Lee Westwood will have an opportunity to defend his title this week in Memphis after playing his first two rounds in 1 under -- though he’ll obviously have some work to do with the lead currently at 9 under.
Padraig Harrington, on the other hand, will have to hope the cut line moves a stroke after playing his first 36 holes in 2 over -- the current cut line is 1 over.
Others on the wrong side of the number include Brian Gay (1 over through seven holes, 2 over for the week), last year’s hard-luck loser Robert Garrigus (3 over through two rounds), two-time winner here David Toms (5 over through two rounds), Anthony Kim (even through eight holes, 5 over for the week) and Sergio Garcia (even through eight, 8 over on the week).
Robert Garrigus, who squandered a three-shot lead on the final hole of last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, might not be around for the weekend this time.
At 3 over through 16 holes here in the second round, Garrigus is also 3 over for the tournament and two shots outside the current cut line.
Other notables on the outside looking in include:
-- Zach Johnson, who is also 3 over and will tee off in just under 45 minutes from now.
-- Jhonattan Vegas, who is 3 over and will tee off just after Johnson.
-- Anthony Kim, who is 5 over and will tee off at 1:27 p.m. ET
-- Sergio Garcia, who is 8 over and will also tee off at 1:27 p.m. ET
Unless the cut line moves a stroke, Ben Crane will be headed home early from TPC Four Seasons. At least it will be a short trip for Crane, who lives in nearby Westlake and finished his first two rounds at 2 over after a pair of 71s and one shot outside the number.
Crane isn’t the only notable player on the wrong of the number.
Anthony Kim is in the clubhouse at 3 over after a 71 Friday. So is Tommy Gainey. Charlie Wi, who lost in a playoff to David Toms last week, Justin Leonard and Sean O’Hair are all headed home early as well.
Among those fighting so stay inside the cut? PLAYERS winner K.J. Choi, who is 1 over for the week and even through three holes in the second round, and defending champion Jason Day, who is also 1 over after playing his first three holes in Round 2 at 1 under.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
It’s early in the opening round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational but not surprisingly there are already plenty of low numbers on the board at Colonial, where Brendon de Jonge has the early advantage at 7 under through 15 holes.
Right behind him? David Toms, who appears to have bounced back from his playoff loss at THE PLAYERS Championship pretty quickly. He’s 6 under through 11 holes -- nine greens in regulation and just 14 putts so far in what looks pretty similar to what he did last week.
There are a couple of requisite Aussies high on the leaderboard in Rod Pampling (5 under through 14) and Adam Scott (4 under through 13). Australians always seem to play well in Texas -- be it the similar grasses to that of Australia or the wind -- and that seems to be the case at least in the early going again.
Anthony Kim is also off to a good start at 5 under through his first nine holes. Kim missed the cut last week, but he was striping his irons on the range.
The course record, by the way, is 61.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson is bidding for an unprecedented sixth consecutive Sprint Cup championship. His goals at Quail Hollow on Wednesday are much more modest, though.
"I just hope to keep it between the galleries tomorrow and just keep it out there," Johnson said. "It doesn't have to be in the short stuff but just somewhere between would be nice."
Johnson is playing in the Wells Fargo Championship pro-am for the fifth time on Wednesday. Another NASCAR driver, Denny Hamlin, was on the winning team in Monday's festivites so Johnson needs a good day to regain bragging rights -- at least on the golf course.
The race track, where Johnson has won 54 times, is another story. His first challenge, though? "I turn left for a living, and for some reason my golf ball goes right all the time," Johnson said with a chuckle.
Johnson said he carries a 21 handicap right now -- "I had to swallow before I said it," he said with a grin. But the birth of his first child, a daughter named Genevieve, last July has curtailed Johnson's usual Monday rounds of golf with his buddies.
"For me, things have changed so much since becoming a father, and I hate to admit it, but tomorrow will be my second round of golf this year," Johnson said. "I think I sent out a Tweet a week or so ago about wearing headgear and shin guards, and I wasn't lying. There's a chance I could spray it a little bit.
"I played the one round, and it went well, better than I expected. I'll have fun with it tomorrow. I don't play as much as I would like to, and with our busy race schedule as you know, and then being a father, to sneak out for four or five hours of golf, it's just tough to find that time anymore."
Johnson won the pro-am several years ago when he played with Anthony Kim -- "It's the only golfing trophy I have and probably the only one I'll ever have," he said. Even so, Johnson, who now lives in Charlotte, not far from Quail Hollow, knows he'll be nervous on the first tee.
"I've found that the first three or four holes are really the most difficult," he said. "And then you kind of start breathing again and relax and get into the swing of things. But that first tee box is as fearful as anyone has ever mentioned; all the people standing around, your friends remind you of bad shots people have made there.
"My first year with Darren Clarke and Casey Mears, luckily Casey's was so much worse than mine, mine was 80 yards, his went like 20 yards that people really forgot about my shot. It is nerve-wracking on that first tee box."
Fear, though, isn't always such a bad thing. At least, when Johnson settles in behind the wheel of the Lowe's Chevrolet.
"Within racing I find that I'm really motivated by fear inside the car, and if you lose a respect for how fast we're going at the tracks and what we're doing, not only can you put yourself in harm's way but I think you start over driving the vehicle and not doing things that will lead to race wins and championships," he said.
