By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
LAS VEGAS -- Defending champion Ryan Moore matched Friday's low score to move into contention at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Moore is at 10-under 132 after Friday's 63. He is tied for seventh, five shots behind leader Webb Simpson.
"It was one of those days I needed to get something going and take advantage of it," he said. "After I made four birdies in a row on the front, I kind of got a little momentum and my sights turned to, all right, let's see what we can do with this."
He made bogey on No. 3 to fall to 1 under par for the tournament, but birdied the next four holes to turn in 3-under 32. He had five birdies and no bogeys on the back nine.
"The difference was hitting my wedges and 9-iron good," Moore replied when asked to compare the first and second rounds. "Yesterday I just kept hitting those to 20 feet all day, and I finally stuffed a few and hit some to 8, 10 feet and was able to convert those. The ball just got closer to the hole overall today."
Moore, an alumnus of nearby UNLV, shot 24-under 260 to win this tournament last year for his second PGA TOUR victory. He is 34 under par in his last six rounds here, a scoring average of 65.33. He said a new mindset last year has helped him have success on his home course. He still lives in Las Vegas.
"I made myself look at this course like I would any other course that I was going to play a tournament on," he said. "It is easy to get lazy (on your home course). I really kind of stepped back and looked at the course a little differently last year, and it obviously paid off."
Each week, PGATOUR.COM's Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton offers his Power Rankings for the weekly TOUR event as well as his Sleeper picks. But what about the players who don't make the Power Rankings but who can't really be considered Sleepers? Bolton will make one "wild card" selection from the large group of players who fall into that middle range but might rise up to claim the title. This week's pick is ...
Never rule him out on Donald Ross designs. Better yet, don't dismiss him due to recent form. Since a T7 at the Travelers Championship -- his third top 10 of the season -- he hasn't cracked the top 20, but he's shown flashes every time out. In touring professional parlance, it means he's "close." Ranks 22nd on the PGA TOUR in fairways hit and 64th in strokes gained-putting.
Robert Karlsson, whose best finish at Quail Hollow is a tie for 24th, is contending in his adopted hometown.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Granted, Robert Karlsson and Ryan Moore each gave a stroke back as they played Quail Hollow's tough three-hole finishing stretch nicknamed "The Green Mile."
But as the leaders were teeing off in the Wells Fargo Championship the two veterans were living proof birdies were to be had on Saturday. Moore birdied five of his first seven holes while Karlsson, the Swede who now lives in Charlotte, made his move up the leaderboard with a 69 that included five birdies.
The two are tied at 6 under, as a result, with John Senden, who shot 67; Derek Ernest and Lee Westwood, who shot 72s, and David Lynn, who birdied the last two holes for his 71. Even better, they are only two strokes off the lead.
"I got off to a hot start," Moore acknowledged. "It was a pretty tough, blustery, windy day and the course is playing long. So you had a lot of long irons, hybrids and even fairway woods into the par 4s. So obviously to get into a off to a hot start like that was great.
"I found myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine and kind of started missing some fairways but I was able to scramble and keep it a reasonable round."
Karlsson, who lives about 20 minutes from Quail Hollow, birdied the first hole for the third time this week. He agreed with Moore about the conditions.
"It's nice to come off to a good start and play well and manage to keep it going," he said. "It's very testing conditions out there. We've got a lot of wind and the greens are not easy to hole a lot of putts on. So it's very important to keep patient and keep going because you never know what's going to happen. If you get a good streak, it could be very good."
The weather is expected to worsen on Sunday and tournament officials have moved tee times up in hopes of getting play complete before the worst of the rain arrives. Players will be sent off in threesomes from 6:45-9:45 a.m.
"I hope the weather holds off," Moore said. "If something pretty tough hits us first thing in the morning I'm not sure what they're going to do to the event. Hopefully it holds off until the afternoon like they're thinking. I'm just gonna go off, keep my head down and see what happens."
"It's obviously not ideal to tee off on Sunday at 7 o'clock in the morning," Karlsson said. "But we'll have to do what we can to get the round finished if the weather's going to be really bad. We're getting used to this this year. We've had a lot of bad weather, and we just need to deal with it."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Imagine what score Ryan Moore might have posted if his putter had been more cooperative.
The 67 he shot in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship certainly wasn't a disappointment. Quite the contrary, the round of 5 under was good enough for a share of the lead when Moore finished the first round.
Considering he hit all 18 greens in regulation, though, if Moore could have shaved a few of the 31 putts off his stat sheet, he might have opened a comfortable advantage.
"It was a really good ball striking day for me," Moore said in understatement. "... (I) just gave myself opportunities all the way around. Obviously, I wasn't able to convert all of them, but I made enough to keep some good, positive momentum throughout the round and just really carried it through the back side."
Moore said the greens at Quail Hollow, several of which have suffered due to the unseasonably long winter, rolled better on Thursday than during the practice rounds. He birdied the ninth hole, then added another at the 10th and closed with a 32 for the solid 67.
"I had hit good shots the first seven holes of the day on maybe the best seven greens on the whole golf course and didn't make any of them," Moore said. "And then I got on 9 and dropped a 25 footer. I think that just kind of created some positive momentum there. I was able to make a good putt on 10 and then made another really good putt on 12 just kind of carried me through."
Moore, who won his first PGA TOUR event at the 2009 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., which is about 90 minutes from Charlotte, tied for fifth at Quail Hollow last year. He opened with a 65 to take a share of the first-round lead, then trailed by one entering the final round.
"It's hard to stay sometimes why you play well on certain golf courses," Moore said. "I enjoy this area, and I enjoy this golf course. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. Sometimes just having a positive attitude about it going into it can make you play well.
