WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Jonas Blixt and Johnson Wagner remain tied for the lead midway through the back nine at The Old White TPC.
Blixt has only made one par in five holes on the back nine. He birdied Nos. 10 and 12 but bogeyed Nos. 11 and 13. Wagner, who made the turn in even par, has made two bogeys in his first four holes on the back.
So he and Blixt are deadlocked at 12 under, one stroke head of Steven Bowditch, who has completed 16 holes, and Jimmy Walker, who is playing with Wagner.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- He didn't find the fairway with either of his first two shots on the par-5 12th.
But Jonas Blixt hit a stellar wedge to 5 feet for the birdie that pulled him into a tie for the lead with Johnson Wagner at 13 under.
Wagner, meanwhile, was having his issues at the 11th hole -- missing the fairway well right, coming up short of the green and failing to convert a 10-footer to save par.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Jonas Blixt has closed the gap on Johnson Wagner with birdies on the ninth and 10th holes.
The Swede, who picked up his first PGA TOUR victory last fall but has yet to post a top-10 in 2013, made a 4-footer at No. 9 and 9-footer at the 10th to pull within a stroke of the overnight leader.
Wagner shot even par on the front nine so he remains at 14 under. His playing partner, Jimmy Walker, also shot 34 on the front nine and is one behind Blixt at 12 under.
There are roughly 90 minutes of daylight remaining.
Both par 5s on The Old White TPC are on the final nine holes so this figures to be the scoring nine. There are three other players in double digits under par now -- Steven Bowditch is 2 under through 11 holes and 11 under for the tournament while Brian Stuard and Matt Jones are 10 under.
Stuard is 4 under through 17 holes on Sunday while Jones is 1 under through 11.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Jonas Blixt polished off his round of 76 around noon on Sunday and planned to head home to take a nap.
He wouldn't get to sleep long, though, because he was heading back at TPC Sawgrass to watch his next-door neighbor David Lingmerth try to win THE PLAYERS Championship later that afternoon.
Lingmerth tees off at 2:38 p.m. ET in the final group of the day with Sergio Garcia. The PGA TOUR rookie is tied for the lead with Garcia and world No. 1 Tiger Woods at 11 under, one stroke ahead of Ryan Palmer, Casey Wittenberg and Henrik Stenson.
Blixt, who met Lingmerth on the Web.com Tour, won't be the only familiar face in his friend's gallery. Lingmerth's financee Megan Mercurio will be nervously walking along with his father Thomas and brother Andras, who flew in from Sweden on Wednesday, along with his coach Hans Larson from the Swedish Golf Federation.
Blixt knows his fellow Swede to be a "fierce competitor." Since Lingmerth moved to Jacksonville Beach in December, the two have been playing practice rounds on the Stadium Course and keep a running tally of their matches. Blixt says that while their scores are modest, generally a couple under par, they are tied 2-2 overall.
"It's almost impossible to talk with him in a normal practice round," Blixt reported. "... He loves to compete and he's good at it. ... But I think it's great. He just does his own thing and he believes in himself."
Blixt says the two live close enough that he can "sneak a peak" into Lingmerth's house from his bedroom. Blixt settled here first, and Lingmerth decided to move because he wanted to live where the winter was more moderate than in Fayetteville, Ark., where he went to college and met Mercurio.
Lingmerth's passions were evident from the get-go, Blixt said. His friend loves ice hockey and considered pursing the sport as a career until he was about 15. He's a big fan of the Washington Capitals and center Nicklas Backstrom, a 25-year-old Swede like Lingmerth.
"I don't know if his first love is golf or ice hockey," Blixt said. "I think it is a little confusing."
There is no confusing Lingmerth's collegiate affiliation, though. He went to Arkansas and remains a staunch supporter.
"He's a huge Razorback fan, absolutely huge," Blixt said. "It's almost impossible to talk to him about anything else, any other teams because they are the best, obviously."
Not even Blixt's alma mater, Florida State? "No, clearly not," he said with a grin. "Even though we are a lot better."
Blixt says putting is the strength of Lingmerth's game. He's tied for first in distance of putts made this week and ranks 14th in strokes gained putting. He's no slouch off the tee, either, and is tied for first in driving distance.
So is Blixt surprised to see Lingmerth with a share of the lead at the PGA TOUR's signature event?
"That's a hard question," Blixt said after a long pause. "Everybody that plays out here, they're good enough to be up there. You always see those normal names like Tiger, not Phil this week but usually Phil and Adam Scott, sometimes you mix it in with a little more unknown players like Lingmerth.
"I'm impressed that he's been keeping his head cold and just keep on chugging along which is great. This is a golf course that really reveals your strengths and weaknesses. I think he's in a good frame of mind right now and he's going to do well this week."
