The bad news? Tommy Gainey left a 20-footer for birdie at the 18th hole about an inch short in his bid for an historic 59.
The good news? Gainey still has a golden opportunity to make The McGladrey Classic his first PGA TOUR victory after shooting a 60 in the final round.
Gainey, who started the final round seven shots off the pace set by Jim Furyk and Davis Love III, is now the solo leader at 16 under. He’s two strokes ahead of Furyk and three ahead of Love as the overnight co-leaders play the ninth hole.
“Actually, I was just trying to make birdies, trying to make enough,” Gainey said, noting he thought he would need to get to 18 or 19 under to have a chance for his breakthrough victory. “Winning the golf tournament was way out of my head.”
When he finished, though, Gainey certainly was entertaining the notion.
“It would have been nice to shoot 59 but right now I’d love a W.”
Gainey chipped in for eagle at the 15th hole and made eight birdies. He shot 31 on the front nine and 29 on the back as he reeled off seven straight 3s after a par on the 10th hole.
The 60 is the lowest round on the PGA TOUR this year. There have been nine 61s.
Had Gainey shot 59 it would have been the sixth in TOUR history.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Brian Harman is one of the success stories of the FedExCup Playoffs so far, turning in the best finish of his PGA TOUR career at The Barclays to shoot from 97th in points to 41st.
He was near the bubble at the start of the week at the Bethpage State Park Black Course; now he’s in a pretty good spot to play through this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship and into next week’s BMW Championship.
And maybe one degree did it.
The lefthander doesn’t carry a 3-iron in his TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC set, and found himself pressing on approach shots to long par 4s in an early-week practice round – his first ever on the intimidating Black Course.
So he brought his irons to the TaylorMade van Monday night and had all of them (4-iron through PW) bent one degree strong. Come Thursday, in the first round of The Barclays, he shot 65. He ended the week tied for fifth, showing an impressive aversion to Playoffs pressure.
“It has to creep in, but you let those thoughts come and just let them pass,” Harman said. “You know the best way to assure a spot next week is focus on hitting the 4‑iron, 6‑iron, whatever it is.”
In his case, one degree stronger.
HEAVY METAL: Titleist’s new 913D3 prototype driver has won two of the last three events on TOUR, with Nick Watney’s win at The Barclays coming on the heels of Rory McIlroy’s dominant win at the PGA Championship.
Titleist also debuted its 913 fairway and hybrid prototypes at Bethpage. Graham DeLaet, the biggest mover of all last week with his T5 finish at The Barclays (from No. 106 to No. 44 in the FedExCup), used a 913F fairway.
TWO GLOVES MOVES ON: Tommy Gainey played himself from outside the top 100 in FedExCup points into a spot this week at TPC Boston after a T38 at The Barclays. He made adjustments to his Callaway Razr Fit driver to find some more spin, specifically by changing his upright hosel stting and adding more weight in the toe of the driver while taking it out of the heel.
The result? Gainey could still hit a hard cut but with more than 100 RPMs of spin.
GOLF WITH ZACH: GolfLogix, makers of the game’s best-selling golf app and a leader in GPS technology, is having a sweepstakes where four winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to play golf with nine-time PGA TOUR winner Zach Johnson at his home course in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Existing GolfLogix “Champion” members and those who join or upgrade memberships by Sept. 3 are automatically entered. For more information and to enter without purchase, visit here.
WINNER’S BAG: Nick Watney at The Barclays:
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (10.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (15, 19 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (3-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Did you know that Zach Johnson’s eight PGA TOUR wins span eight years? Yes, his first win was in 2004, at the Bell South Classic.
To put that length of time in equipment perspective, Johnson had a Titleist Titanium 983K driver and DCI irons in his bag for that win in Georgia (three years before his other Georgia win, the 2007 Masters). He’s got newer Titleist stuff now, like a 910D2 driver and AP1/AP2 irons.
But one item has stood the test of eight years’ TOUR time – his SeeMore putter.
All of Johnson’s wins, including last week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, have included a SeeMore FGP blade-style putter, with the company’s patented RifleScope Technology, also known as the hidden red dot. SeeMore putters have a red dot on top of the clubhead, and when that dot is “hidden” behind the shaft at address, a player knows he has the putter aligned perfectly.
“It may not be the prettiest thing to a lot of people, but I love it,” Johnson told David Dusek of golf.com in a tour of his bag. “It’s simple.”
