EDISON, N.J. -- William McGirt probably won't be happy to see Thursday come to an end.
The PGA TOUR rookie, who came into The Barclays as the bubble boy at No. 125, has just drained a 31-footer on the 11th hole to move to 7 under for the tournament. McGirt, who has actually made seven birdies in his last eight holes, is now tied for the lead with Harrison Frazar.
McGirt is playing the par-5 12th hole right now. With daylight on the wane, though, this could be his last hole of the day.
EDISON, N.J. – With less than an hour of daylight left, Justin Rose probably won’t get his first round finished. But the Englishman should go home energized after making a run up the leaderboard on Thursday afternoon.
Rose birdied his first hole and bogeyed his next before playing his next 11 holes in 5 under. His most recent birdie came at the 13th hole, where he rolled in an 11-footer for his sixth of the day.
And Rose isn’t the only player prospering as the afternoon wanes. Matt Kuchar, playing two groups behind him, has just made consecutive birdies at Nos. 11 and 12 to join Rose at 5 under.
The group at 4 under is getting bigger, too, with the addition of D.A. Points, Chris Stroud and William McGirt to the mix. Points has played 12 holes, Stroud 10 and McGirt eight.
McGirt, who came into the week as the bubble boy at No. 125, reeled off four straight birdies starting at the fourth hole. It’s very early, but the PGA TOUR rookie is now projected at No. 82.
EDISON, N.J. – This probably won’t come as a surprise but we likely won’t get the first round of The Barclays finished on Thursday.
The final group of Arjun Atwal, Padraig Harrington and William McGirt aren’t slated to tee off No. 1 until 4:35 p.m. ET. But if Mother Nature cooperates, they could make considerable progress toward completion of their opening 18 holes.
The weather forecast for Friday is good with partly cloudy skies on the horizon and the rain expected to hold off until Saturday afternoon. Of course, the main event arrives on Sunday when Hurricane Irene blows into the area.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- John Mallinger has just bogeyed the 11th hole, playing a bit of Army golf from the rough.
With that, he dropped into a five-way tie for second -- and out of the top 125. That boosted Padraig Harrington back to No. 124 and William McGirt back to the bubble spot. Justin Leonard, who is playing the 18th hole, is less than a point behind.
Minutes later, though, McGirt and Leonard had changed spots – likely due to Tommy Gainey’s double bogey at the 11th hole.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- First, William McGirt planned to hit the showers.
Once he had a feel for whether he had a chance of remaining inside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings, McGirt was going to hit the road -- literally, as well as figuratively. He was either headed home to Boiling Springs, S.C., or off to Plainfield, N.J., to make his debut in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
"One way or the other, driving somewhere," McGirt said.
The PGA TOUR rookie was the bubble boy when he finished off a round of 70 on Sunday. For the next two hours, McGirt dropped in and out of the top 125 – primarily locked in a tight battle with Justin Leonard, who was just teeing off when he finished.
"I wish it was in my hands and not in somebody else's hands," McGirt said. "I know there's three guys out there that can pass me. I wish it was left up to me. I just didn't drive it very well today and every putt I hit burned the edge. ... Just sit around and wait all day and see, I guess."
McGirt said he knew he was projected at No. 125 as he played his final three holes. He had two birdie putts inside 16 feet and another chance from 36 on the final hole but couldn't convert.
"The shots I hit, the last three holes ... I was very pleased with," McGirt said. “My caddy asked me on 16 green walking to 17 tee he said, 'Do you want to know where we stand?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'Right now we're projected at 125.' So, you know, right now I just wish it was in my hands and not somebody else's."
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Justin Leonard has just rolled in a 16-footer for eagle at the fifth hole to move back inside the projected top 125 in the FedExCup standings.
Leonard was sitting at No. 124 after the third round but was knocked out early Sunday by Padraig Harrington and William McGirt, who have already finished and face an anxious afternoon. Only the top 125 when the Wyndham Championship is over get to compete in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
McGirt is now the odd man out but there is plenty of golf remaining on a sultry Sunday afternoon. Follow the projected standings by clicking here.
Two of the top five finishers at The Honda Classic -- winner Rory Sabbatini and Tommy Gainey, who claimed solo fifth -- were playing for the eighth consecutive week on the PGA TOUR.
They weren't alone. Among players who have earned FedExCup points, seven have played in every full-field event this season. Joining Sabbatini and Gainey are Spencer Levin, William McGirt, Jarrod Lyle, Chad Collins and Josh Teater.
Call them the Ironmen of 2011.
An eighth player, Matt Bettencourt, also has made eight starts. But unlike the other seven, he qualified for the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January. Bettencourt took the week off two weeks ago before returning to play the Honda Classic.
Sabbatini said Sunday night after his one-stroke win at PGA National that he will actually be playing 10 consecutive weeks. He plans to play at this week's World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and then the following week at the Transitions Championship.
"I think we might have to do a little conversing as to whether or not we are going to continue on to Bay Hill," he said. "My wife made me promise her that when I won, I'd take some time off."
Players usually don't play that many consecutive weeks for fear of getting worn out -- both physically and emotionally. But Sabbatini said he felt like his game was headed in the right direction and he wanted to continue building on the momentum rather than take a week off to rest.
"I felt like something good was going to happen," he said. "I guess if you flip a coin enough times, you are eventually going to end on the right side."
Gainey has two top-10 finishes in his last five starts and seems to be much closer in claiming the first TOUR win of his career. He was originally scheduled in the field at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com but withdrew late Monday morning.
Teater is scheduled to compete in Puerto Rico this week, leaving he and Sabbatini as the last Ironmen standing.
PLAYING EIGHT CONSECUTIVE WEEKS
These players have played every week on TOUR starting with the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of 2011:
|Player||FedExCup rank||FedExCup points||Best finish in 2011|
|Rory Sabbatini||3||724||Winner, The Honda Classic|
|Spencer Levin||15||487||Playoff runner-up, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Tommy Gainey||34||268||Fifth, The Honda Classic|
|William McGirt||72||136||Tied for 19th, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Jarrod Lyle||75||132||Tied for fifth, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Chad Collins||142||50||Tied for 42nd, Mayakoba Golf Classic|
|Josh Teater||207||10||Tied for 63rd, Farmers Insurance Open|
PGA TOUR rookie Bobby Gates should be slipping into his tuxedo about now. He's getting married to Lauren Johnson later today, and tweeted about it around 9 a.m. ET.
bobbygatesgolf: The big day is finally here! Thanks to everyone for the support and I hope everyone has a great day! 10 hours and counting!
Gates’ friends on TOUR are already weighing in on the big day, too.
WilliamMcGirt: Congrats to @bobbygatesgolf and @Laujohn. Couldn't be happier for you guys!
TwoGlovesGolf: Congratulations and best wishes to @bobbygatesgolf and @Laujohn!