April 21 2012
The final group of Ben Curtis, David Mathis and Cameron Tringale will tee off in about 15 minutes with Curtis leading by two over Mathis and three over Tringale.
Curtis, playing out of the 126-150 category, is making just his fourth start of the season this week, with his only made cut being a tie for 14th in Puerto Rico. A three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Curtis is in search of his first win since the 2006 84 Lumber Classic. He has just two top-10 finishes since 2009.
Because of his 2003 British Open victory, however, Curtis maintains fully-exempt status on the European Tour, where he’s fared a little better and if nothing else gotten in some competitive reps with three starts in January and February -- he tied for 48th at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, tied for 47th at the Qatar Masters and tied for 13th at the Dubai Desert Classic.
This week in San Antonio, he opened with a pair of bogey-free 5-under 67s. It’s the first time since the first two rounds of the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open that Curtis has posted back-to-back rounds in the 60s.
Through the first 36 holes at TPC San Antonio, Curtis is second in driving accuracy, tied for third in greens in regulation and sixth in strokes gained-putting.
Dating to 2000, four second-round leaders of the Valero Texas Open have held on for the win -- Eric Axley was the last to do it in 2006.
Mathis is coming off tying his season-best round, a 67, despite hitting just eight fairways at TPC San Antonio.
In 11 starts this year, he’s also made just one cut (Puerto Rico, where he tied for 25th) and in two previous starts at the Valero Texas Open, he missed the cut both times.
Mathis’ best finish on TOUR is a tie for eighth at the 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Once again, Tringale is in contention in Texas. A year after finishing in a tie for fifth in this event, he birdied five of his first six holes in the second round to shoot 65 to get within three of the lead.
A few weeks ago, Tringale tied for eighth in Houston.
His only other top-10 finish of the year was a tie for fourth at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, which matched his best finish on TOUR (T4, 2011 Greenbrier Classic).