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 .