Not surprisingly, there are already some low numbers being shot in the early stages of the opening round at TPC Deere Run, where Davis Love III and Paul Goydos are each 5 under through 11 holes.
Goydos of course opened last year’s tournament with a 59 before going on to finish second.
Seven others, meanwhile, are a shot back at 4 under. Among them? Steve Stricker. He’s won there the last two years and is again in position, at least early on, to make a run at a third straight title.
Stricker is looking to become just the ninth different player since World War II to win a PGA TOUR event three straight years. Last year, he became the first player to win the event in back-to-back years since David Frost achieved the feat at Oakwood CC in 1992 and 1993.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With heavy rain now soaking the course -- and thunder and lightning in the area -- it will likely be a while before play resumes. Six players, however, were fortunate enough to finish their rounds before the horn sounded.
Your leader in the clubhouse at the moment? Kris Blanks, who carded a 2-under 68 that included an eagle on the par-4 15th, which is also this week’s Kodak Challenge hole. Blanks drove his ball short of the green on the 275-yard hole, then chipped in for the eagle from just inside 54 feet.
Ben Curtis, meanwhile, is one back after a 69. Curtis has a history of playing well here with four career top-15s in the event, including a pair of top-5s.
Others already done for the day are: Graham DeLaet (70), Scott Stallings (71), Steve Elkington (71) and Paul Goydos (72).
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
There aren’t many clubmakers in the world whose products can simultaneously go in a TOUR player’s bag and on a collector’s wall, never even once hitting a ball.
Scotty Cameron inspires that kind of behavior with his famous Titleist-branded putters. There are the TOUR-used models, like Tiger Woods’ famous Newport 2 (in the bag for all 14 of his major titles), then those that collectors crave and sell to the tune of thousands of dollars.
Consequently, his thoughts on the art, science and business of putters are closely followed throughout the
Cameron was asked about the latest color craze in clubs, and noted that the classics aren’t going away anytime soon.
“Good ideas seem to come back around, like the white putter, which is nothing new. The White Fang Jack Nicklaus used was really a Bull's-Eye back in that day with the fang on the back [Nicklaus won the 1967 U.S. Open with that putter],” Cameron said. “These ideas come around. I've done red putters with the Caliente. In my experience there are three colors that sell—not that you can't get far-fetched—but there is black, there is silver, and there is gold.”
HE SAID IT: David Toms won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial with a Never Compromise Dinero Tycoon putter, a conventional-length model. Prior to the event, he was asked about the trend on TOUR toward longer putters and whether he had used them.
“I have practiced with long putters before, belly putters. It's a great stroke that way. I have problems setting up with them.
“I think if I could get the set up and feel comfortable I wouldn't mind putting that way because I think it's almost like cheating at times. Especially coming down the stretch last week (at THE PLAYERS) trying to win, you have that nervous factor and nervous energy and all of that and it factors into your stroke sometimes -- where if you anchored something into your body maybe that wouldn't be there. So certainly I would say it's a good way to putt if you can get comfortable.”
SCRATCH GOLFER: Rich Beem switched from Ping G-15 irons to a set from Scratch Golf, the company that once supplied clubs to Ryan Moore and now counts David Duval in its stable of pros. Read more here.
THE LAST WORD: Paul Goydos, last week when asked if he would go from a conventional to a long putter: “I was bad, and I hit some putts with a belly putter. It was worse. My issues with putting really aren't the length of the putt, it's the length between my ears.”
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Rory Sabbatini, who won here four years ago, is among the hottest players who teed off in the morning wave of Friday's second round at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Sabbatini is 5 under through his first 12 holes, moving him to 7 under for the tournament. That's just one stroke off the lead shared by David Toms and Chez Reavie, who each shot 8-under 62 on Thursday. Toms is scheduled to tee off at 1:24 p.m. ET, and Reavie will tee off at 1:46 p.m. ET today.
Sabbatini had a stretch of four consecutive birdies starting at the ninth hole. At the 10th, he holed out from the fringe just off the green, while at the 12th, he rolled in a putt from just inside 21 feet.
Lucas Glover , winner of the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, is also making a big move Friday. Like Sabbatini, he's also 5 under through his first 12 holes, leaving him at 4 under for the tournament.
One of Glover's playing partners, Paul Goydos, is also 5 under on his round, putting him at 5 under for the tournament.
Defending Colonial champ Zach Johnson is 2 under through 12 holes and 4 under for the tournament.
Big-hitting Australian Steven Bowditch is 4 under through his first eight holes, moving him to 7 under for the tournament. Bowditch ranks fifth on the PGA TOUR in driving distance.
Like Toms and Reavie, most of the players at the top of the first-round leaderboard do not tee off until this afternoon. They could be dealing with some dicey weather. There is a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Lucas Glover has a beard, the most talked about one on the PGA TOUR. Hunter Mahan has a beard, too.
Paul Goydos used to have facial hair while on TOUR ... in 1996.
Now those three will be grouped together this week in the first two rounds of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. On Thursday, they tee off at 1:24 p.m. ET off the first tee; on Friday, they tee off on the 10th tee at 8:54 a.m. ET.
"I'm older than both of them combined, maybe," Goydos said. Well, not quite -- Goydos is 46; Glover is 31 and Mahan turned 29 on Tuesday. But you get his point.
"That's a great pairing," Goydos said. "Lucas is obviously playing quite well, winning at Wells Fargo. And Hunter has played well for the last three or four years. I'm looking forward to it."
Asked about the need to grow some facial hair in order to match his playing partners, Goydos joked that he had a five-day growth going. It wasn’t that easy to see.
Then he spoke about his goatee, which he sported when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard back in 1996.
