Figuring out the wind has been one of the biggest challenges for the players in Thursday’s round.
Padraig Harrington said he and one of his playing partners, Rory McIlroy, completely misjudged the wind at the par-3 eighth, as both players found the bunker guarding the front of the green.
“We all got the wind wrong,” said Harrington, who shot a 2-under 68, same as McIlroy. “We thought it was downwind and it was clearly into the wind. Rory was 20 yards short of the pin; I was 15 years short. We were well out of what we were thinking.
“I think everybody today was obviously experiencing that.”
Harrington said the wind that was whistling through the trees was not always an accurate reflection of the winds at ground level, one of the reasons Harrington said he had trouble committing to their wedges.
Chad Campbell, who also shot a 68, noted that the winds were coming from the north. “We’re used to playing the course with the opposite wind,” Campbell said. Which is appropriate, considering the course’s name is TPC Southwind.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
This file updated at 9:04 p.m. with updated tee time information
IRVING, Texas -- Chad Campbell said his backyard in the nearby suburb of Colleyville is about 500 yards from the backyard of his fellow PGA TOUR-playing neighbor, Ryan Palmer.
Palmer put the distance in golf terms.
"Probably a 5-iron away," he said.
Campbell and Palmer first met during their high school days in west Texas -- Campbell was born in Andrews, Palmer in Amarillo. Palmer and Judd Burkett, Campbell's caddie, played on the same high school team at Amarillo High and were next-door neighbors at one point when Palmer first moved to the Metroplex. Palmer's caddie James Edmondson is also part of the close-knit group.
"He and Judd are two of my closest friends out here, for sure," Palmer said.
But the conversation doesn't always turn to golf. Asked if he and Palmer discussed last year's HP Byron Nelson Championship, in which Palmer lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley, Campbell said, "Not too much ... We're definitely friends and talk but not really about anything in particular."
Although Palmer and Campbell live in the same neighborhood, it's mostly at PGA TOUR events where they hang together. "I never see him at home," Palmer said. "It's always on the road."
"I hope it works out because it will be fun with James and Judd and Chad and I," Palmer said after his round. "We're real close and the family and friends we have in town, we could be the popular group tomorrow."
When Jason Dufner grabbed the late late in the day, it appeared Palmer and Campbell would not be together. But because so many players made the 36-hole cut – 79 in all – tournament officials opted to switch the usual twosomes on Saturday to threesomes going off both the first and 10th tees.
That means Campbell and Palmer will be together in the final group along with Dufner. You can expect the hometown fans to cheer on the chasers.
“It’s nice to have that support out there,” Campbell said.
And nice to be paired with a neighbor.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Harbour Town has always been one of the toughest tests on the PGA TOUR. It showed in spades on Thursday.
With blustery conditions for most of the day, only 23 players broke par on the 7,100-yard par-71 layout and no one went lower than 4 under. Colt Knost joined Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor at that number after birdies on two of his final three holes.
Jim Furyk, who won here two years ago, is a shot back after a 68.
“The weatherman was spot on; it was chilly, quite breezy and gusty this morning,” Furyk said. “I’m happy to get in with the score I did. I thought anything at even par or better would be a good round this morning.”
It turned out there weren’t too many scores under par in the afternoon, either.
The temperature rose and the wind lessened as the day wore on, but it again got chilly late in the round.
Firm greens also contributed to high scores.
“The greens are stressed right now,” Furyk said. “They looked dusty [on Wednesday]. I was quite taken aback. It did look like a late Sunday afternoon.”
It played like it, too.
Harbour Town played to an average score of 72.95, nearly a full two strokes under par. The par-3 14th played as the most difficult hole with an average of nearly 3.5.
“It’s very difficult,” said Taylor, who eagled his final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth, by holing out from 100 yards with a sand wedge. Taylor has twice finished fourth here and is in the field on a sponsor exemption. “You’ve just got to kind of grind it out. I fortunately did a good job of that.”
So did John Daly, who finished with a 69.
Others weren’t so fortunate.
Luke Donald struggled with his putting and shot 74.
Should Donald finish outside the top 8 here, he would lose his spot atop the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s tied for 103rd after the first round.
Brian Gay, who was 20 under in his victory here in 2009, also shot 74.
Fred Funk and Sang-Moon Bae failed to break 80, shooting 81 and 83, respectively. Bae later withdrew with a shoulder injury.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- It was only three years ago that Chad Campbell had a chance to add a green jacket to his closet.
