Daniel Chopra made not one but two aces Monday in a practice round at Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Chopra first aced the par-3 seventh hole, which played to 103 yards Monday. Chopra holed out with a PING Tour-S Rustique 50-degree wedge. Ten holes later, at the 17th, Chopra made an ace from 176 yards out with a PING S56 7-iron.
The aces were Chopra’s 14th and 15th in his career.
The Swede has made seven previous starts at the AT&T with a high finish of T5 in 2006.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Ted Potter Jr., who is playing in just his second PGA TOUR event, has moved within a shot of the lead currently held by Camilo Villegas.
Villegas is 8 under through 15 holes while Potter is tied for second with David Toms. Villegas and Potter, who has played 14 holes, are playing the Nicklaus Course, while Toms is through 13 at La Quinta.
Potter should have come to the Coachello Valley with confidence. The Nationwide Tour grad tied for 13th in his PGA TOUR debut at the Sony Open, shooting three rounds in the 60s at Waialae last week.
Another rookie, Bud Cauley, is among three players tied at 6 under through 14 holes at La Quinta. Also in that group are Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Sutherland, both of whom are playing the Nicklaus Course and are through 12 and 13 holes, respectively.
Johnson Wagner, who tied for ninth at last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, is continuing his solid play early on Thursday during the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club.
The trimmed-down and mustachioed Wagner, who won his second PGA TOUR event last year, started on the back nine and has just made the turn in 5 under after making a 9-footer for birdie on No. 18.
Wagner owns a two-stroke advantage over Ricky Barnes, K.J. Choi, Tim Herron, Ken Duke and Harris English. English, who won a Nationwide Tour event last year while still a student at Georgia, is the highest-placed rookie right now.
The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier proved to be a dynamic setting last year with bushels of birdies and a 59 from champion Stuart Appleby – the fifth such magic number in TOUR history.
For this year’s event the course has undergone a restoration. Bentgrass has been added to the greens, some 200 yards have been added to the scorecard and fairways have been tightened. How will that affect scoring? We’ll find out soon enough, but in the meantime here’s some stats from the 2010 Greenbrier, compliments of Alex Turnbull at ShotLink.
Courses with the most birdies
|2||TPC Deere Run||71||7268||69.455||1810|
|3||Sedgefield Country Club||70||7117||68.183||1810|
|4||The Old White TPC||70||7031||68.536||1801|
Courses with the easiest greens to hit
|1||Plantation Course||82.54||Hyundai Tournament of Champions|
|2||Monterey Peninsula GC||78.78||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am|
|3||The Old White TPC||77.24||The Greenbrier Classic|
|4||TPC Summerlin||76.89||JT Shriners Hospitals for Children Open|
|5||Sedgefield Country Club||75.71||Wyndham Championship|
Courses with the shortest proximity to the hole
|1||The Old White TPC||30’0”||The Greenbrier Classic|
|2||Colonial CC||30’7”||Crowne Plaza Invitational|
|3||Muirfield Village GC||30’11”||the Memorial Tournament|
|4||Sedgefield Country Club||31’2”||Wyndham Championship|
|5||Pebble Beach Golf Links||32’0”||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am|
Courses with the shortest rough proximity
|1||The Old White TPC||36’4”||The Greenbrier Classic|
|2||Pebble Beach Golf Links||36’5”||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am|
|3||TPC San Antonio||38’3”||Valero Texas Open|
|4||TPC Summerlin||38’4”||JT Shriners Hospitals for Children Open|
|5||Annandale GC||38’7”||Viking Classic|
Courses with the lowest putting percentage 5 to 15 feet
|1||Pebble Beach Golf Links||39.1||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am|
|2||Quail Hollow Club||41.73||Wells Fargo Championship|
|3||The Old White TPC||41.82||The Greenbrier Classic|
|4||St. George’s G&CC||41.98||RBC Canadian Open|
Davis Love III said Wednesday at the John Deere Classic that his duties as 2012 Ryder Cup Captain won't lead to a dip in his performance on the course.
"There's nothing to take you away from playing golf tournaments and working on your golf game," Love said. "I'm not going to back off on my golf. I signed a deal with Bridgestone that said I was going to play 20 tournaments, and I always play 23 or 24 or 25. And you know, I'm here to play this week, and you know, next year I'm going to be here to play again."
Love has played in six Ryder Cups -- his last in 2004. He said he's not focused on who he will pick for the 2012 Ryder Cup team, but actually on qualifying for the team himself. He's also hoping to qualify for Fred Couples' Presidents Cup team this year, although he admitted that he will have to win a few events to do so.
