By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Billy Horschel knows the rules of golf and knew he was entitled to relief. He had driven into a “burrowing animal hole” on the 17th hole. The rules provide for relief and with a free drop, Horschel was able to turn a potential bogey into a birdie. The rules of golf don’t always work against a player; sometimes they work in his favor.
Turf talk: John Mallinger is the California kid. He is from the San Diego area and seems to play well in his home state. He has several good finishes at Pebble Beach and is in contention this week. What’s the secret? Mallinger says he likes the turf in Northern California. It’s a firm surface that surrenders a healthy divot and it reminds him of the turf he grew up on in San Diego.
Green speed: It was a noticeably different golf course in the second round. Thursday’s rain had softened the greens, and no longer was there a giant bounce when golf balls landed. The greens were receptive in the morning and stayed that way throughout the round, so players quickly adjusted and became more aggressive with their approaches.
Putting: Nick O’Hern shot 62 in the opening round using just 23 putts and ranking fifth in strokes gained-putting on Thursday. He did not possess the same touch on Friday. O’Hern took 30 putts in shooting even par and was ranked 13th in SGP. There was nothing discernibly wrong with the strokes -- Nick rolled several balls right past the lip but the cup did not swallow.
Time off: Horschel had not played in a PGA TOUR event since before the FedExCup Playoffs began but it was time well spent. He hired a physical trainer for the first time since high school and is noticeably stronger. Horschel says he has gained swing speed thanks to increased fitness.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .
For the second time this week, a player tied the course record at CordeValle. This time it was John Mallinger, who shot 62 Friday to take a four-shot lead at 14 under halfway through the Frys.com Open.
Mallinger, who has yet to make a bogey this week, made seven birdies and an eagle in the second round. He shot 30 on the back nine and took just 26 putts for a second straight day.
Billy Horschel and Jhonattan Vegas are tied for second at 10 under, while Nicolas Colsaerts is one of three players another stroke back.
Following a second-round 65, Billy Horschel reflects on his play in the 2012 Frys.com Open with Doug Bell from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Billy Horschel has played just once since missing the FedExCup Playoffs.
The time off helped. So did the decision to hire a trainer.
“I've gained a little bit more speed in my swing that I lost when I had my wrist surgery,” said Horschel, who shot a 65 Friday to enter the weekend 10 under and in contention at the Frys.com Open. “I feel fitter and more comfortable with myself.”
He also feels comfortable at CordeValle. Last year, he opened with a 65 there before finishing in a tie for seventh.
Horschel also finished seventh in his only start -- in Boise, on the Web.com Tour -- over the last two months.
Friday, he made seven birdies and just one bogey, closing in 31 with five of his birdies coming over the final seven holes.
“I feel like I've done everything you need to do to finally step into that winner's circle,” said Hoschel, who is using a trainer for the first time since high school. “Obviously a lot of golf still left to play. I can't do anything but go out there and try and play my own game.”
Billy Horschel has spent much of the year bouncing back and forth between the PGA TOUR and the Web.com Tour.
Now he has a chance to get back to the former, full time.
Horschel shot 65 Friday at CordeValle, where he is 10 under and leads by one early in the second round of the Frys.com Open.
The former All-American out of the University of Florida also shot 65 there in last year’s final round on his way to a tie for seventh.
Friday, Horschel made seven bidies, including four in a five-hole stretch, and just one bogey.
Horschel entered the week 147th on the money list with his best finish a third-place finish in Mississippi his best result in 14 starts on TOUR. He also has two top 10s in seven starts on the Web.com Tour.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Nicolas Colsaerts grew up in Belgium but soon might be playing in the United States on a regular basis.
“This is all new for me, but every bit of taste that I get when I come over here and play is wonderful,” he said. “It would be stupid to think that I wouldn't like to play over here.”
He’s moving closer to doing so, too.
Last week, Colsaerts accepted special temporary membership to the PGA TOUR -- meaning he is eligible to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the season. He’s now hoping to turn that into a TOUR card for next season.
The Belgian has earned $652,886 in eight starts this season, which includes three World Golf Championships starts. To earn his card for next year, he needs to remain inside the top 125 on the 2012 money list (currently Jeff Maggert is 125th with $598,994).
Colsaerts was originally a sponsor exemption in the Frys.com Open but ended up getting in on his number after the last reshuffle on September 24.
Fast forward to this week’s Frys.com Open and Colsaerts is just another step closer to locking up his card for next year.
Colsaerts opened with a 65 and Friday shot 68 to get to 9 under and in contention for his first win on this side of the pond.
A victory would give Colsaerts a two-year exemption.
It’s also probably not the last time Colsaerts will be in contention, either. Despite growing up overseas, Colsaerts, whose great grandfather represented Belgium at basketball and water polo at the 1920 Olympics, says the courses in the U.S. suit his game better.
”The conditions of the courses are just unbelievable to what we're used to,” he said. “It's a kid's dream to play on courses as immaculate as these.”
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