"So fear is something I think most professional athletes have to deal with and learn to live with. I know there are a lot of sports psychologists that try to push it out of your mind, but when I've done that I've ignored important steps along the way, and I've let fear and even failure be a big part of my mindset as I race to help me stay out of trouble and do the right things."
After five Sprint Cup championships, Johnson is certainly doing something right.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
Will there eventually come a day where every manufacturer’s driver is available in white?
We’re not there yet, but Cobra has joined TaylorMade in introducing a white offering for its S3 driver, on the heels of a limited-edition run of white ZL drivers last year. Those white ZL drivers – one of which Ian Poulter used to win last November in Hong Kong – actually preceded the TaylorMade white R11 and Burner SuperFast 2.0, though you’re forgiven for not remembering that given the barrage of TaylorMade advertising and TOUR success.
“We’re excited to be the only brand to offer both a white and black driver model to golfers this season, complete with our latest 2011 technologies,” said Cobra-Puma Golf senior vice president/general manager Brian Zender, offering a slight zing to the fact that TaylorMade’s white sticks aren’t also available in black.
BALL MOVES: Jhonattan Vegas switched to Nike’s 20XI X golf ball for the Valero Texas Open, joining others in the Nike stable including Justin Leonard and Anthony Kim (who plays the softer S model). Tiger Woods, however, still plays the Nike One Tour D.
MIXED BAG: TOUR pros aren’t afraid to mix and match to find a winning combination, but Brendan Steele’s bag is pretty unique. In winning the Valero Texas Open, the rookie played a Titleist driver, hybrid, irons and wedges (matching his hat and bag) but also had a Callaway X-Tour 3-iron and a TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza Mid putter.
One club that proved especially key for Steele was a 60-degree (bent to 62 degrees) Titleist Vokey wedge, which he recovered from his garage just before leaving for San Antonio. Its lower bounce proved helpful on the tight fairways of the AT&T Oaks course.
Anthony Kim said he felt like he was a little boy again as his long-time swing coach, Adam Schreiber, was watching him on the range in Houston late last month.
"I developed so many bad habits I couldn't list them all for you," Kim recalled. "... I called my coach in and said, 'We're going to start with the fundamentals. I want to work on the grip.'
"We spent an hour hitting balls on the range. He would check my grip after every golf swing. I felt like I was four, five years old learning how to play the game again. But that's exactly what I needed and hopefully it will payoff soon."
Kim is a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR. But he hasn't been the same since he had surgery to repair a partially torn ligament at the base of his left thumb last May.
The 25-year-old started the 2011 season with three top-20 finishes, including a tie for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open. But that was his first top-10 since the Wells Fargo Championship last year -- the week before he had the operation.
That tie for seventh in Charlotte also capped a torrid stretch that saw Kim win in a playoff at the Shell Houston Open, finish second at The Honda Classic and take third at the Masters -- all in the span of five starts. His best finish on TOUR once he returned to competition last August was a tie for 48th.
"Whatever I was doing before I went and had surgery worked mentally and my swing in 2008 was pretty solid," Kim said. "I wasn't perfect but it was solid. And if I could put those two things together, that's when my best golf is going to come.
"Unfortunately, I didn't have the right tools when I came back from my surgery to use my course management that I learned when I was injured to my advantage. But I feel like I'm slowly starting to get the hang of it.
"At Augusta there was one, two areas on the golf course where I felt like I pushed a little too hard and I didn't use the experience that I gained when I was injured to my advantage and ended up making a bogey or a double bogey and ended up costing me the cut. But, at the end of the day I'm trying to get better every week. I feel like I am."
Kim, who missed the cut at the Masters last week, tied for second at the Valero Texas Open in 2006, as he made his PGA TOUR debut. But that was played at La Cantera Golf Club – this is his first appearance at TPC San Antonio.
"It's in great shape," Kim said. "If you don't hit some quality shots, it seems like you're going to end up in some rocks or some trees. So I'm going to try to keep the ball in play and obviously if the wind stays down you can make some birdies out here."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There are few places or things that get Anthony Kim excited the way Augusta National and the Masters do, which would explain why he was so giddy Wednesday afternoon as he stood on the sun-splashed lawn behind the clubhouse.
The Masters, Kim said, is his favorite tournament and the major he feels he has the best chance of winning, mostly because of the imagination and short-game ability that are required at Augusta National.
A year ago Kim did nearly that. He put on the kind of charge that books are written about -- the only problem was he didn’t win. His final-round 65 resulted in a third-place finish behind Lee Westwood and winner Phil Mickelson.
Still, that Sunday was a sign of what Kim is capable of -- when the stars are aligned in his crazy world that includes everything from pet monkeys to Vegas tales, he can be a big-time performer on a big-time stage.
“This is a very special place to me,” Kim said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to win here.”
He nearly did last year with three birdies and an eagle on holes 13 through 16 that briefly gave him a share of the lead.
A month later, however, Kim, who had been playing with a torn ligament in his thumb, was forced to miss three months due to surgery.
Kim wasn’t the same when he came back. He tied for 76th at Firestone then proceeded to miss his next four cuts. Kim didn’t contend in a tournament the rest of the year and got off to a slow start in 2011, still hampered by injury.
Finally healthy again, Kim is hoping Augusta National can be his stage once again, only with a different outcome. At last week’s Shell Houston Open, he put together his best finish of the year with a tie for 13th that included a second-round 64.
“My game is getting a lot better,” Kim said. “That 64 was a big step or me personally. I’m very confident.”
For Kim, confidence is half the battle. Now the other half is up to what he does with it.