Early clubhouse leader Andres Romero addresses the media to discuss his play and why he finds the Modified Stableford system interesting at the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open.
PGA TOUR rookie Harris English led the list of eight players who qualified Monday for this year's British Open. He also set a course record in the process.
The qualifier, the only one held in the United States, took place Monday at Gleneagles Country Club in the Dallas suburb of Plano. As in previous years, it comes in between the PGA TOUR's two tournaments in the North Texas area, last week's HP Byron Nelson Championship and this week's Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
English opened the 36-hole qualifier with a course-record 10-under 60 in the first round, with a string of six consecutive birdies at one point. He followed with a bogey-free 63 in the second round for a two-round total of 17 under. That was three shots better than Greg Owen.
Besides English and Owen, the other six qualifiers are Stephen Ames, Andres Romero, Justin Hicks, Bob Estes, Daniel Chopra and James Driscoll.
Another PGA TOUR rookie, Russell Knox, was tied with Estes, Chopra and Driscoll at 9 under but was the odd man out in the four-man playoff.
QUALIFIERS FOR BRITISH OPEN
|Pos||Player||Country||Round 1||Round 2||Score|
|1||Harris English||USA||60||63||17 under|
|2||Greg Owen||England||66||61||13 under|
|T3||Stephen Ames||Canada||69||61||10 under|
|T3||Andres Romero||Argentina||67||63||10 under|
|T3||Justin Hicks||USA||67||63||10 under|
|T6||Bob Estes||USA||66||65||9 under|
|T6||Daniel Chopra||Sweden||64||67||9 under|
|T6||James Driscoll||USA||66||65||9 under|
PGATOUR.COM’s countdown of the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2012 begins today.
Each day, we’ll also post a note in TOUR Report with the latest list of players.
That will give you an opportunity to weigh in on how you think those players will perform next year – and whether you think we have them ranked too low or too high. After all, just like snowflakes, no two lists will be the same.
So for the debut of this year’s list, here are Nos. 91-100. Click on each player’s link for his preview page, including this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list .
Don’t forget to let us know what you think.
|1||Dustin Johnson||19||Picked a great time to get his first win since last year's Playoffs|
|2||Matt Kuchar||12||Another strong Barclays makes Kuchar a FedExCup threat again|
|3||Nick Watney||1||Didn't hurt himself with a Sunday 64 and a T10 finish.|
|4||Webb Simpson||3||Carried momentum from Wyndham win to T10 at Plainfield|
|5||Luke Donald||4||Started slowly but good weekend moved him ahead of Stricker|
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Andres Romero has given the leaders something to ponder after putting the finishing touches on a 65 and posting 9 under.
The 30-year-old from Argentina did the bulk of his scoring on the back nine -- the more difficult of the two at The Old White TPC -- this weekend. He shot 31 on that segment on Saturday and 32 on Sunday.
Romero, who finished third last week at the RBC Canadian Open, was one stroke off the pace being set by Bill Haas when he finished. He had a chip to tie on the par-3 18th hole but it slid 4 feet by.
Haas still has four holes remaining.
|Year||No. 125 points pre-Week 30||No. 125 points before Playoffs||Difference|
If this year’s change is similar, anyone inside the top 105 in the standings is in good position to secure a tee time at The Barclays for the start of the Playoffs. In 2009, 10 players ranked inside the top 125 prior to Week 30 fell out of the Playoffs with the highest being No. 110. Last year, only six players -- all ranked between Nos. 118 and 125 -- lost their spots in the Playoffs in the Regular Season’s final four weeks. AUSTIN’S CHANCE? Woody Austin, currently 99 points outside the top 125, picked up his first top-10 finish of the season last week with a T6 at the RBC Canadian Open. A top-6 finish this week at The Greenbrier Classic, an event he tied for fourth in last year, could put him inside the top 125 and in position to make his fifth consecutive Playoffs appearance. Check out our bubble watch for more on players close to the cut line. WHO’S UP, WHO’S DOWN: Sean O’Hair, Kris Blanks and Andres Romero each assured themselves of a spot in the Playoffs, and possibly the Deusche Bank Championship, as they moved from outside the top 100 and into the top 70 last week. Two players -- Michael Putnam and Tim Clark -- fell outside the top 125 as O’Hair and David Hearn moved in. MORE ON LAST WEEK’S WINNER: Another player who has made the Playoffs in each of the last four seasons, O’Hair locked up his fifth appearance by moving from 147th to 43rd after winning the RBC Canadian Open. O’Hair’s last top 10 in an official TOUR event came at last year’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. A 2011 season that had featured 10 missed cuts in 17 starts prior to last week, as well as splits with his caddie and swing coach, may finally be turning around for O’Hair.
By John Schwarb and Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
A T17 finish wouldn’t have been an especially notable effort in his heyday, but for Ernie Els right now, such a week at the RBC Canadian Open was positive news. His last top-20 on the PGA TOUR was a T15 in mid-March at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
The 41-year-old South African is seeing optimism in his game in part due to the addition of an Odyssey White Hot XG belly putter – perhaps an unusual sight in the Big Easy’s hands, but nothing out of the ordinary given the current trend on TOUR toward long putters.
“For most of my career I was really one of the better putters. But last year I started feeling my path of my stroke was screwed up, and I was cutting across the ball,” Els said. “I kind of got to that age, you know, playing under the gun for such a long time that you're going to feel uncomfortable on some of the shorter putts.
