It’s one of those obvious statements, but keeping the ball in the fairway and hitting the green is what a player needs to do at Sea Island to have success. Just look at the leaderboard with David Toms, currently leading at 12 under after a couple of birdies on his front nine, Heath Slocum, Troy Merritt and Joe Durant.
All are in the top 10 in the field in fairways, greens or both with Durant leading the field and both and not having missed a fairway or a green through his first eight holes today.
Through two rounds, Toms missed just one green in regulation on the front nine and three on the back 9 and today he hasn’t missed a green while missing just two fairways through eight holes.
As you can see by the numbers below, it’s a big part of why he’s leading right now. -- Brian Wacker
David Toms - This Week vs. 2010 Season vs. The Field
|Stat||This Week||2010 Season||Field Average|
|Driving accuracy||75 percent (T25)||72 percent (7)||68 percent|
|Greens in regulation||89 percent (T4)||67 percent (82)||74 percent|
|Proximity to hole||30 feet, 2 inches (T28)||32 feet, 8 inches (8)||33 feet, 9 inches|
|Putting average||1.594 (2)||1.757 (T34)||1.809|
|Putting inside 10 feet||28 of 29 (14)||88 percent (70)||88 percent|
|Putts made over 10 feet||8 (T2)||107 (T43)||4.17|
|Putting 10-15 feet||5 of 8 (11)||33 percent (52)||33 percent|
|Feet of putts made||114 feet, 8 inches (10)||73 feet, 2 inches (T69)||83 feet, 2 inches|
|Total birdies||14 (1)||298 (T35)||6.8|
The end of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup is looming for a couple of players who have enjoyed Playoff glory in previous years.
Vijay Singh, the 2008 FedExCup champion, isn’t projected to advance to THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. He entered this week 63rd in points and after a second-round 77, he gave himself virtually no chance this weekend.
Singh is 1 under for his third round through 12 holes but needs to make up 11 shots by the end of the final round. Singh is currently 4 over for the tournament.
Heath Slocum, the surprise winner of The Barclays in 2009, also needs to make up 11 shots. He’s 3 over for his round and 6 over for the tournament. Slocum entered this week ranked 42nd in points but is projected to fall to 50th.
Evidently, Heath Slocum is not going to give up his Barclays title without a fight.
Slocum, the surprise winner last year at Liberty National, has made the turn in Friday’s second round and is now 6 under for the tournament.
Slocum is 2 under thus far for Friday’s round after shooting a 4-under 67 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, defending FedExCup champion Tiger Woods has hit the wall on his back nine.
Woods suffered three bogeys in a five-hole stretch and is now 1 over for his round and 5 under for the tournament. He was tied for the first-round lead with Vaughn Taylor after shooting 65 on Thursday.
Taylor, incidentally, is even par for his round.
· Tiger Woods shot a first-round 65 for his lowest score of the year. Woods has played 33 rounds on the PGA TOUR this season before his first round of 65 or better. That’s the longest into a season that Tiger has ever gone without a round of 65 or better. His previous high was in 1996, as an amateur, when he played 18 rounds before shooting a 64 in the second round of the Quad City Classic.
· It’s also the first time Woods has led at the end of any round on TOUR this season. The last time Tiger had at least a share of the lead at the conclusion of a round was the second round of the 2009 TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, 335 days ago. It is the longest he has ever gone between rounds led on TOUR.
· Ryan Palmer birdied his first five holes Thursday. That ties the longest birdie streak of Palmer’s career. His streak ties the third-longest birdie streak in the last 25 years at The Barclays. The last player with a longer birdie streak there was Scott Simpson (6) in 1986.
· Heath Slocum, the defending champion at The Barclays, shot a bogey-free round of 67. In the history of this tournament only three defending champions have played better first rounds: Duffy Waldorf in 2000 (66), Ernie Els in 1997 (64) and Bruce Crampton in 1971 (66). In the last 25 years, no defending champion played the first round of this tournament without a bogey.