"Arnold didn't appreciate that too much," Goydos said about the goatee. "You don't want to have facial hair when you win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"Arnold is not a big fan of facial hair. If he asks you to shave, that's what you do."
Goydos then continued the colorful story about his win, the first of his two TOUR victories.
"I was so under the radar at that event, he didn't know who I was," Goydos said. "I walked up on the 18th green. He was like, 'What are you doing? Who are you? Why are you on my green?'
"Well, I won.
"'You need to shave that stuff off.'
"OK, nice to meet you."
Whether the King remembers the story that way, who knows. With Goydos, it's best just to listen and enjoy.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- It was a different par-3 -- the 13th -- that cost Paul Goydos this time at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Goydos bogeyed the 149-yard hole, three-putting from 45 1/2 feet on his way to a 3-under 69 Sunday to finish third in a tournament he nearly won three years ago until dumping his tee shot on the par-3 17th in the water during a playoff with Sergio Garcia.
If it’s any consolation, Goydos didn’t lose this tournament, K.J. Choi won it. The 40-year-old Korean finished regulation two strokes ahead of Goydos before beating David Toms in a playoff.
“I'm actually quite pleased with the way I played today,” Goydos said. “Quite frankly, it's a tough course.
“The 13th hole really was a good number. I hit a perfect distance, and just, you know, maybe gunned it a little right to avoid the water, and it just didn't catch the wind there.”
Goydos bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 16th and it looked like he might get some revenge on the diabolical 17th when he hit his tee shot to just inside 12 feet. The ball never took the slope, however, and Goydos missed the birdie putt.
“Has any ball ever stopped on that hill? Ever, ever?,” Goydos said. “I only nudged the ball and it rolled right down into the hole. So it was pretty funky.”
Goydos had little else to be disappointed with this week.
He tied for first in fairways hit and was second in greens in regulation and recorded his best finish of the season.
Goydos also felt a lot more comfortable coming down the stretch this time around. In 2008, he mis-clubbed, using a wedge on the 17th hole, and came up short to lose to Garcia. This time he hit a near-perfect 9-iron.
That experience in 2008 also aided him here this week.
“It did [feel similar to 2008] from a how‑I‑hit‑it standpoint, absolutely,” Goydos said. “I really drove the ball well this week. I hit the ball well. I was really happy with how I hit it. I made a couple of putts, which is something I haven't been doing all year.”
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- What was once a wide-open leaderboard is down to probably four contenders at the most now.
The current clubhouse lead is 9 under, but David Toms is 13 under and one clear of K.J. Choi with five holes left.
Two shots back from Choi are Paul Goydos and Nick Watney, though they’re already on the 16th hole and running out of time.
The best round of the day so far? Sergio Garcia’s 65. He challenged the course record for a while but a bogey on the par-3 eighth -- his 17th hole of the day after starting on the back -- ended those chances.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- There’s still a lot of golf to be played, but David Toms, at least at this point, is in control. He’s 13 under and leads by two over K.J. Choi through nine holes.
Graeme McDowell? He made a mess of the par-5 ninth, first hitting it left off the tee and into a shrub. He tried to punch out but his next shot went only a few feet. McDowell’s third landed in a greenside bunker and he got up-and-down from there for a bogey -- his third in the last four holes to turn in 2-over 38.
Then there’s Paul Goydos. He was on contention here in 2008 when he found the water on the 17th hole during the final round, but he’s been solid all week. Today he has three birdies over his last five holes to get to 10 under -- certainly not out of it yet.
Speaking of the 10th, play was stopped briefly at the 10th hole, where a woman had a seizure and medics attended to her.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Three years ago, Paul Goydos was in position to win THE PLAYERS Championship but eventually lost in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at the island 17th hole when his tee ball found the water.
Goydos appears to be putting himself in position to make another run at the title. He’s birdied five of his last seven holes and is now 7 under for the tournament, three shots off the lead held by David Toms.
Goydos opened with a 3-under 69 on Thursday and is currently 3 under on his second round through 11 holes.
Robert Karlsson just finished his second round, shooting a 4-under 67 to leave him at 5 under for the tournament.
Hunter Mahan has also made a big move. He’s 5 under on his round through 15 holes and is 7 under for the tournament.
Toms is finished with his second round; he shot a 4-under 68 and stands at 10 under for the tournament.
Alvaro Quiros, Graeme McDowell, Steve Stricker, J. B. Holmes and Chris Stroud also have made positive moves Friday morning.
Jacksonville-born David Duval has dropped below the cut line after shooting a 4-over 76. He had opened with a 2-under 70 on Thursday.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- So Much for Ernie Els’ title defense.
Last year’s winner didn’t break par all week and on Sunday shot a 78 that has him near the bottom of the leaderboard at 10 over for the tournament.
Els made two bogeys and a double bogey on his first three holes of the tournament and never got out of that rut. Sunday, the Big Easy bogeyed the first hole at Bay Hill for the third time this week then added a triple bogey on the par-5 sixth, where he hit his tee shot into the water before three-putting from just over 100 feet.
The lone bright spot of the day for Els came on No. 16, where he got up-and-down for birdie from just off the green on the par-5.
As bad as Els’ day was, 1996 winner Paul Goydos’ was much worse.
Goydos shot an 85 -- the highest score of the week -- that included three double bogeys and one triple bogey. He had two three-putts and one five-putt from just inside 14 feet on the 12th hole.
Afterward, Goydos tweeted: “Gone from bad to embarrassingly bad!! Priceless.”
Goydos finished his week with a 20-over 308 total, which is seven strokes shy of the record for the highest 72-hole score at Bay Hill. David Edwards holds that dubious honor after shooting 73-79-83-80 in 1983. -- Brian Wacker