By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO -- David Toms found himself in five different bunkers during Thursday's first round. Fortunately, it didn't cost him any strokes.
Thanks in part to his five sand saves, Toms shot a 1-under 69 that puts him in contention going into Friday's second.
"I scored probably better than I played. I couldn't seem to find the fairways early and some way I just scrambled around and made a lot of pars and started to hit the ball better, get the ball in the fairway."
The 69 was just the second time in his last 28 rounds in the U.S. Open that Toms carded a round in the 60s. The only other time during the stretch came in 2009 when Toms also opened with a 69 at Bethpage Black. He followed that with a 76 and failed to make the cut, something Toms obviously wants to avoid duplicating this week.
He thinks the Olympic Club fits his game better than one of the longer U.S. Open courses.
"I think I feel a lot better on this golf course than I did last year, playing at Congressional on a long, soft golf course," said Toms, who missed the cut last year. "Certainly I have a lot better chance here than I did last year. ...
"I just am a lot more confident on a golf course like this to be able to contend, more so than a Bethpage or Congressional or something like that, for sure."
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the FedEx St. Jude Classic below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Rory McIlroy vs. Graeme McDowell||These two friends have won the last two U.S. Opens|
|David Toms vs. Justin Leonard||Both have two wins each in this event|
|Harrison Frazar vs. Robert Karlsson||Can Karlsson enact revenge from his loss in 2011?|
|Davis Love III vs. Zach Johnson||Both veterans in good form ahead of TPC Southwind|
|Dustin Johnson vs. J.B. Holmes||Short hitters do well here. They must dial back.|
David Toms, who defends his title this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, will be writing a blog periodically for PGATOUR.COM in 2012. Here is his most recent installment. For more information, visit davidtomsfoundation.com
Obviously, this is a special week for me. Colonial has always
been a tournament that I loved to play, and over the years,
I’ve had a lot of good finishes. But to finally get a
victory last year, it was just awesome. That's all I can say about
what took place here last year. It's been a busy week so far.
I’ve got the Champion's dinner (Wednesday night) and other
functions throughout the week, but it's been fun. I see a lot
of friendly faces and people that are involved with the tournament
and so forth. To be quite honest, I'm ready to get started, ready
to hit that first tee shot on Thursday morning and put everything
else aside and go play golf.
I would say my game is pretty good right now. Obviously I haven't had a result this year that I would like, but that's the way golf is. It kind of goes in cycles. I'm hoping to build upon what I've done the last couple of tournaments and get myself into position. That's really what it's all about is having a chance on Sunday and I'm hoping to get there. There are a lot of great players here this week and it looks like it's going to be pretty breezy part of the week, so I have to go out and play great to have a chance.
I've had a lot of good finishes over the years here at Colonial and just never quite put four rounds together to be able to come out on top until last year. I just think it's a golf course maybe you need a little bit of experience to play. Obviously, if you look back at guys who won here it took them a little time, even the great players. I think you just have to learn the golf course and all of the different type of wind conditions that you see, and some of the pin placements that you can attack. You can get in trouble pretty quick if you attack some of the pins and don't hit the shots. It's just an old golf course that I think guys really like to play. It's just a good test of golf and certainly it can be had when conditions are right for it. But other times, par is a good score on a lot of the holes.
As always, putting will be key. I know the weeks when I have enough discipline to practice properly, in other words, practice short putts where you see them go in, things usually are better. It's so easy to get out there 12 or 15 feet in between holes and putt. It seems like all of the holes on a practice green are 15 feet apart, or 12 feet apart and you just throw down a ball and putt to the hole. And it's amazing that you don't make many of those. So I know the weeks where I putt well, I have the discipline to practice properly. I get to see putts go in and it's amazing you get on the golf course and you start to see that.
I think for the most part guys that are changing grips or changing putters, length of putters, they are just trying to find a way for the ball to go in the hole. I don't think they are necessarily changing their stroke, or their approach or the way they read greens, or speed. They just want to see something go in.
And it's amazing when you see that, you think the next one is easy. It's like Brad Faxon always said, pretend you just made a thousand in a row. You feel pretty confident about the next one. That is easy to say but hard to do.
Thanks for all the support.
Defending champion David Toms talks about his return to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- As defending champion of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, David Toms has more responsibilities than anybody else in the field. A few more interviews. Wednesday's Champion's dinner. A bigger pool of well-wishers. That sort of thing
He's glad to do it. But he'll also be glad when Thursday's first round begins and he can focus all his attention of defending his title.
"It's been fun," he said. "I see a lot of friendly faces and people that are involved with the tournament and so forth.
