By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Harbour Town has always been one of the toughest tests on the PGA TOUR. It showed in spades on Thursday.
With blustery conditions for most of the day, only 23 players broke par on the 7,100-yard par-71 layout and no one went lower than 4 under. Colt Knost joined Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor at that number after birdies on two of his final three holes.
Jim Furyk, who won here two years ago, is a shot back after a 68.
“The weatherman was spot on; it was chilly, quite breezy and gusty this morning,” Furyk said. “I’m happy to get in with the score I did. I thought anything at even par or better would be a good round this morning.”
It turned out there weren’t too many scores under par in the afternoon, either.
The temperature rose and the wind lessened as the day wore on, but it again got chilly late in the round.
Firm greens also contributed to high scores.
“The greens are stressed right now,” Furyk said. “They looked dusty [on Wednesday]. I was quite taken aback. It did look like a late Sunday afternoon.”
It played like it, too.
Harbour Town played to an average score of 72.95, nearly a full two strokes under par. The par-3 14th played as the most difficult hole with an average of nearly 3.5.
“It’s very difficult,” said Taylor, who eagled his final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth, by holing out from 100 yards with a sand wedge. Taylor has twice finished fourth here and is in the field on a sponsor exemption. “You’ve just got to kind of grind it out. I fortunately did a good job of that.”
So did John Daly, who finished with a 69.
Others weren’t so fortunate.
Luke Donald struggled with his putting and shot 74.
Should Donald finish outside the top 8 here, he would lose his spot atop the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s tied for 103rd after the first round.
Brian Gay, who was 20 under in his victory here in 2009, also shot 74.
Fred Funk and Sang-Moon Bae failed to break 80, shooting 81 and 83, respectively. Bae later withdrew with a shoulder injury.
By Laury Livsey, PGA TOUR Staff
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- When Greg Norman designed the El Camaleon Golf Club in 2005, the World Golf Hall of Famer took advantage of a natural cave on the property and incorporated what the Mexicans call the cenote into his design. In the middle of what plays as the seventh hole during the Mayakoba Golf Classic but is the opening hole for members and guests the rest of the year, the cave comes complete with stalagtites, a pool of water and plenty of iguanas. The cave goes underneath the seventh green, with adventuresome spelunkers -- Norman has been one of them -- emerging on the other side near the eighth green.
Vaughn Taylor made history on the hole Friday when he made the first double eagle in the six-year history of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. More importantly, at least to Taylor, it was his first double eagle and the 108th on the PGA TOUR since the TOUR began tracking them in 1970.
Following a second-round 69 to go with his even-par 71 in the opening round, Taylor is tied for 20th, six strokes behind the trio of leaders.
“I do like [the hole]. With the cave there in the middle of the fairway, it’s kind of a different hole, and reachable par‑5s are always fun,” he said.
This is Taylor’s third time playing in the tournament along the Riviera Maya, and the nine-year pro has taken advantage of the hole. In the 2007 and 2009 tournaments, when it was the event’s opening hole, he recorded four birdies and four pars there. His 5-wood from 263 yards Friday was the best he’s had there, though.
“There’s a ridge behind the hole, so I didn't know if it went in or it went over the ridge. I thought it went in and my caddie thought it went in, though” Taylor added.
Near the green, Taylor’s wife, Leot, and playing partner Michael Thompson’s wife, Rachel, began screaming as the ball rolled in the hole. “It was kind of a delayed scream I guess, and I couldn’t really hear them,” Taylor added.
“And then I bogeyed the next hole, which was kind of a letdown. I wish I had kept the momentum going.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Q-school has plenty of pressure all on its own. Add in winds consistently in the 20-25 mph range -- with gusts as high as 50 -- and scoring has taken on a whole new meaning here in the second round. Case in point: As of this moment, only nine players have recorded rounds in the 60s. Seven more players failed to break 80, including Brendan Pappas, who shot 86 -- currently the highest score in the books Thursday.
As for the leaderboard, there’s still a long way to go here in the second of six rounds at PGA West. Matt Jones, however, was one of those players to break 70, carding a 68 on the Stadium Course to earn a share of the lead at 9 under. Harris English and Will Claxton are also 9 under, but they are still on the golf course.
Some other notable names in the top 25 on the leaderboard: Billy Hurley III, Vaughn Taylor, Jeff Maggert, Dean Wilson, Bob Estes, Troy Merritt, Adam Hadwin and Sam Saunders.
