.
Airline employees told him he was likely to miss his connection in Atlanta, though -- and if he did make it, his bags and clubs probably wouldn't. So Atwal and his caddy rented a car and drove to Syracuse, arriving at 6:30 a.m.
Atwal was in the second group off the tee in the qualifier. He shot a 68 and then had to wait until everyone was finished for the playoff -- where he lost out on the final spot.
His performance at Forest Oaks on Monday was more successful as his 67 got Atwal into the field. He opened with a 61 on Thursday and followed with a 67 to tie Brandt Snedeker.
"I feel pretty good about my swing," Atwal said. "Obviously I didn't hit it as good as yesterday but they say that it's hard to back up a really low number with another one.
"I missed a couple of fairways today where, you know, kind of hard to get it on the green from there. That's why I made a couple of bogeys. Other than that, I'm pretty happy with the way I played today."
Atwal says he's a leaderboard watcher, and he's anxious to see how the weekend unfolds.
"If I get into contention on Sunday on the back nine, I won't be scared," Atwal said. "Hopefully my swing holds up and we'll see what happens." – Helen Ross
International players have made quite an impact on the PGA TOUR this year. But it's probably safe to say there hasn't been a leaderboard that has featured two players from India among the top 10.
That's the case this week at the Wyndham Championship, though. Arjun Atwal, who learned the game at Royal Calcutta, is tied for the lead at 12 under with Brandt Snedker after shooting a 67 on Friday. He came to the United States to attend high school and now makes his home in Orlando.
Jeev Milka Singh, a European Tour veteran who is a PGA TOUR rookie this year, grew up in Chandigarh, India. He attended college at Abilene Christian and was the medalist at the 1993 NCAA Division III championship. SIngh is currently tied for seventh at 8 under after shooting 68 on Friday
Arjun Atwal has just missed the green at the par-4 14th and made a bogey that created a logjam at the top of the leaderboard. He’s now tied with Kevin Streelman, Lucas Glover and Brandt Snedeker at 11 under.
Of the four, Atwal has the most holes remaining with four. Webb Simpson, who attended nearby Wake Forest, has already posted 10 under after a 64 on Friday.
We waited all day for a really low round, and Arjun Atwal finally produced late Thursday afternoon with a 61 that tied Carl Pettersson for the course record.
Atwal owns a two-stroke lead over Brandt Sendeker, who won the final Wyndham Championship played at Forest Oaks Country Club in 20007. Atwal is bidding to become the first Monday qualifier to win a PGA TOUR event since Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open.
Tied for third after 64s are John Rollins, Kevin Streelman, Lucas Glover, Boo Weekley, David Toms and Jeev Milka Singh. Sedgfield Country Club was generous in the first round, playing to nearly a stroke-and-a-half under its par of 70 as players were allowed to lift, clean and place due to early rain and a threatening forecast.
“It was fun,’ Atwal said. “… I saw some of the scores from the morning and even though it was raining on those guys in the morning they were still taking it deep so I knew the golf course was playing pretty easy today.”
Atwal shot 67 in the Monday qualifier at Forest Oak – where he finished sixth in 2004 -- to gain entry in the field. In a weird way, that nothing-to-lose attitude in the qualifier may have helped him in the first round.
“You get used to making a lot of birdies in the Monday qualifier otherwise you won't make it,” Atwal said. “I kind of continued that today. … It was fun. Just continue playing well.”
Better late than never, even if this will be Arjun Atwal’s last PGA TOUR event until the Fall Series. That’s because his Major Medical Extension ran out after the RBC Canadian Open because he hadn’t earned enough money.
The irony, of course, is that Atwal is in the lead after an opening-round 61 Thursday at Sedgefield, where he’s alone in the lead after 9 birdies and no bogeys. So even if Atwal goes on to win the event, he can’t earn anymore FedExCup points for this season. A win, though, would secure his TOUR card for the next two years.
By the way, in order for Atwal to play in the Fall Series, he would either have to Monday qualify or get sponsors exemptions, unless he earns enough money to get in the top 150 from last year's money list and earn special temporary membership. Also, a top-10 here would get Atwal into the Viking Classic.
As for his round Thursday, Atwal had the putter working with just 24 putts. He was also sharp with his ball-striking, hitting better than 83 percent of his greens in regulation. -- Brian Wacker
Whoops. We spoke too soon. Arjun Atwal has just moved into a tie with Snedeker at 8 under at the top of the leaderboard with a 9-foot birdie putt at the seventh hole – his 16th of the day.
Atwal lost his PGA TOUR membership earlier this year when he failed to make enough money to satisfy his minor medical extension. So he is not eligible to earn any more FedExCup points and this is his last event – regardless of what happens – until the Fall Series.
It didn’t take long for Arjun Atwal to break from the pack of players at 4 under. Atwal, who began his second round on the back nine, birdied No. 10, rolling in a putt from just over 20 feet. That gets him to 5 under for the week and gives him eight birdies over his first 21 holes here at Aronimink.
Atwal is only in the field because of a sponsor’s exemption – being a practice partner of Tiger Woods certainly helps – and is playing this season on a Major Medical Extension because of a shoulder injury that cost him four months last year.
Though Atwal has never won on the PGA TOUR -- his best finish is a tie for second at the 2005 BellSouth Classic -- he has won elsewhere, including on the Nationwide Tour, where he beat Webb Simpson in a playoff at the 2008 Chattanooga Classic. He’s also won three times in Europe and in 2005 led the TOUR in putting average.
With a little more than $300,000 earned so far this year, Atwal needs just over $280,000 between this event and his next to gain status for the rest of the season. -- Brian Wacker
Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Davis Love III all just teed off here at Aronimink ( click here to follow them live with Shot Tracker). Earlier in the week, however, Arjun Atwal played a practice round with him.
“He got better every day leading up to the U.S. Open. I know he didn't play a great final round or whatever, but he's been getting better,” said Atwal, who also routinely plays and practices with Woods at Isleworth. “His ball-striking has gotten a lot, lot better.”
Atwal also played every practice round at the U.S. Open with Woods and though he leads here, he says he doesn’t exactly try to compare his game with Woods’.
“It's strange because we practice and play every day, so I've stopped doing that,” Atwal said. “Initially when I used to practice and play with him, I used to compare myself, but now it's just whatever.” -- Brian Wacker
Joining Joe Ogilvie atop the leaderboard right now is Arjun Atwal, who admitted that he “didn’t know what to expect” because he hit it “really bad” in Hartford last week.
Thursday, Atwal made seven birdies (and three bogeys) on his way to a 66, which is a long way where he was at the end of 2009 when he missed four months after tearing both his shoulder muscles while doing bench press without warming up first.
“I don’t work out anymore,” said Atwal, who has two top-25s in six events this year. “I do yoga now.”
Playing on a Major Medical Extension this season, Atwal has eight events to earn just over $586,000. So far, he’s earned just over $305,000 with this event and the RBC Canadian Open to go.
Atwal wasn’t even in the field for the AT&T National until he got a sponsor’s exemption from Tiger Woods, who he routinely practices with.
The two were practicing at home at Isleworth and Atwal was telling Woods his plans to play the John Deere Classic and in Canada when Woods asked why he wasn’t playing here. When one of the sponsor’s exemptions came back -- they’d all already been handed out -- it went to Atwal. -- Brian Wacker