"To be quite honest, I'm ready to get started, ready to hit that first tee shot on Thursday morning and put everything else aside and go play golf."
Toms did not get any practice time on the course until Wednesday. He was trying to fit it into his busy schedule on Tuesday but opted to wait one more day -- in part because of the weather conditions.
"It was calm, totally calm," Toms said about Tuesday. "And I knew today it was going to be blowing, and I think tomorrow as well. So I didn't really want to go out there and see a golf course that I wasn't going to see by the time I was ready for the gun to go off."
In his 22 TOUR starts since last year's win at Colonial, Toms has five top-10s. His last one came two weeks ago at THE PLAYERS Championship, when he finished tied for 10th. A year ago, he lost in a playoff at THE PLAYERS, and followed the week later by winning in Fort Worth.
"Obviously I haven't had a result this year that I would like," Toms said. "But that's the way golf is. It kind of goes in cycles.
"I'm hoping to build upon what I've done the last couple of tournaments and get myself into position. That's really what it's all about -- having a chance on Sunday."
Tuesday, May 22
11 a.m. ET: Jason Dufner
3:30 p.m. ET: Zach Johnson
Wednesday, May 23
11:30 a.m. ET: David Toms
Noon ET: Dicky Pride
Following morning pro-am: Rickie Fowler
Following morning pro-am: Hunter Mahan
David Toms capped off a 65 by sticking his approach stiff on the par-3 17th.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The way David Toms saw it, he didn't have much to lose.
The veteran started the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship -- a tournament he lost in a playoff last year – well back, in a tie for 48th. So he came to the Stadium Course on Sunday planning to attack.
Even so, Toms started slowly, negating an opening birdie with bogeys on two of his next three holes. But then Toms holed a shot from the 123 yards for an eagle at No. 6 -- and birdied his next three, as well, on putts of 7, 24, and 16 feet to make the turn in 32.
Three more birdies followed on the back nine, the final one coming from 7 feet at the 17th hole, on the way to a career-low 65 on Pete Dye’s iconic layout. When Toms finished he had moved up 44 spots into a tie for fourth.
"This golf course, really, there are plenty of holes, if you can
hit the shots, if you can pull it off, if you can play the
aggressive shot and happen to pull it off; and that's the way I had
to play today," Toms said.
"I was so far back, and I was just trying to have a decent finish. So no reason why I shouldn't shoot at a flag. What's the difference in 44th and 34th? That's the way I was playing out there, and I just happened to play a great round of golf."
Toms finished before the leaders even teed off, and he said there are plenty of no-go situations on the Stadium Course in the final round. Pars are going to be even more valuable as the day progresses, too.
"I think you just have to play solid," Toms said. "... I think
it's all about getting the ball in the fairway. Or, if not in the
fairway, in a playable position, first cut of rough, those type of
things. That's the most important thing.
"You have some crosswinds. If you can get the ball in the fairway, the greens are fairly receptive. I guess the cloud cover helped that, and that way, you can put it in the right position to be on the green. That's the key -- keeping the ball in play. The guys that come out on top are the ones that are up there and able to stay away from trouble off the tee."
Toms' playoff loss to K.J. Choi last year was admittedly disappointing -- particularly given that his son, Carter, whom Toms credited with rekindling his enthusiasm for the game, was in attendance. In a storybook ending, though, Toms won the next week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial -- and he'll head to Texas again with similar good vibes.
"Obviously feeling pretty good about the game to be able to play that kind of round when I needed to," Toms said. "I was pretty disappointed last year but I felt like I was there the whole time. I really didn't lose the golf tournament. So I didn't have that feeling that I lost anything. So I feel good about my game, that's for sure."
By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- David Toms couldn't wait to get back
to TPC Sawgrass Monday for a couple of reasons.
No. 1, he's excited to make a run at the title that eluded him a year ago after finishing runner-up in a playoff with K.J. Choi. Secondly, it's one of his favorite fishing holes on the PGA TOUR.
Like a kid in the candy store, after he finished hitting balls on the range and practicing on the putting green, it was all about fishing. Toms and his caddy, Scott Gneiser, ventured out with one of the Cleveland technicians late in the afternoon to try to find the hot spots. After three or four casts, the group settled in just over the bridge near the 10th tee at Dye's Valley Course.
"I caught two or three nice bass already and I've only been here less than an hour," Toms said. "They were small and nothing I really would want to eat. But we're having a lot of fun."
With thunder in the distance and wind picking up, Toms moved a few feet over to the other side of the bridge, taking some non-golf advice from his caddy. "I heard that Mike Weir's caddy pulled about a 9-pound bass out of this spot a few years ago," Gneiser explained.
For Toms, the quest for the other prize catch starts Thursday.