"But I think something about it just kind of suits me. It suits my eye. I like the shots, and I like bentgrass greens. They're obviously a little rough this year, but you can still make putts on them."
MARANA, Ariz. -- Jim Furyk won four straight holes, including three with birdies, on the way to a 4-and-2 victory over Ryan Moore.
The match was all square when the two returned to Dove Mountain on Thursday to hit their second shots on the seventh hole. Moore had split the fairway while Furyk hit what he called an "ugly little low hook" into the rough when the siren blew.
"So I knew that's what would be waiting on me this morning," Furyk said. "My goal was to go out and if I could somehow manage a halve on 7, it would feel like a victory. ... I hacked it out, knocked a wedge up there from about 106 and knocked it to about four feet and made it for par, and it gave me a boost of confidence."
Then Furyk started the birdie barrage. He made a 6-footer at the par-5 eighth hole, then won No. 9 with a par and made birdie putts of 14 and 7 feet on the next two holes to take a 4-up advantage. He bogeyed the 12th hole but answered with two more winning birdies and it was only a matter of time.
"So really get being off to a really good start this morning with the halve on 7 and then winning four holes was a big jump for me," Furyk said.
He now faces Bubba Watson, who beat Chris Wood 2 and 1, in the second round.
"Bubba is a very talented player, obviously a lot of power versus me who doesn't, so we have a little bit different styles of game, but he's able to maneuver the ball a lot, hit a lot of creative shots and is very good around the greens,: Furyk said.
"The one thing I look at is he's had a lot of success on this golf course in the past and played well, and I expect a very, very difficult match, and I'll have to play well to win."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: A can't-miss kid out of UNLV, Ryan Moore has made steady progress in seven seasons on the PGA TOUR. After a career year in 2012 that saw him win for the second time and post eight top-10s, Moore stands on the verge of what could be a breakout campaign.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Moore made a strong run through the FedExCup Playoffs, posting three straight top-10s, including a tie for third at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola after owning a share of the lead with three holes left. Armed with that burst of confidence, Moore returned home to Las Vegas and blitzed TPC Summerlin for a first-round 61 on the way to win one-stroke victory in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. – Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Ryan kept flirting with wins during the FedExCup Playoffs until he finally broke through and won in his hometown of Vegas. Ryan told me he was taking the fall off so he could enjoy being a father for the first time. Ryan made a birdie every 3.9 holes last year, 11th-best on TOUR. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: I suspect that we're going to eventually look back at 2012 and see that he was just scraping the surface. Expectations are dangerous, of course, but he logged career highs in earnings ($2.858 million) and top 10s (eight). He also polished off his season with progressively improving results culminating in a win (and tournament record) in his college town of Las Vegas, all just a couple of weeks before the birth of his first child (a son on Oct. 19). He ranked seventh in the all-around, marking his first time inside the top 45. In a compressed season, the new daddy sets up as a bargain across the board. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st||Shriners Hospitals for Children Open|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 21
Rounds played: 89
Top-10 finishes: 8
Money List rank: 26th
Driving distance: 117th
Driving accuracy: 29th
Greens in regulation: 61st
Strokes gained-putting: 22nd
Scoring average: 38th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Ryan Moore in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
Try this question on your golf partners: Who was the first player on the PGA TOUR to win with a Titleist Pro V1 ball?
We’ll answer that in a bit, while offering one hint – the win was in Las Vegas in 2000. At that year’s event, now the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Titleist changed the game with a high-performance solid construction ball. Since then, many companies have followed with their own editions, but nothing has matched the popularity of the Pro V1 among pros or amateurs.
Every few years Titleist comes out with new versions of the ball, and last week in Las Vegas – symmetry, anyone? – was time for the 2013 model.
“It’s like Christmas, what are we gonna get?” said Charley Hoffman of the unmarked white boxes that were waiting for Titleist ball loyalists at TPC Summerlin.
A total of 18 players put the new balls in play at Shriners Hospitals, with 14 playing the Pro V1x and four playing the Pro V1. Bill Lunde was the highest finisher with the new ball, taking fifth with a Pro V1x. Ryan Moore won the tournament with the present-day Pro V1 that’s available in stores.
“It’s the best-feeling ball I’ve played, ever,” said Hoffman, who missed the cut with a new Pro V1.
When the Pro V1 first hit the PGA TOUR in 2000 at Las Vegas, 47 players used it immediately (the Pro V1x arrived a couple years later). Billy Andrade won the tournament with the ball, becoming the answer to a golf equipment trivia question.
NEW FLATSTICKS: Fredrik Jacobson, surprisingly 132nd this year in strokes gained-putting (he was sixth last year), switched from an Odyssey Black Series I No. 1 to an Odyssey ProType ix No. 4 HT (high toe) at Las Vegas.
The ProType ix, with a black PVD finish and a slightly firmer White Hot insert, is only available for purchase in Japan but has proved popular over here. J.B. Holmes, Matthew Goggin and Gavin Coles all put the putter in play at Shriners Hospitals.
FRESH APPLES: Stuart Appleby got new wedges with tungsten slugs from the Callaway trailer in Las Vegas. He uses 52- and 58-degree X-Forged wedges, with personalization unique to him. Check out the photo.
WINNER’S BAG: Ryan Moore at the Shriners
Hospitals for Children Open:
Driver: TaylorMade RocketBallz (Fujikura Motore, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: TaylorMade RocketBallz (15, 19 degrees)
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro a12 (20 degrees)
Irons: Ping S56 (4-PW)
Wedges: Cobra Trusty Rusty (55 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design (60 degrees)
Putter: Yes! Sandy 12
Ball: Titleist Pro V1