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.
On one hand, Shaun Micheel feels guilty. On the other, he knows he’s playing for more than himself.
Despite the difficult reality of his mother suffering from an advanced form of cancer, Micheel, who’s only status on the PGA TOUR is as a past champion, continues to play well. In April, Micheel finished fifth at the Shell Houston Open. Two weeks ago, he had his best ever finish at the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew with a tie for fourth. Saturday, he shot his second straight 65 to get into a tie for 12th (at the moment).
“To have somebody else to play for, it’s had a calming effect,” said Micheel, whose mother Donna, 63, will receive what will be her final chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday. “Plus my mom is very encouraging for me to play while I’m playing well.”
Micheel certainly did that Saturday, making five birdies and no bogeys after taking just 23 putts.Still, Micheel finds himself torn between wanting to spend time with his mother and trying to secure his TOUR card.
“It’s difficult because my mind wanders and I’m a pretty emotional person,” Micheel said. “It helps me to discuss it, it’s very theraputic. I feel great people ask and are concerned. It makes me feel really appreciated.” -- Brian Wacker
It’s moving day at the Travelers Championship and that’s just what J.J. Henry did – move up the leaderboard. Henry, who won this tournament in 2006, shot a 6-under 64 to climb into a tie for seventh. The bad news is, he probably won’t be that high on the leaderboard by the time the day is over. Still, it leaves the Connecticut native in good shape with one round to play.
Henry has played progressively better this week, opening with a 71 before a 67 on Friday and the seven-birdie, one bogey-effort Saturday. The biggest difference? Henry finally got his putter rolling, taking 27 putts (he took 31 and 32 the last two rounds).
Other players going low Saturday morning: Retief Goosen and Chad Campbell (both 5 under through 14 holes), and Shaun Micheel (4 under through 12). -- Brian Wacker
Shaun Micheel may have take a tumble after sharing the first-round lead. But he gave his ailing mother something to smile about on Sunday when he made a double eagle on the sixth hole.
Micheel used a 3-iron from 239 yards on the 523-yard hole. There’s only been one other double eagle in U.S. Open history – made by T.C. Chen on the second hole at Oakland Hills in 1985.
Chen used a 3-wood from 256 yards that day.
Only six players have won the week before a major and then gone on to win one of golf’s four crown jewels.
There likely won’t be a seventh this week, either, as Lee Westwood, who won the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith and Nephew in a playoff on Sunday, continues to tumble down the leaderboard.
The world No. 2 appeared to have gotten himself back in the hunt with a 71 on Friday that left him 3 over for the tournament. But he has made three bogeys and a double today and finds himself 8 over through 53 holes.
Shaun Micheel, who was tied for the first-round lead with Brendon De Jonge and Paul Casey, is also 8 over. Casey is tied for 10th at 4 over through 50 holes while de Jonge is at 5 over and tied for 16th through 14 holes on Saturday.
World No. 4 Steve Stricker shot 77 on Saturday and is 13 over while defending champ Lucas Glover, who also shot 77, is 10 over.
The three first-round co-leaders were unable to keep the momentum going in Friday's second round. But while Paul Casey and Brendon de Jonge remain in serious contention, Shaun Micheel will definitely have to make up ground if he wants to move back up the leaderboard.
Casey and de Jonge each shot second-round 2-over 73s Friday at Pebble Beach, leaving them at even par for the tournament after their opening 69s.
Meanwhile, Micheel stumbled to a 6-over 77 and is now 4 over for the tournament. Not a bad spot, but he'll have to climb over a lot of players now.
For Micheel and Casey, the difference came on the greens. On Thursday, each putted wel on firm, dry greens. On Friday, however, they failed to find the touch on softer, moist greens.
Micheel needed just 22 putts in the first round, fewest in the field. On Friday, he needed 32 putts.
Casey needed just 23 putts on Thursday, but 30 putts on Friday.
Micheel, whose only PGA TOUR win came in the 2003 PGA Championship, had an early birdie at the 11th -- he started his round off the 10th tee -- but gave back the stroke at the par-5 14th.
