WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Troy Kelly is making just his 34th career start on the PGA TOUR.
After climbing to 10 under with a birdie on the par-5 12th here in the third round of The Greenbrier Classic, he’s in position to go after his first win.
It’s early in the round with players having gone off both tees and in groups of three after the second round was finished Saturday morning, but Kelly has it going with six birdies and no bogeys through his first dozen holes.
That’s certainly a turnaround from how the 33-year-old has played of later. He arrived at The Old White TPC having missed three of his last four cuts. On the year, Kelly has missed more cuts (eight) than he’s made (six).
He has plenty of company, though.
Webb Simpson, Jonathan Byrd, J.B. Holmes and Jerry Kelly are all just a stroke back.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Since winning the U.S. Open last month, Webb Simpson hasn’t slowed down -- literally or figuratively.
Simpson played the week after his landmark victory, finishing 29th at the Travelers Championship, where he was actually in contention after the opening round.
This week, he’s continued his hot play, reaching 9 under to take the lead through the first two rounds at The Old White TPC. Simpson has since been caught, but he’s already on the golf course in Round 3 ( click here to follow ).
“I didn't know what to expect,” Simpson said. “I thought it might be difficult to play well, but I think the schedule I've played has helped. Playing right after was a good thing and then having a week off to kind of regroup was great. And this is an easy place for me to get to.”
Simpson, who lives just a 3 1/2-hour car ride from The Greenbrier, was just one of six players to be bogey-free in the second round. That’s the 22nd time this year Simpson hasn’t made a bogey in a round this season, and he has just one through two-plus rounds here so far.
Just how good has he been? In his last 41 starts on the PGA TOUR, Simpson has finished in the top 10 17 times, three of which were wins.
Will he get his second win of this season here this week? Discuss below.
Fifteen players returned to the course Saturday morning to wrap up their second rounds, and the cut remained unchanged at 1 under. The field will head out for the third round on split tees.
Martin Flores, who was already 8 under when he returned to play the 17th and 18th holes on Saturday, missed a 23-footer on No. 18 to get to 9 under.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- How does it feel for Tom Watson to make the cut at The Greenbrier Classic?
“Well, I’m one out of two,” he said.
That’s more than Phil Mickelson could say, who missed the cut here for the second straight year. Tiger Woods was sent packing, too.
The 62-year-old Watson? He looked young again a year after missing the cut here.
Watson birdied three of his first five holes Friday on his way to a 68. He enters the weekend 2 under and seven shots off the lead.
The last time Watson made the cut in a regular PGA TOUR event was at the 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he tied for 19th. He also made the cut at last year’s British Open, where he tied for 22nd two years after nearly becoming golf’s oldest major champion.
Now he’s hoping to become the TOUR’s oldest winner at the former home of the man he’s trying to surpass, the late Sam Snead.
Watson isn’t looking to be just a ceremonial figure, either.
“I'm not here to enjoy the weekend,” Watson said. “I'm here to compete and play my best and see if I can do better than 68 the last two rounds.”
Watson won five British Opens in his Hall-of-Fame career and just as familiarity with links golf helped him across the pond, his knowledge of The Old White TPC seems to be paying off, too.
”The golf course is a little long for me in places, but today I played most of those holes pretty well,” said Watson, who has been the pro emeritus here since 2005. “All in all I was very happy with the round.”
And why shouldn’t he be?
This is Watson’s 603rd career start on TOUR. He’s made the cut 496 times with his latest coming where Snead once called home.
Snead was the oldest player ever to win on TOUR, capturing the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at 52 years, 10 months and 8 days.
Watson is 10 years older than that, so he didn’t mind waiting out a 90-minute weather delay in the middle of his round Friday.
“It actually helped me, gave me a chance to get my legs back a little bit, relax a little bit,” Watson said. “Plus I had a chance to eat good Greenbrier food out here. They spoil you here.”
Now Watson hopes he can return the favor.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- The second round was suspended due to darkness Friday at 8:45 p.m. ET with a dozen players still on the golf course.
Play will resume at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
When it does, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will not be here. Both missed the cut, finishing at 1 and 2 over, respectively. The cut was 1 under.
