GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will be missing five major champions as well as one former PLAYERS champion when The Barclays begins on Thursday.
Angel Cabrera, who has two majors on his resume, as well as former British Open champs Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton and PGA winners Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, won't be participating after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship.
All came into the week ranked outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points as a result. Other notables on the sidelines are Henrik Stenson, who won the 2009 PLAYERS Championship; Rocco Mediate and Boo Weekley.
The leaders have yet to tee off at the Reno-Tahoe Open, but they are already facing pressure to go low in the final round.
Troy Matteson had made five birdies in his first 11 holes to get to 10 under, three off the lead held by Scott Piercy.
Canadian Matt McQuillan has also made a much needed final-round move. He’s 4 under through nine holes, and sits at 9 under. McQuillan entered the week 148th in the FedExCup standings, putting him on the Playoffs bubble.
The winner of the Reno-Tahoe Open will earn a spot at next week’s PGA Championship if already not qualified for the event. The only player near the top of the leaderboard that is in the field next week is Steve Elkington, who won the PGA Championship in 1995.
Elkington is tied for third at 10 under, and leads the five major champions that made the cut in Reno this week (Todd Hamilton – 7 under, Justin Leonard – 6 under, Shaun Micheel – 4 under, Jose Maria Olazabal – 1 over).
Players returning to the Reno-Tahoe Open found a little bit of a twist with the switched nines at Montreux Golf and Country Club. Of course, it doesn’t take long for PGA TOUR pros to adjust and start firing at the flags.
Early in Round 1, Nick O’Hern took the lead with a 4 under trip through his first nine holes. The Australian is still searching for his first TOUR win, and just as importantly this week is looking to improve on his 103rd place in the FedExCup standings.
Also at 4 under through seven holes is Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Champion. He doesn’t have a top-20 finish this season and is 178th in the FedExCup race.
DUBLIN, Ohio – Steve Stricker started the third round of the Memorial Tournament with a three-stroke lead. And that’s just how he ended it, too.
In between, though, Stricker threatened to run away and hide –– even making a pair of eagles on his first five holes. But the back nine rose up and got in his way with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16.
The veteran finished with a 69 for a 12-under total and will play with Jonathan Byrd in Sunday’s final group at 1:25 p.m. Matt Kuchar and Brandt Jobe are tied for third at 8 under while Mark Wilson, Shaun Micheel and Rory McIlroy are another stroke behind.
Muirfield Village was playing firm and fast as the leaders came through on a steamy Saturday afternoon. But about the time the pros were sitting down to dinner the heavens opened up and rain and hail began to pelt Jack Nicklaus’ signature creation.
Depending on how much rain falls, Muirfield Village could play very differently on Sunday. Regardless of whether it’s firm and fast or softer and longer, though, it certainly won’t be easy.
“This course is tough enough that if you've got it going a little bit off it can hurt you,” Kuchar said. “But looks like Strick has got it all, and it's going to take a low number for anybody to knock Steve Stricker tomorrow to have a chance.”
Shaun Micheel walked off the 18th green on Friday with a nice red number: 3-under 68.
Or as he called it, "even par."
Indeed, TPC Boston was virtually defenseless when the morning wave teed off Friday. With no wind, soft greens, tees moved up and lift, clean and place in effect, it was easy to fire at pins.
Vijay Singh, who played in the first group with Micheel and shot a bogey-free 5-under 66, said the pins themselves were also in prime scoring spots.
"They set up the golf course quite easy," said Singh, a two-time winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship. "Par for the course would be at least 68, which is 3 under. I think 3-, 4-under is par for the golf course.
"Guys shooting over par, they're either having bad luck out there or playing badly. It's just set up to shoot a low number."
When Singh finished his round the early stroke average for the field was 67.017 -- four strokes under par.
Singh owns a share of the course record after shooting 61 in 2006. Mike Weir matched that number two years later.
The 2008 FedExCup champion, who ranks 86th in FedExCup points this week and needs a good result to advance to next week's BMW Championship, said that kind of score is out there again.
"I wouldn't be surprised if somebody shoots 60, 61 this morning," Singh said.
In terms of the afternoon group, though, the threat of Hurricane Earl has caused uncertainty on how it will impact play. Singh said he won’t be wandering back out to the course.
“I think I’m just gonna go inside,” he said.
Thanks to birdies on five of his first eight holes, Shaun Micheel is now 20 under and within a stroke of second.
Micheel, of course, has been dealing with the illness of his 63-year-old mom, Donna, who has cancer and he’s already withdrawn from next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open. Should he finish second here, though, he’ll be faced with a difficult decision: play in the Open Championship, or spend time at home.
Micheel hasn’t posted four rounds in the 60s in the same tournament since the 2005 Southern Farm Bureau Open and he’s also looking for his third top-10 finish of the season after not recording a single top-10 in 2008 and 2009. -- Brian Wacker
Two months ago, there were a lot of questions surrounding Steve Stricker and how long he would be out and what kind of golf he would play when he returned from a left shoulder injury. He seems to have that answered that this week.
Stricker has five birdies and no bogeys through 12 holes today and for the week has a field-best 23 birdies -- and just two bogeys. That has Stricker 22 under and four shots clear of Paul Goydos, who is just 3 under on the round and four back of Stricker.
Meanwhile, the day’s best round now belongs to Shaun Micheel, who turned in an 8-under 63 after making the turn in 30. Micheel is now tied for fourth as a result. -- Brian Wacker
Former PGA Champion Shaun Micheel and Vaughn Taylor are putting their Saturdays to good use, charging up the leaderboard.
Taylor hit 16 greens in regulation for the second day in a row, rolling home seven birdies, en route to a 7-under 64.
After a 30 on the front 9, Micheel is continuing his assault on TPC Deere Run on the back nine. Through 12 holes, he has six birdies, five pars and just 18 putts.
Jason Day had gone from 6-under to 11-under on the back nine today, but gave a shot back on 18 when his shot found the bunker. He’s in the clubhouse at 10-under, currently tied for 13 th.