After making the turn, he started his final nine with three consecutive bogeys and ended it with two more.
Casey managed to produce his 73 despite suffering a triple bogey at the par-5 14th. He hit just six greens in regulation for the second straight day but rallied back with a handful of birdies to avoid disaster.
For de Jonge, the round looked promising when he birdied hole Nos. 12 and 13, But then the rollercoaster started. He bogeyed the 14th, birdied the 15th, then bogeyed three of the next four holes and never produced another birdie.
Shaun Micheel hasn’t exactly had it easy this season. His only status on the PGA TOUR is as a past champion and he’s had to top-10 his way into some tournaments. To get to the U.S. Open, he had to survive a 36-hole qualifier in Memphis, which he did before going out and producing his best-ever finish, a tie for fourth, at the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew.
The former PGA champion isn’t wasting the opportunity this week. He just made his second straight birdie to get to 2 under and into a tie for the lead through 15 holes.
Micheel is also playing with a lot on his mind. His mom has been battling cancer and last week the folks from hospice came to see her. Obviously, a good performance here would go a long way for Micheel on and off the course. -- Brian Wacker
If there’s one guy who’s probably not bothered by the heat here at the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew, it’s Shaun Micheel. Not only does he live here in Memphis, he has other things on his mind.
Micheel, who is currently 1 under through nine holes today and four shots off the lead, is dealing with his mom having cancer. Donna Micheel, 63, has been battling it since it was discovered in a chest X-ray last April, but it has spread from her lung to her brain and the folks from hospice came earlier in the week.
"I'm hoping, but there's not a whole lot of hope," Micheel told the Commercial-Appeal earlier this week. "You know, I'm scared for her."
The doctors told her she'd live for 9-12 months, but she’s past that now and even went to Maui in February. However, on Mother’s Day, she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
"I thought we were losing her then," Micheel told the newspaper. "She was having something called neutropenia, where the white blood cell count is just so low. But after a couple days, they got her blood count up a little bit and she told me to go play."
That’s exactly what Micheel, whose only status on the PGA TOUR this year is as a past champion, has done. He has just one top-10 this season -- a fifth-place finish in Houston -- but he is on pace for another one here. Not only would that get him into the Travelers Championship in two weeks, it would mean everything to his mom.
"Maybe the last few years I've just been too consumed with me, me, me," Micheel continued. "Now I'm finally playing for somebody else, and it's helping me.” -- Brian Wacker
Boo Weekley is finally starting to get healthy and it’s showing in his game. After battling back and shoulder problems much of the year, Weekley has put together some solid results the last couple of months with three finishes in the top 12 in his last six starts. That positive momentum is continuing here in Memphis, too, where Weekley is 5 under through his first 13 holes in the second round. He has yet to make a bogey today and has missed just one putt inside 10 feet while making a couple of putts beyond that range.
Shaun Micheel, meanwhile, has also moved into contention. After successfully making it through the 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier here in Memphis earlier in the week, Micheel has played his first 13 holes today in 3 under. That gets him to 5 under and within two of the lead.
Others going low in cool, soft conditions: Robert Karlsson, who started on the back and turned in 31 after four birdies, and Jason Dufner, Woody Austin and Jonathan Byrd, all of whom are 3 under so far in the second round. -- Brian Wacker
The cut line continues to sit at 1 over, which is a good thing for Kris Blanks, who has now made five straight birdies to sneak back inside the line (actually right on it) after an opening-round 77.
Blanks, who tied for fifth in Hilton Head and was second in Puerto Rico, had missed three of his last five cuts and was headed toward another weekend off before going on a birdie run here in the second round. Blanks has seven birdies in all today and has four holes left to try to hang on.
Others who aren’t so fortunate: Jason Gore, Todd Hamilton, Kevin Stadler, Michael Sim, Shaun Micheel, John Daly and Chris DiMarco. All of them are currently on the outside looking in. -- Brian Wacker