Meanwhile, Webb Simpson claimed the lead about 15 minutes before the horn sounded, shooting a 66 to move to 9 under and one shot clear of a handful of players.
Also, the third round will be played with players going off both tees and in groups of three once the second round is completed on Saturday.
Tiger Woods birdied the 18th hole to cap a round of 69, but it wasn't enough to make the cut.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Tiger Woods’ first trip to The Greenbrier Classic was a short one.
Woods shot 69 Friday to miss the cut by a stroke at The Old White TPC. It was the ninth missed cut of Woods’ career and marked just the second time that he’s missed two cuts in the same season.
He also missed the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this year.
“I didn’t quite have it,” Woods said. “I just did not have the feel for the distances. The ball was just going forever. I didn’t hit the ball pin high, and that’s one of the hallmarks of my game. I can hit pin high pretty consistently and I just did not do that at all.”
Earlier in the day, Phil Mickelson shot 71 to finish 2 over and also miss the cut. It was the first time Woods and Mickelson missed the cut in the same event as professionals.
The only previous time both failed to make the cut in a PGA TOUR event was at the 1993 HP Byron Nelson Championship. Woods was in high school and competing as an amateur.
“It happens,” Woods said. “We miss cuts out here.”
Everyone but Woods, that is.
The only other time Woods didn’t make it to the weekend twice in the same season was in 2005 when he missed the cut at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship and the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.
It was also just the third time in Woods’ career that he missed the cut in his next start following a victory. In 2005, he won the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, then missed the cut at Disney. In 2009, he won the AT&T National, then missed the cut at the British Open.
Woods arrived at The Greenbrier Classic off a victory at last week’s AT&T National, where all facets of his game seemed to be clicking.
Here, they weren’t.
While Woods drove the ball well -- he hit 75 percent of his fairways for the week -- other parts of his game weren’t as sharp. He was in the middle of the pack in greens in regulation and took 59 putts over two days.
“It’s tough to come here for the first time and really trust the numbers because the ball really does go a long ways,” said Webb Simpson, who was paired with Woods and took the overnight lead at 9 under after a 66 Friday.
Even when Woods did find the putting surface, he didn’t give himself many birdie opportunities.
“I had my distance control dialed in [at the AT&T National] and this week I was hitting balls so far,” Woods said. “My sand wedge was going 142, 145, wedges going 160. Those are numbers I don’t normally hit.”
Even when he did, he failed to convert, missing four putts from inside 10 feet on Friday, including a couple par saves on the back nine.
After returning from a 90-minute delay due to weather, Woods faced a 13-footer for birdie on the ninth hole. He missed it and followed with bogeys on each of the next two holes, leaving a greenside chip shot in the rough on No. 10 before missing an 8-foot par putt on No. 11.
He’d also missed from 7 feet to save par on No. 3 and failed in his birdie bid from 6 feet on No. 5.
Woods made three birdies over his final seven holes, but it wasn’t enough.
In his career, Woods missed just four cuts in his first 231 starts on TOUR as a professional. He’s now missed four cuts in his last 41 starts.
“You can see the people, how excited they were,” Woods said about playing in The Greenbrier Classic for the first time. “It’s a fun crowd to play in front of. Unfortunately it was only for a couple days.”
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- There are now four players tied for the lead after Jerry Kelly carded a 66 Friday to get to 8 under heading into the weekend at The Greenbrier Classic.
Webb Simpson is also at 8 under, though he still has a few holes to play.
Charlie Wi is another shot back, along with J.B. Holmes, who is already in the clubhouse.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods continues to flirt with the cut. He’s two shots on the wrong side of the number with three holes to play -- one of which is a par 5.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- With bad weather having delayed play earlier in the day for about 90 minutes, players will be on the golf course until dark here at The Old White TPC.
By the time the round ends, we could have a new leader, too.
Webb Simpson just birdied the par-5 12th to get to 3 under on the day and 8 under for the week, putting him in a tie with clubhouse leaders Jonathan Byrd and Charlie Beljan.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, is just hoping to make it to the weekend.
His chances are fading with the daylight.
Woods missed a 13-footer for birdie on No. 9 once play resumed, then bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11. He bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 12th, and he still has a par-5 to come, but he’s currently three shots outside the cut at 2 over for the week.