DUBLIN, Ohio –- Steve Stricker is human, after all.
He has just bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 at Muirfield Village. Suddenly, a Memorial Tournament that was threatening to be a runaway has gotten a little closer.
Stricker, who has played the front side in 14 under, is now 2 over on the back. He’s 12 under and leads Matt Kuchar, Jonathan Byrd and Brandt Jobe by four with two holes remaining. Byrd is playing the 18th hole right now.
Stricker’s bogey at the par-5 15th was his first there in 22 rounds dating back to the second round in 1999. Interestingly, in his previous 11 Memorial appearances, Stricker is 8 over on the front and 16 under on the back.
He drove into the left rough at the par-5 15th, hit his second onto the bank beside the creek and chipped out into the fairway. His fourth landed 31 feet above the hole and he two-putted for the first bogey.
Stricker then was unable to get up and down from the greenside bunker at the difficult 16th hole. He missed a 4-footer there for par.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Jeff Quinney, looking for his first PGA TOUR win this week in his 132nd career start, opened Thursday's first round with five birdies in his first nine holes to take a share of the early lead at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Quinney went out in 4-under 31 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort, thanks in large part to a string of three consecutive birdies starting at the fourth hole (including a birdie at the fifth when he rolled in a putt from 42 feet). He was at 5 under on his round after a birdie at the 10th hole but dropped a stroke at the 12th and is now 4 under.
Scott Piercy is also at 4 under through eight holes after making four consecutive birdies.
Brandt Jobe, a former TPC Four Seasons member who still lives in the area, also went out in 31 and is now 3 under on his round.
Among the notables near the top of the leaderboard are Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, both at 2 under after just making the turn. Garcia made eagle at the par-4 10th when he holed out from the primary rough from 115 yards.
K.J. Choi, making his first start since winning THE PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago, is at 1 under through his first 10 holes.
Andres Romero has had an interesting round. He opened with a double bogey, bogeyed two of the next three holes, made par at the next hole, then reeled off four straight birdies to make the turn at even par.
Due to weather issues earlier in the week, players are being allowed to play preferred lies on closely mown areas through the green on Thursday.
According to the notice given to competitors, if a player's ball lies on a loosely mown area -- an area cut to fairway height or less -- through the green, the player may mark, lift and clean his ball without penalty. The player can place his ball on a spot within one club length of the original spot.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
The story has been well-documented by now: Brandt Jobe was cleaning out his garage four years ago when the broom he was using broke and a piece of metal severed his fingers.
“I've kind of had to make a lot of changes, with all the injuries, in my swing,” Jobe said Thursday after a 3-under 69 at the Wells Fargo Championship ( click here for scorecard ). “I used to be a big fader of the ball, and I can't do that anymore because I can't feel it, can't time it out. So made some changes in my golf swing, and now I'm actually drawing the ball a little bit.”
Anyone that’s suffered an injury to their hand knows that’s not an easy change to make. Ryan Moore battled his swing when he hurt his hand in the beginning of his career and more recently Anthony Kim who underwent thumb surgery last year.
Basically, the only thing that helps is time.
”I'm starting to trust it, and I haven't had any trust here for a few years,” Jobe said. “You throw in a couple putts here and there, and it's been pretty solid.”
Jobe wasn’t exactly sharp with the putter on Thursday -- he took 30 putts -- but he also made just one bogey after hitting 14 greens in regulation. He also made a couple of lengthy putts from over 20 feet.
“That was really the key,” Jobe continued. “Made a couple key putts, and didn't do anything spectacular, but it added up well.”
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- A lot has been written already this year about the New Breed and the Establishment on the PGA TOUR. It’s more than a marketing plan, though – and you have only to look at the leaders of the Farmers Insurance Open for proof.
Four of the five players currently tied for the lead at 5 under are 25 or younger – Chris Kirk (25), Sung-hoon Kang (24), Ben Martin (23) and Rickie Fowler (22). Brant Jobe at 45 is holding the banner for the “old” guys.
Four years ago, Brandt Jobe’s chances of ever playing golf again were “50-50” after a thin piece of metal sliced through his left hand when the broom he was using to sweep out his garage suddenly broke.
Now, he’s in contention at Torrey Pines, where he’s 4 under through his first 13 holes in the opening round, which is a far cry from where he was after the accident.
Jobe’s finger was severed and reattached, but his career was never quite the same. He says 2007 and 2008 were “miserable” -- he made just eight cuts in 23 events -- and it’s been a struggle to get back to what was once a promising if not very solid career, especially internationally, where Jobe made a lot of his money.
Then came q-school, where he finished in a tie for sixth last year to earn back full status on the PGA TOUR. That brought him to Torrey Pines, where he’s making his second start of the season (he tied for 42nd at the Sony Open in Hawaii) and obviously faring well, even if it is early.
So far, Jobe has five birdies and just one bogey with nothing but pars on the back nine at Torrey’s North Course. ( Click to here to view his scorecard.)
“I’m not back to where I was but I’m getting there and working hard and the game is improving,” Jobe said late last year. “I had to reset everything. I was 75th in the world when I got hurt and I got readjusted each year instead of going back to how I was playing. That’s been very frustrating … a very frustrating few years.” -- Brian Wacker