‘TWO GLOVES’ RETURNS: Tommy Gainey’s third place at Colonial was by far his best of the season, and he did it by leading the field in driving distance and Strokes Gained-Putting – a combination not often seen on TOUR.
Gainey, with a Callaway Razr Fit 10.5-degree driver, averaged 318.5 yards off the tee. On the greens, with an Odyssey Backstryke Blade putter, Gainey’s SGP was 2.664. By comparison, Johnson won the event with a third-ranked SGP of 2.092.
ONE HOLE, ONE CLUB: Golfweek tells a story about how Johnson Wagner customized his bag not just for Colonial, but for one hole. The par-3 fourth hole is a 245-yard brute, and Wagner switched from his usual TaylorMade Rescue 11 (18 degrees) to an 18.5-degree RBZ.
The RBZ flew a few yards longer despite its half-degree higher loft, and after hitting three balls to the center of the green in practice, Wagner put it in play. He missed the cut but made two pars at the fourth hole.
ACCESSORIZE: TaylorMade has made a splash with special hats a couple times this season on TOUR, from red-hearted hats for its “Driver Love” campaign to hats with “17” to tout distance gains with the RBZ 3-wood.
This week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, its TOUR players will wear hats with stars-and-stripes hearts and carry matching headcovers in honor of those who have served in the military.
TaylorMade is selling the items to the public here, with a portion of proceeds going to military charities
WINNER’S BAG: Johnson at the Crowne Plaza
Invitational at Colonial:
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board, 9.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (15.0 degrees) and 909 F2 (18.5 degrees)
Hybrid: Titleist 909H (21 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP1 (4) and AP2 (5-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design (48, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: SeeMore FGP
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Harris English rolled in a putt of 32 feet, 4 inches for birdie at the fifth hole in Friday's second round.
WATCH MORE LONG PUTTS
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The news from the doctor last week wasn't good.
"He said four words, and I don't know how to say it," Tommy Gainey reported. "In this language, the common language, he said it was tennis elbow, so that's never good when you're a golfer and you say, well, it's tennis elbow."
The doctor in New Orleans prescribed a shot of cortisone and rest for Gainey, who has played 13 of 18 weeks this season. He's back at it again this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, though, and the South Carolinian, who lives two hours away, opened with a 68 that ties for his low round since he shot 66 in the opener back in January.
Gainey, who has battled a wrist injury, as well, played solidly, too, hitting 9 of 14 fairways and all but four greens in regulation. Birdies on four of his first six holes set the tone for the day and consecutive birdies to close sent Gainey home happy.
"Now that I'm healthy, I'm starting to hit the ball better, starting to swing at it better, and I had a problem getting off to a slow start," Gainey said. " But today I got off to a fast start, and I was able to keep it going. I three-putted 18, which really didn't like. That kind of ticked me off a little bit, but I was able to make that 150footer on 9 for a birdie. So lunch is going to go down a little better right now."
Gainey said he's going to be cautious with the elbow, icing it when he's done and making sure he gets treatment each day so it doesn't turn into a more serious issue. He says he thinks his body self-corrected with the swing to take some pressure off the arm.
"I'm looking forward to it now,” Gainey said. “… I'm starting to swing at it better. I'm starting to hit the ball like I know I can, and I'm just making putts now. When you make putts, you can shoot low numbers, and I feel like a low number is on the horizon for me."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- There are a lot of things working in Tommy Gainey’s favor at the RBC Heritage.
He finished third here a year ago, and he’s from Darlington, S.C., which is a few hours north of here. Thursday, he also shot a 1-under 70 in blustery conditions to sit near the top of the leaderboard.
“I feel like this course sets up for me pretty well,” Gainey said. “But the conditions are really tough out there.”
That was the prevailing thought among most of the players in the morning wave who teed off when temperatures were only in the 40s and the course was playing firm and fast and windy.
“The wind is just blowing in so many different directions, it’s hard to figure out which way it’s coming from,” Gainey said. “I don’t think anybody is going to run away today.”
Gainey would certainly like to see the wind keep blowing. He’d also like to win a tournament that in his mind is second only to the Masters.
“I love this place,” Gainey said. “This is my home.”
Here’s one other nugget: Should Gainey win, he’d be the first native South Carolinian to do in the history of the long-running event.