The second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational is complete with Bryce Molder leading after shooting a career-low 62 on Friday. He’s one stroke ahead of Jason Bohn and two up on Brian Davis and Kris Blanks.
Molder has held the 36-hole lead twice already this year, eventually finishing tied for 10th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and tied for eighth at the Shell Houston Open. The former Georgia Tech All-American is bidding for his first TOUR win and trying to become the sixth player to win at Colonial in his debut.
Molder isn’t the only one seeking that breakthrough win. Four of the top six players on the leaderboard and five of the top 10 are hoping to make the Crowne Plaza Invitational their first TOUR victory.
A total of 76 pros survived the cut which came at 2 under and was the lowest in the tournament’s 63-year history. Among the notables who won’t be playing the weekend are Masters champion Phil Mickelson and reigning PGA champ Y.E. Yang, as well as former major champs Davis Love III, Justin Leonard, Trevor Immelman, David Duval and Steve Elkington.
The swelling is still there but otherwise Brian Davis appeared none the worse for wear on Friday during the second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
The Englishman, who had an abscess on his gum treated Thursday evening, didn't make a bogey in a round of 65 that kept him within a shot of Bryce Molder. His birdie putts came from 12, 6, 34, 11 and 10 feet as he used just 26 putts for the second straight day.
"I could have been 7 under after nine holes," Davis said. "I really hit it close. I had a lot of chances, made a couple. But this old golf course, if you can hit it in the right spots, you leave yourself a great putt at."
Davis said he hasn't slept very well since the abscess surfaced Wednesday night, but otherwise he's not particularly surprised to be playing so solidly.
"I've got three young kids, so this is just normal stress," Davis said. "One of them is usually in the doctor's office, or whatever is happening at home. It's part and parcel of life for me at the moment."
Davis said the key on Friday was the second hole where he found the fairway bunker and came up short of the green in two, but was able to get up and down for par. He then hit a 3-wood to 10 feet on the par-3 fourth hole for a final birdie that kept his momentum going.
And just when was the last time he hit a 3-wood to a par 3 on the PGA TOUR? Well, Davis had his reasons on a par 3 that was playing to 245 yards on Friday.
"I carry a 2 iron. I don't carry a rescue," Davis said. "I just couldn't carry up on the front. If it hits the front, it's going to kill it. So the only option to get it back there was to hit a high cut 3-wood.
"But again, like I said, once the course gets firm I won't be able to hit that shot because it bounced through the green. So that's what I'm saying, if they firm it up a bit it's going to play tough."
Bryce Molder had never played Colonial Country Club before this week but friends told him that Hogan’s Alley was right down his.
Turns out they were right, too. Molder opened with a 65 on Friday and is currently 7 under through 15 holes – and the owner of a one-stroke lead.
Molder’s birdies have come from a variety of ways. He’s made putts of 7, 22, 34, 8 and 13 feet, as well as a tap-in from 13 inches. He also chipped in from 54 feet at the 12th hole.
"I had a lot of people tell me that you are really going to like it here," Molder said. after his first round. "You are going to love the golf course and the way it moves around and the trees. It's going to fit your eye really well and it certainly did.
“There is some really uncomfortable shots out there, but they fit. They work. It's just a really good track. Any time I walk up and see greens which are smooth and as good as these greens are, I get excited because that's usually when I make up shots a lot of times on the greens.
"You also don't have to hit a lot of drivers. You can pick and choose when you are aggressive."
So far Molder, who is looking for his first PGA TOUR victory, appears to have found the right combination.
He could be playing in the Senior PGA Championship this week. Corey Pavin, though, opted to come to Colonial where he won in 1985 and ‘96 and has five other top-10s.
Turns out it was a good decision. Not only can the U.S. Ryder Cup captain keep tabs on some of his potential team members, he’s threatening to teach them a thing or two.
Pavin is 4 under through his first 12 holes – making three straight birdies beginning at No. 9 – and is 7 under for the tournament. The 50-year-old is four strokes off the pace currently being set by Brian Davis, who has four holes remaining in the second round.
The first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational is in the books with 75 players breaking par and another 13 shooting even. Not surprisingly, the scoring average for the day was 68.818.
Jeff Overton, Jason Bohn and Blake Adams are tied for the first-round lead after shooting 63s while Brian Davis is one stroke behind.
Overton and Adams also shared second last week with Brian Gay at the HP Byron Nelson Championship while Bohn and Davis are proof of the adage “beware the injured golfer.”
Bohn woke up with sharp pains in his left ear at 1 a.m. Thursday and was headed to see the doctor after completing his round. So was Brian Davis, who had an abscess on the top of his gum.
“The other guy looks worse than me,” Davis said, joking.
The abscess materialized Wednesday night. Davis said it was “pretty painful” and was looking forward to a good night’s sleep after the doctor cut the abscess out.
All in all, though, the distraction wasn’t a bad thing.
“You need something going on to take your mind off golf,” Davis said. “It’s just one of them things. I haven’t been playing that bad lately – it’s just making putts and today, I made the putts.
“It’s nice to be off to a good start. I’m obviously looking forward to the weekend.”
Just like co-leader Jeff Overton, Blake Adams is rode some momentum into the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
The PGA TOUR rookie started on the back nine at Colonial and shot a sizzling 30 that was as hot as the temperatures outside. He has just made his seventh birdie of the day at the fifth hole to move to 6 under.
So Adams is currently tied for third with Brian Davis – just one stroke off the pace being set by Overton and Jason Bohn.
Adams held the first- and second-round leads last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship before finishing in a tie for second with Overton and Brian Gay.
The last time we saw Brian Davis, he was calling a penalty on himself during his playoff with Jim Furyk at the Verizon Heritage. He lost but earned a ton of goodwill with his honesty and integrity.
It’s only the first round at Colonial, but Davis has put himself in position for a run at another title with an opening 64. He made seven birdies and one bogey in the first round.
The 64 is Davis’ low aggregate score of the year and ties for his low in relation to par. He’s won twice on the European Tour but is still looking for his first PGA TOUR win.
Davis did not come to the interview room after his round. He has an abscess on his face and was headed to the hospital for treatment after signing his scorecard.