Overnight leader Vaughn Taylor has just teed off in the Reno-Tahoe Open, but he finds himself four shots back of current leader Scott Piercy, who just set the course record in Round 3 with an 11-under 61.
Piercy made a six-foot putt for eagle on the 616-yard closing par-5 to best the previous course record of 62, which had been shot three times (Bill Glasson, 2005; Joe Ogilvie 2006; Parker McLachlin, 2008).
Piercy birdied Nos. 2 though 9 at Montreux, and after birdies at Nos. 14 and 15, the 59 watch was on for the third-year PGA TOUR player. His lone bogey came at No. 17, a 464-yard par-4, effectively ending the threat.
Other big movers in Round 3 include TOUR rookie Jim Renner, who shot a 7-under 65 and is currently in third place. James Driscoll also went low with a 66 to move to 7 under.
There’s getting on a roll, and then there’s doing what Scott Piercy did on Montreux’s front nine at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
The two-time Nationwide Tour winner ranks 90th on the PGA TOUR in birdie average this year, but is sure to climb the list after this week. More importantly, a good finish could help him improve from No. 137 in the FedExCup standings.
Last year, Piercy finished the Regular Season No. 125 in the standings -- the last man into the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. He missed the cut at the Barclays, however. In 2009 he also qualified for the Playoffs, finishing 83rd in the regular season, but again failed to advance past the first round.
If Piercy were to win in Reno this week, he could potentially move to as high as 76th in the standings.
The top 100 players after The Barclays advance to the Deutsche Bank Championship. The top 70 players in the standings will move on to the BMW Championship, the last event before THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, which is open to the top 30 players in the standings.
By Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
Every year, Augusta National honors past Masters champions with the Champions Dinner. This year, the Reno-Tahoe Open is having a collection of past tournament champions of its own -- except it’s on top of the leaderboard.
Vaughn Taylor, winner of the event in 2004 and 2005, leads the field at 9 under. He’s shot rounds of 69-66, and is one shot ahead of 2006 champion Will MacKenzie.
“Obviously the course has to fit your eye, and then the altitude is definitely an adjustment.” Taylor said. “I think anywhere you play well when you come back, especially if you win, you come back and a lot of good memories and feelings, and, you know, it can turn things around for you.”
Champions Steve Flesch (2007), Chris Riley (2002) and Notah Begay (1999) are also all inside the top 6 on the leaderboard.
MacKenzie said it’s the idiosyncrasies of Montreux Golf & Country Club that have allowed past champions to do well this year.
“Like, this putt is just historically fast or this putt don't go away from Mount Rose quite as much or this putt does go away from Mount Rose harder than you think,” he said. “And just trusting yardages. Trusting you're hitting 7-iron downhill on No. 9 - or 18 now rather -- from 230. That's the actual yardage.”
Vaughn Taylor is always happy to be back in Reno. The two-time Reno-Tahoe Open champion (2004, ‘05) is off to another good start at Montreux Golf and Country Club, sitting at 4 under through 14 holes in a bogey-free round so far.
The pace is being set at 5 under right now, with Nick O’Hern, Chris Riley and Dean Wilson at that mark. Wilson, in particular, could use a good week to solidify his date with the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. He’s 123rd in points.
If you’re wondering about the cutoff man at No. 125, that’s Australian Matt Jones. He’s 1 over through 10 holes in Reno.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- The last five weeks haven’t worked out that well for Vaughn Taylor, who has missed the cut in five of his last six starts. That streak will obviously come to an end after Taylor shot a second-round 66 to enter the weekend at 9 under.
The difference for Taylor? Some putting sessions with his coach Pat O’Brien, which is something Taylor said he needed after depositing his old putter into the water at Bay Hill earlier this year. Taylor said he left the putter in the pond at the 13th hole there and is using a different model of that SeeMore putter this week.
Through two rounds Taylor is averaging 27 putts, but he has missed just two from inside 10 feet all week.
He also was able to build on a good opening round -- a 65 -- after going right back out for his second 18 Friday afternoon. Playing 36 back-to-back was something Taylor was more than happy to do.
"It's tough to play a few holes and then head home and then come back later on,” Taylor said. “It's nice just to get out there in one day and get into a rhythm and just play till your legs fall off.”
Of course with TPC River Highlands yielding a lot of low numbers, it’s easy to understand why Taylor wanted to keep going.
“The course is playing about as easy as I've ever seen it,” he said. “The conditions are perfect out there, soft greens. Definitely can make some putts out there. Just looking forward to the weekend.”