"Sure (as a captain) you gotta watch guys play," Love said. "The best way to do that is go play with them, you know. And I've had a great time playing with, you know, Bo Van Pelts, and Mark Wilsons and Jeff Overtons and Rickie Fowlers, guys that I haven't gotten most captains wouldn't have gotten a chance to play for two or three years with."
Love said he's often asked about Tiger Woods' health or how he will handle Rory McIlroy, questions he called irrelevant at this time.
"We're trying to prepare for the tournament," he said. "You can't predict now who's going to make the team on either side."
Stricker, the two-time defending champion, said Illini Day should give him a boost, but admitted that that the support might also put pressure on him.
"You know, it can work both ways," he said. "If you're going well, you know, you can really ride that momentum. If you're playing poorly, you know, you feel like you're dragging everybody down with you. So it's hard. You want to play well and there's that little extra bit of pressure, but it's good to have that support."
Stricker also said Wednesday at the John Deere Classic that he will not be putting Titleist's new irons in play this week.
"I hit them and I really liked them, but I want to hit them some more at home, so probably after the British I'll give them some more time to hit," he said.
Nick Watney won last week's AT&T national with Titleist's newest irons, but that probably won't convince fellow Titleist-sponsored player Zach Johnson to change ... at least this week.
Watney switched from the AP2 710 Series (3-PW) to Titleist's prototype AP2 712 Series (3-PW) last week on his way to a two-shot victory at Aronimink Golf Club. Johnson said Wednesday at the John Deere Classic that he will stick with Titleist's previous models, an AP1 710 Series 4-iron and AP2 710 Series 5-9 irons, that he used to win the 2010 Crowne Plaza Invitational.
"I take a pretty good amount of time in trying to filter new equipment in," Johnson said. "I've seen new irons. I've played them briefly and they're great. I mean aesthetically they're beautiful ... Irons are probably the easiest thing to take in and take out because they're so close to the previous generation, but with some minor aesthetics and probably better technology. So I don't think it'll take that long, but this week is not right for me."
Steve Stricker, the two-time defending champ at TPC Deere Run, also said he’s sticking with the regular Titleists in his bag.
With two months to go before the first tee shot is struck in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, much remains to be sorted out.
The top 125 players in the FedExCup standings are eligible to begin the four-event Playoffs series at The Barclays, which will be held Aug. 25-28 at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J. A year ago, it took 380 points to make the field for The Barclays – and a total of 83 players have already earned that many points in 2011.
Seven rookies are among those 83 -- including Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (No. 19); HP Byron Nelson Championship winner Keegan Bradley (No. 22); Bob Hope Classic winner Jhonattan Vegas (No. 24); Valero Texas Open winner Brendan Steele (No. 31); Robert Karlsson, who recently lost in a sudden-death playoff to Harrison Frazar at the FedEx St. Jude Classic; Chris Kirk (No. 50), who tied for second at the Shell Houston Open; and Kevin Chappell (No. 61), who tied for third last week at the U.S. Open.
Another rookie, Scott Stallings, is knocking on the door as well. at No. 84 in the standings.
The history of the FedExCup has shown that it takes more than just qualifying for the Playoffs to make a run at the title and the $10 million bonus, though. In the four previous season-long competitions, only three rookies total have managed to qualify for the Playoffs and advance to the finale at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola: Marc Leishman (2009); Andres Romero (2008); and Brandt Snedeker (2007). All three went on to win Rookie of the Year that season.
Of the players who were in the FedExCup top 30 entering The Barclays in 2010, all but eight continued their strong play through the Playoffs and advanced to the TOUR Championship. And while all 30 players at the TOUR Championship will have a mathematical chance to win the FedExCup, the top five in the standings control their own destiny and can win the FedExCup with a victory in Atlanta. So position in the FedExCup standings entering the Playoffs is key.
With that in mind, Bubba Watson could regain the No. 1 position the FedExCup this week at the Travelers Championship, where he won his first PGA TOUR title last year. Watson, currently No. 2, is only 38 points behind leader Luke Donald, who is idle this week. Watson gained the FedExCup lead in May when he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and held it for five weeks, until Donald took over when he tied for seventh at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Of the other players in the current top 20 who are competing at the Travelers Championship, Nick Watney (No. 6), David Toms (No. 8), Brandt Snedeker (No. 12), Martin Laird (No. 15), Webb Simpson (No. 16), Aaron Baddeley (No. 17) and Hunter Mahan (No. 18) could take over the FedExCup lead this week. All but Watney and Toms would need a win to do so.