Prior to the second round of the 2012 Frys.com Open, Dennis Paulson and Doug Bell from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio talk about effect the rain and cool temperatures will have on the players.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- PGA TOUR rules officials are always the first to know. They know when the weather systems are moving in and when a change is coming. They're like human barometers. The officials were wearing rain pants, heavy jackets and gloves at 10 a.m. All the protection was needed as cool temperatures and cloudy skies gave way wind and rain. The cool conditions dramatically affected distance. Nicolas Colsaerts averages 310 yards per drive; on the 15th hole he cranked up the driver and walloped it 270 yards. The course played much longer than the 7,368 yards it was listed at.
First bounce: Players were surprised at the first bounce their approach shots took when hitting greens. They could get the ball to check but not until after a big 5-yard hop following impact. Players took 10 yards off their carry distances into greens to compensate for that first kangaroo hop, which made front hole locations difficult.
Bubble boy: Jeff Maggert is this week's bubble boy. He's ranked 125th on the money list and responded to the pressure with an opening-round 67. The veteran seemed very casual about his status, though, saying he will return to q-school if necessary. Maggert turns 49 in February and is looking forward to the Champions Tour but would like one more season with the younger generation.
Backed up: Rory Sabbatini had to withdraw from last week's tournament with back problems after playing just eight holes in the final round. He limped in pain for two hours before the WD and was doubtful for this week. The pain was alleviated with a treatment and Rory was walking tall for 17 holes Thursday -- until a double bogey on the 18th gave him discomfort in a different area of the anatomy.
Foreign influence: Whenever it rains and gets cold, there's a popular theory t hat foreigners have an advantage. The Europeans and Aussies play in much more varied conditions than we see on the PGA TOUR. How did that theory hold up on a cold, rainy afternoon? The top three players are not Americans.
Nick O’Hern matched the course record at CordeValle on Thursday, shooting a 9-under 62 to take the lead at the Frys.com Open.
Jhonattan Vegas and Nicolas Colsaerts are three shots back and tied for second.
O’Hern made nine birdies and no bogeys in what was his lowest round of the year.
It couldn’t have come at a better time.
O’Hern came into the week 144th on the money list after just one top 10 and 12 missed cuts, including in five of his last seven starts, in 23 starts this season.
Thursday, the Aussie hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 23 putts.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
There is a lot of focus on getting into the top 125 on the money list during the Fall Series, but different players play this time of year for different reasons. The leaderboard at the Frys.com Open is certainly a reflection on that.
John Mallinger, for example, entered the week 98th on the money list coming into this week, so his card is safe for next season. Instead, he has a different number on his mind.
“I set a goal before the Fall Series to try to get in the top 70 so I can get into invitationals next year,” said Mallinger, who shot a bogey-free 66 Thursday to sit one shot off the lead.
Then there’s 48-year-old Jeff Maggert. He came into the week right on the bubble at No. 125 on the money list.
Maggert still has a couple of years before he’s eligible for the Champions Tour, so he needs to play well this month to do so. Thursday’s 67 was a good start.
“I would love to play out here two or three years and maybe bounce back and fourth between the senior tour and this tour,” Maggert said. “I got to take care of business out here first. I feel like I'm playing well enough to do something out here the last few weeks. We'll see what happens.”
Of course there’s always q-school, which is how Maggert got his cad for this season.
“I don't mind going to the TOUR school,” he said. “That has been my top money winning tournament for the Fall Series.”
Charles Howell III also likes this time of year, and he also tends to play well. Two years ago, for example, Howell had three straight top 20 finishes, including a couple of top 10s, to finish his Fall Series.
Thursday, Howell opened with a 66.
“Everybody has something to play for,” Howell said. “I think a win for everybody would make the year, but we'll take what we get.”
“I don't know what the thing is that flips the switch either. It's part of what makes it golf.”
Following an opening-round 65, Jhonattan Vegas reflects on his play in the 2012 Frys.com Open with Dennis Paulson from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
When Jhonattan Vegas won in his first year on the PGA TOUR -- in just his second start, no less -- he thought he would win every year.
”It doesn't work that way,” Vegas said Thursday. “To be honest, it's been kind of a mediocre year. I feel like I haven't been 100 percent with any part of my game. Putting has been bad. Ball-striking hasn't been good. When you combine that, you won't get that many good results.”
In 23 starts, Vegas has missed the cut almost as many times (11) as he made it (12). He also had just two top 10s and missed the FedExCup Playoffs, finishing 126th in points.
Fast forward to his opening round at CordeValle, however, and Vegas has a chance to make up for lost time after a 65 on Thursday.
This is just Vegas’ second start since missing the Playoffs. The nearly two months off gave Vegas time to recover from a shoulder injury, which he has battled since college.
“It's feeling better,” he said. “Not quite as good as I'd like it, but [time off] definitely helped.
“I think I pushed it a little too hard at the beginning of the year. For some reason I haven't really been able to heal it completely. The good thing is that I am able to play; I just feel that my golf swing is not the same. I can't turn to the ball as good as I used to.”
He did well enough at CordeValle, however, with seven birdies and just one bogey.
Thursday’s opening round was a good sign, too. This is the second straight week Vegas has started fast -- he shot a pair of 68s in the first two rounds in Las Vegas before ultimately finishing in a tie for 46th.
”I'm in my second year here and trying to play 35 weeks a year,” Vegas said. “That's a lot of golf. I haven't really rested [my shoulder] enough to let it heal. I feel like I'm getting better, but it's not 100 percent. I’m going to work on that in the off-season.”