“I was kind of playing with the long putter in practice and then my putts were a lot better with it. I tried to go back to the shorter putter, and I found that I was again cutting the ball a bit. So I just figured, you know, I'll really try it in competition.
“So from the U.S. Open (on) I've been playing with this longer putter, and it's starting to feel really good.”
SEAN’S STUFF: TaylorMade staff player Sean O’Hair had the company’s woods and irons in the bag as usual at the RBC Canadian Open but used a Titleist Scotty Cameron California Fastback prototype putter. “The winner of the event,” as he was stealthily identified in Titleist’s blog, put the putter in play after working with Titleist folks at the British Open the week prior.
One other oddity in O’Hair’s bag at Shaughnessy – his two wedges were 52 and 60 degrees. An eight-degree gap between wedges is sizable, and rare for a TOUR pro.
GHOSTLY: TaylorMade’s new Ghost Spider’s large size and white paint make it stand out from most putters on TOUR. Andres Romero gave it an even more distinctive look at the RBC Canadian Open, where he finished one shot out of the Sean O’Hair-Kris Blanks playoff.
Romero was third in the field with 26.2 putts-per-round average using a UST Mamiya Frequency Filtered shaft in the Ghost Spider. The shaft employs interlinked carbon fiber in the butt section of the shaft to filter out unwanted vibrations. The bottom portion of Romero’s shaft was painted white, matching the color of his Spider Ghost.
FURYK FIX?: Jim Furyk, still searching for the form that won him last year’s FedExCup, auditioned new drivers at the RBC Canadian Open pro-am and chose a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 with an Aldila RIP 65-gram shaft. The listed loft is 10.5 degrees but he had it bent to 9.
Furyk finished T34 at Shaughnessy, his best finish since a T31 in May at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
NICE DIGITS: How’s this for a major perk? Darren Clarke’s TaylorMade Penta TP now sports a 140, for his win at the 140th British Open. Check it out here.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Johnson Wagner certainly wasn't looking forward to his opening tee shot at TPC River Highlands on Friday morning.
Wagner had finished 16 holes of his first round at the Travelers Championship when the downpour came late Thursday morning. Like everyone else, he waited for the next seven hours before the decision finally was made to suspend play until Friday.
The tee shot at the 17th hole is a daunting one under the best of circumstances. But at 7 a.m. – and the first strike of the day -- it can be even more nerve-rattling. There's water down the entire right side of the fairway and a challenging bunker in the fairway to the left.
Turns out Johnson, who was playing with the overnight leader, Michael Bradley, didn't need to be worried. He ended up making a birdie at the 17th and saving par at No. 18 on the way to a 65 that left him one shot behind Ryan Moore and Andres Romero.
"I was real happy to get that 17th tee shot out of the way," Wagner said. "It's just a tough hole. Easy if you put it in the fairway, but then I got to thinking about it last night, and I thought, oh, man, I could chunk it in the water and make double, but luckily I put that out of my head, hit it within about five feet and made it and had a nice up-and-down on 18."
Wagner, who won his second PGA TOUR event earlier this year at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun, said his putting was the catalyst in his solid start. The 65 was his lowest opening round of the season by four strokes and tied for his best of the season.
"Everything was pretty good," said Wagner, who needed just 25 putts over his first 18 holes. "I putted really well. I've never been so committed to my stroke, and I kept my head down. Didn't see any putts really go in. I was trying to listen for them and just really putted great. Gave myself a lot of opportunities on the back nine for birdies and capitalized on most of them."
Wagner was hoping he'd get some more golf in on Friday afternoon with tee times for those in Thursday morning’s wave scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. ET. At least, though, he can go back to his RV and wait instead of hanging around the clubhouse. A nap and some TV are on his agenda.
"The course was so perfect on Tuesday, and it's definitely soft, but it's still in great shape and the fairways are real good," Wagner said. "I think the maintenance staff has done a good job of getting it ready with all that rain yesterday. Scores should be low today. If the weather stays good, scores should be low, so I don't think 5-under is going to hang in there for long."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With rain having wiped out most of play Thursday, players were back on the tee Friday at 7 a.m. to resume the opening round. Ryan Moore and Andres Romero took advantage of the soft conditions with each finishing off rounds of 64 to take the early lead at TPC River Highlands.
Moore closed out his round with a pair of birdies on Nos. 17 and 18, hitting both approach shots inside 9 feet. In all, Moore, who tied for 13th here a year ago with a final-round 66, had five birdies, an eagle and just one birdie.
“I generally have not come out of rain delays or come out early in the morning and finished up rounds very well,” Moore said. “I’m going to go home and take a nap right now.”
Romero, meanwhile, birdied two of his final three holes, Nos. 7 and 8 (he started on the back). The Argentinian did most of his damage on the back nine at TPC River Highlands, however, with six birdies and one bogey to make the turn in 30 on Thursday. He bogeyed his first hole Friday -- No. 4 -- but rolled in putts from 13 and 17 feet, respectively, on the seventh and eighth.
Romero didn’t qualify for last week’s U.S. Open so he instead traveled to Argentina to play in an event there and finished second.
“I went to play there just to e in rhythm,” he said.
The final hole at Copperhead is a brutal par-4, but Andres Romero nearly eagled it on Thursday:
Andres Romero sticks his approach to a foot on the par-4 18th.