In two of his first four starts this year, D.A. Points finished in the top 5, which of course included his memorable win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with comedian and lifelong hero of sorts Bill Murray as his partner. Since then, however, the season has been up-and-down with just one top-25 finish for Points.
Still, his play early on was good enough to get him into the field for this week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, where another strong performance could open up even more doors.
And so far Points is taking advantage of the opportunity with five birdies and just one bogey through his first 11 holes.
That has Points one shot clear of a half dozen players at the moment, including Rory Sabbatini, who is playing for the first time since the British Open.
As for what to watch for at Firestone, when Hunter Mahan won there last year he ranked 15th in total driving, eighth in greens in regulation and fourth in strokes gained-putting. In other words, everything needs to be clicking.
BETHESDA, Md. -- The first round of the U.S. Open continues Thursday afternoon as rain skirts either side of Congressional Country Club but spares the golfers.
Rory Sabbatini, sporting a beard under his white Stetson, just rolled in a 15-footer at the 15th hole -- his sixth of the day -- to tie Y.E. Yang for the lead at 3 under.
Francesco Molinari had been tied at the top, as well, after birdies on his three of his first four holes. But consecutive bogeys at Nos. 7 and 8 have dropped him back to 1 under.
Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Dickerson are also making afternoon moves and stand 2 under. Dickerson is through 11 holes and Garcia through eight, both having started on the front.
McIlroy, meanwhile, is the only one in the Featured Group with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson who is prospering on the back, their first nine of the day. McIlroy has played eight holes and has yet to make a bogey.
Mickelson is struggling to hit fairways -- finding just one of his first eight -- and is 2 over. He put his tee shot at the 10th in the water and made double bogey, birdied the 12th and bogeyed No. 14.
Johnson, who led entering the final round of last year's U.S. Open, is 4 over. He did most of his damage on the 11th hole, hitting into the water, and also bogeyed the par-3 13th.
FORT WORTH, Texas – The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is the cut-off point for players who want to use that exemption to play in this year’s British Open.
The top three players and ties, not otherwise exempt, from among the top 20 players in the FedExCup points following Sunday’s final round at Colonial will get an automatic invite to the Open.
Going into Sunday, the three players projected to claim those spots are Mark Wilson, Rory Sabbatini and Gary Woodland.
Wilson entered the week third in FedExCup points; Sabbatini is eighth; Woodland is ninth.
By the way, if Charlie Wi goes on to win Sunday – he’s leading by twp shots after six holes – he would move inside the top 30 of FedExCup points. He started the week ranked 104th.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Although Rory Sabbatini and his family reside within a short drive of Colonial, he's only played the course one time in the last year.
No matter. Sabbatini has won at Colonial. He's comfortable here. He knows how to play it. Even if he doesn't see it for awhile, he knows its nuances from memory.
"I know it about as well as the back of my head," he said. "It's a course that I feel comfortable with, and it's a course that I love."
He was definitely loving it in Friday's second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The 2007 champ shot himself up the leaderboard with a bogey-free 6-under 64, leaving him at 8 under for the tournament and in prime shape to make a run at a second Colonial title this weekend.
"I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I'm doing all the right things around the green," Sabbatini said. "If I can continue to do what I've done the first two days, continue to hit fairways and give myself opportunities, I will definitely feel comfortable going into the weekend."
Sabbatini, who won The Honda Classic in March, knew he needed to make a move Friday morning. In Thursday's first round, most of the top rounds came out of the morning wave, including the 62s shot by co-leaders David Toms and Chez Reavie. Meanwhile, Sabbatini played in the afternoon and shot a 2-under 68 in more windy conditions.
"I know the scores are out there," Sabbatini said. "But, as you know, this golf course becomes harder to score on the weekend. It just gets firmer and faster. So you got to get yourself in a good position going into the weekend."
Sabbatini was a bogey-free 1 under through his first eight holes on Friday. But his approach shot from a fairway bunker at the ninth landed 5 feet from the pin for birdie, and that ignited his round.
After making the turn, he made three more consecutive birdies. After a par at 13, he then rolled in a birdie putt just outside 39 feet on the 14th for his sixth and last birdie of the day.
"That one was fun," Sabbatini said. "Kevin (Fasbender, his caddie) came over and said, 'Dude, I got a feeling on this one.' Sometimes you get that feeling like you know what it's going to do and sometimes it pays off."
The key to Sabbatini's back nine was his ability to stay in the fairway. He hit just two of seven fairways on the front side Friday, but after making birdie at the ninth, he hit six of seven fairways coming in.
"On this course, if you put it in the fairways and give yourself opportunities and access those things," he said, "you are going to give yourself some good birdie opportunities."
FORT WORTH, Texas – Should Rory Sabbatini go on to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial this week, he would likely move to the top of the FedExCup standings.