Jason Day has exactly one win in 115 career starts. Look for him to have a Jason Dufner-style rise into the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking. -- Ryan Smithson, Site Producer
Even though he won the Frys.com Open, Jonas Blixt is s till flying under the radar. Despite missing time with a rib injury, Blixt posted 5 Top-10 finishes in his rookie season. He was second on TOUR in Strokes Gained Putting and first in sand saves. -- Fred Albers, PGA TOUR Radio
The last time Phil Mickelson didn't win on TOUR was 2003. Will that change in 2013? Mickelson, who will turn 43 in June, is on the other side of his career, and he continues to battle psoriatic arthritis. I think he's due for a down year. -- Brian Wacker, Side Producer
Bo Van Pelt. He’s placed inside the top 30 in the final FedExCup standings each of the past three seasons. In 2012, he collected a TOUR high-tying 10 top 10s, and is one of the best putters (11th in strokes gained-putting) and one of the best drivers (3rd in total driving). This is the year where Van Pelt wins something big – maybe even the FedExCup. -- Bill Cooney, Site Producer
Gary Woodland. Making a swing change took its toll on one of the TOUR's biggest hitters in 2012. Hopefully he has it figured out by now. -- Mike McAllister, Managing Editor
Due to injury and limited status, Billy Horschel hasn’t had the opportunity to flash his talent over a full season since his debut in 2010. Now healthy and near the top of the opening reshuffle, it would be an upset if he didn’t convert with supreme confidence on top of what was an easy go at q-school that punctuated a quietly solid 2012. -- Rob Bolton, Fantasy Columnist
Gary Woodland. He was essentially a non-factor in 2012 after he was injured amdist a swing change, finishing 134th in FedExCup standings. He showed signs of life in the Fall Series with a T9 at the Frys.com Open, and I think he'll be back to winning-form this season. -- Anne Szeker, Site Producer
I was tempted to say Justin Rose but after eight-top 10s last year, including two in majors, nothing he does would be a surprise. So let's go with big-hitting Gary Woodland, who is fully recovered from that nagging wrist injury and rejuvenated after the hard work he's put in with Butch Harmon. -- Helen Ross, Chief of Correspondents
With a win at Wyndham and (sigh) the Ryder Cup, Sergio Garcia looked like a kid again. And he's only turning 32 on Jan. 9; he still has a lot of productive years ahead. I say this is one of them, with multiple wins. -- John Schwarb, Site Producer
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Jonas Blixt managed to put himself in the conversation for PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year despite missing more than two months with a rib injury when he won the Frys.com Open. The Swede was just starting to acclimate himself with three straight top 10s before his injury -- a healthy 2013 could be an interesting one.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Blixt delighted his siblings, here in the States on holiday, when he fired four sub-70 rounds, including a 68 on Sunday, to win the Frys.com Open. Two make-or-break FedExCup Playoffs events -- one of which included a 5-footer on the 71nd hole at The Barclays to advance -- no doubt contributed to Blixt's solid performance in the fall as he tied for third the week prior to his inaugural victory. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: He told me his putter is his secret weapon. Well it's not secret anymore. Blixt was second on TOUR in strokes gained-putting. He did not have a three putt the entire week in winning the Frys.com Open. Blixt had a great sand save that week on the 16th hole on Sunday and ranked first on TOUR in bunker saves, getting up and down 65 percent of the time. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: While most will remember his blistering beginning to the Fall Series, it's important to circle a stretch in late April and throughout May during which he finished no worse than T13 in four starts, thus planting seeds for the future harvest that was realized. After sitting out several weeks due to a rib injury, he didn't miss a cut in his last seven starts. His wicked short game can play anywhere, so any lumps he takes will be likely due to unfamiliarity with host courses. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||1st||Frys.com Open|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 15
Rounds played: 72
Top-10 finishes: 5
Money List rank: 34th
Driving distance: 127th
Driving accuracy: 133rd
Greens in regulation: 134th
Strokes gained-putting: 2nd
Scoring average: 34th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Jonas Blixt in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The nominees for 2012 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year were released on Monday -- Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr.
Players were nominated by the PGA TOUR Player Directors and members of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2012 eligible to vote. The balloting process ends on Nov. 30, with the winner to be announced in early December.
A quick look at each Rookie of the Year nominee:
CHARLIE BELJAN: Won one event (Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic), posted three-top-10 finishes, finished 63rd on official money list and 160th in FedExCup points
JONAS BLIXT: Won one event (Frys.com Open), posted five top-10 finishes, finished 34th on the official money list and 71st in FedExCup points
BUD CAULEY: Posted six-top 10 finishes, finished 44th on official money list and 38th in FedExCup points
JOHN HUH: Won one event (Mayakoba Golf Classic), posted four top-10 finishes, finished 28th on official money list and 29th in FedExCup points
TED POTTER JR.: Won one event (The Greenbrier Classic) for his only top-10 finish, finished 62nd on official money list and 93rd in FedExCup points
Now it’s your turn: Who do you think will win this year’s Rookie of the Year?
|Events||1st||2nd||3rd||Top 10||Top 25||Made cut||Money||FEC points||FEC standing|