Campbell tied for second in the 2009 Masters, where he went to a playoff with Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry. He was eliminated on the first extra hole, however, when he missed a 4-footer to save par. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Campbell, who began his week at Augusta National with five birdies in his first five holes.
Thursday, Campbell put himself in good position again with a 4-under 67 in sunny but windy and cool conditions at Harbour Town, where he’s looking for his first victory in five years.
The 67 matches his second-lowest score of what’s been a largely disappointing year for Campbell. In nine starts, he’s missed five cuts and failed to finish in the top 25.
“I haven't felt like I've been that far off,” Campbell said. “But the results haven't been good at all. I feel like I've been working on the right things and heading the right direction. I feel like I'm starting to get better.”
Watching the Masters from home last week, Campbell tried not to think about what almost was three years ago.
That’s easier said than done.
“It's definitely disappointing when I start thinking back,” he said. “Kind of a missed opportunity. I stay positive and hopefully in the years to come I'll be back in that situation.”
A win here, would earn him a spot in next year’s Masters field.
It would also earn him a jacket.
”I've got a navy one and a black one,” Campbell said. “I'd like to have a plaid one.”
Three players who won PGA TOUR events in 2011 are among the names ranked No. 81-90 that were unveiled Friday on PGATOUR.COM’s Top 100 Players to Watch in 2012.
Below is a link to each of the 10 players who were revealed on Friday. PGATOUR.COM will countdown the players for the rest of December, with No. 1 unveiled on Dec. 30.
Be sure to check out this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list .
Let’s us know how you think these players will perform in 2012 and whether we ranked ‘em too high, too low or just right.
With Shaughnessy G&CC stifling scoring, it doesn’t take make much to make a move on the leaderboard. Case in point: Chad Campbell, who just eagled the par-5 seventh to get to 5 under and two shots clear.
The eagle for Campbell came when the Texan hit it to just over 11 feet and then made the putt on No. 7.
The other name moving up the leaderboard: John Daly, who is 3 under through 15 holes and 2 under for the tournament.
Daly, who isn’t exactly known as a fairways and greens guy, has hit just half his fairways here in the third round, but he’s also hit 80 percent of his greens. The result for Daly: Four birdies in his last five holes. In all, he has five birdies and just two bogeys to put himself in contention.
Hitting fairways and greens is arguably more important this week than any other, with the exception of a major. Just look at the field scoring average, which has been over par through each of the first two rounds. And look at the two leaders, Chad Campbell and Michael Thompson. Both have been exceptional off the tee and into the green.
The rough apparently got a trimming after Friday’s play, but it’s still going to be a factor.
Campbell has been the most accurate player in the field with the driver, hitting 82 percent of his fairways.
To give you an idea of just how significant that is, players who have missed the fairways on Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club’s par-4s this week have hit the green just 20 percent of the time and made birdie or better just under 8 percent of the time.
Campbell? He’s hit 67 percent of his greens this week and is average 26 feet, 7 inches on his approach shots -- the latter ranks ninth in the field. That, consequently, has led to Campbell gaining nearly four strokes on the field in putting.
In all, Campbell has out-performed the field by 11 shots on the par-4s alone this week.
Thompson, meanwhile, has hit 72 percent of his greens in regulation. Of his 10 missed greens? Thompson has salvaged par or better seven times, which ranks seventh in the field.
As a result, Thompson has just two bogeys and one double bogey through 36 holes -- impressive considering the average is nearly eight bogeys per player through two rounds.
Chad Campbell began the week ranked 64th in FedExCup points with one top-10 (a tie for fifth at the British Open) and four top-25s in his 21 starts. What would a win do for Campbell, who shares the lead entering today’s third round? Well, it could move him as high as 22nd in the standings.
With just five weeks left until the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, though, more is at stake for the other co-leader, rookie Michael Thompson. He came into this week 110th in the standings.
Thompson is playing well at the right time with two top-15 finishes in his last four starts. Should he go on to win, he could move as high as 33rd. He would also be the sixth rookie to win on TOUR this year and the second in a row after Chris Kirk won at last week’s Viking Classic.
One of the players chasing Thompson and Campbell, by the way, is veteran Lee Janzen, who is 182nd in the standings. In the remaining five weeks, Janzen will need the equivalent of two top-five finishes in order to make the top 125. However, a win this week could move Janzen as high as 53rd in the standings.
Click here for live projected FedExCup standings