Sabbatini has climbed into a tie for the second-round lead Friday. He’s 6 under through 15 holes on his round, putting him at 8 under for the tournament. That ties him with Charlie Wi, who’s also on the course Friday morning, along with first-round co-leaders David Toms and Chez Reavie, who tee off this afternoon.
Sabbatini, who won The Honda Classic in March, came into this week’s event ranked eighth in FedExCup points.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Rory Sabbatini, who won here four years ago, is among the hottest players who teed off in the morning wave of Friday's second round at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Sabbatini is 5 under through his first 12 holes, moving him to 7 under for the tournament. That's just one stroke off the lead shared by David Toms and Chez Reavie, who each shot 8-under 62 on Thursday. Toms is scheduled to tee off at 1:24 p.m. ET, and Reavie will tee off at 1:46 p.m. ET today.
Sabbatini had a stretch of four consecutive birdies starting at the ninth hole. At the 10th, he holed out from the fringe just off the green, while at the 12th, he rolled in a putt from just inside 21 feet.
Lucas Glover , winner of the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, is also making a big move Friday. Like Sabbatini, he's also 5 under through his first 12 holes, leaving him at 4 under for the tournament.
One of Glover's playing partners, Paul Goydos, is also 5 under on his round, putting him at 5 under for the tournament.
Defending Colonial champ Zach Johnson is 2 under through 12 holes and 4 under for the tournament.
Big-hitting Australian Steven Bowditch is 4 under through his first eight holes, moving him to 7 under for the tournament. Bowditch ranks fifth on the PGA TOUR in driving distance.
Like Toms and Reavie, most of the players at the top of the first-round leaderboard do not tee off until this afternoon. They could be dealing with some dicey weather. There is a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Judging by the forecast and the radar picture, it looks like the second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial could be in for a weather delay within the next couple of hours. In the meantime, those with an early tee time -- like Rory Sabbatini -- will try to take advantage of good scoring conditions.
Sabbatini is already 4 under through his first 11 holes and 6 under for the week. That puts him just two off the current lead, though he’ll obviously need at least a couple more birdies to be in contention going into the weekend.
As for the morning vs. afternoon, the scoring average was just over a stroke difference (69.06 compared to 70.23) in the opening round and that will likely hold true again here in the second round.
As for the toughest and easiest holes on the course? The par-4 fifth was the most difficult with a scoring average of 4.135 and just 13 birdies. The par-5 first hole, meanwhile, was the easiest with a 4.683 average.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Not unexpectedly, the scoring has slowed considerably in the afternoon wave at Colonial, where the low number on the board right now is 4 under (Kent Jones and Steve Marino).
In other words, the 8-under lead of David Toms and Chez Reavie is probably safe.
Here’s a look at how some notable players are faring, though:
Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard has played much better this season -- three top-25s, which included an eighth-place finish at Bay Hill -- and he’s continued that trend this week at 3 under through 13 holes. So far, Garcia has made just one bogey.
Hunter Mahan: At 3 under Mahan also has just one bogey on his round, and he’s hit seven of 10 fairways and 10 of 12 greens so far. Given Mahan’s accuracy, he should do well here if his putter gets hot.
Zach Johnson: The defending champ has been up and down so far -- four birdies, two bogeys -- but he’s played well of late with a tie for sixth at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 12th at THE PLAYERS Championship, where he closed with a 66.
John Daly: Colonial isn’t exactly a bomber’s paradise so it’s no surprise Daly has struggled a bit -- he has three bogeys and three birdies through 15 holes. Daly’s struggled with the putter, having already taken 26 putts.
Rory Sabbatini: The 2007 winner of this event has hit just half his fairways and half his greens. The result? Three bogeys to offset his three birdies.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The first round of THE PLAYERS Championship certainly offered plenty of storylines on the opening day, beginning with Tiger Woods withdrawal due to injury to Nick Watney’s 8-under 64.
The latter leaves Watney one shot clear of Lucas Glover, who is in contention less than a week after winning the Wells Fargo Championship.
The most surprising name on the leaderboard Thursday? Mark O’Meara’s. The 54-year old shot a 66 to sit in a two-way tie for third with David Toms.
Five others, including Martin Kaymer and Rory Sabbatini, meanwhile, are another stroke back at 5 under.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Nick Watney has the clubhouse lead after two-putting from 23 feet at the ninth hole for a final birdie on the way to a 64.
Watney has a one-stroke advantage over Lucas Glover, who won last week’s Wells Fargo Championship. Martin Kaymer and Rory Sabbatini are another shot back after finishing with 67s.
Watney’s round of 8 under was one stroke off the course record. He made of nine birdies, one eagle, a bogey and a double bogey.