Ernie Els, who enters the Playoffs as the FedExCup points leader, had to rally on his final nine holes to shoot 71 in Thursday’s opening round.
Els, starting his round off the 10th tee, bogeyed two of the first five holes. But once he made the turn and got on the front nine at Ridgewood, he found his game.
He hit eight of his last nine greens – and the only one he didn’t resulted in a bogey. But he managed three birdies, including a putt of 17 feet, 2 inches on the par-4 seventh that got him back to even par.
Els has won twice at The Barclays but never at Ridgewood. He missed the cut in his previous appearance at the course in 2008.
A few other notable early finishers:
No. 2 ranked Steve Stricker opened with a fairly uneventful 70.
Defending Barclays champion Heath Slocum, who won last year at Liberty National, carded a bogey-free 67.
Bubba Watson, who won earlier this year at the Travelers Championship and recently lost in a playoff at the PGA Championship, shot a 71.
Matt Kuchar, one of the hottest players on TOUR in recent weeks, opened with a 68. Kuchar has six top-10 finishes in his last eight starts, and the was top 30 in the other two starts.
Heath Slocum doesn’t exactly own a stellar record here -- one made cut in four trips with a tie for 18th in 2005 -- despite being the perfect type of player to succeed at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas (Slocum leads the TOUR in driving accuracy and is 12th in greens in regulation).
That record will improve this week, though, especially after Slocum shot a 5-under 65 to climb more than 30 spots on the board and within four shots of the lead. And right now Slocum is playing his best golf of the season with top-10s in two of his last three starts, including at THE PLAYERS, where he tied for fourth. Not surprisingly, Slocum’s ball-striking has been good this week, too, as he’s tied for 12th in the field in greens in regulation.
One of the players ahead of Slocum on the leaderboard? Teen sensation Jordan Spieth, who is now within just three of the lead. -- Brian Wacker
Ever since THE PLAYERS Championship moved to May in 2007 this tournament has ended on Mother's Day. So not surprisingly mothers were a prime topic of conversation when the pros finished their rounds late Saturday afternoon.
Asked his favorite memories of his mother, Heath Slocum smiled and answered quickly.
"We came from a very golf-oriented family, my dad a club pro, my mom an avid golfer, very good golfer, so I think probably a lot of Mother's Days were spent at the golf course playing," he said. "I don't know about one particular memory, but it was probably Mother's Day at the golf course. I don't know if she enjoyed it as much as I did, but that's where I was happy, so I think that's where she took me."
Slocum is at the golf course again this Sunday -- trying to win THE PLAYERS Championship. The three-time TOUR champ is 11 under and three strokes behind Lee Westwood as the final round gets under way.
Sllocum's wife is at their home in an Atlanta suburb after what he called a "scary" bout with kidney stones earlier in the week. He's got a card for her but says, "I was just hoping to get to see her maybe with the trophy or something."
Now THAT would be a great Mother’s Day present, and Slocum is one of the players with a shot to make that happen. -- Helen Ross
Heath Slocum has now found the water on No. 17 eight times in his career – the second-most in PLAYERS Championship history. None may be more costly than the one he just splashed, though. Tied for the lead at 13 under, Slocum came up well short on the treacherous par-3, where he went on to make a double-bogey to fall two shots back.
It’s just the third tee ball and fourth overall in the water on the hole all day. For the week, there have been 16 tee shots hit in the water and 19 total. -- Brian Wacker
After birdieing two of three holes midway through his round, Heath Slocum has seen what was once a two-shot lead slip away thanks to bogeys on to of his last three holes with black numbers on the par-3 13th and the par-4 15th. The bogey on No. 13 was particularly tough with Slocum, a usually very solid putter, missing from just inside 6 feet. On No. 15, he missed from just over 8 feet.
Meanwhile, Robert Allenby went eagle-birdie on Nos. 16 and 17 to pull into a tie for the lead. Lee Westwood, on the other hand, has made nothing but pars the last six holes. -- Brian Wacker