August 22 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Some players slept. Others tweeted, talked or played video games.
But Kevin Stadler was just plain bored during the two delays that lasted nearly six hours and turned Thursday's first round of The Barclays into a marathon affair. Make that "extremely bored.
"I was sitting around doing nothing," Stadler said. "I spent the first part of the time looking for my car. The hotel lost my car last night. So was trying to track that down, and the rest of it I was just hanging out inside doing nothing."
When he actually got to play Liberty National between those suspensions, though, Stadler certainly wasn't blase -- firing a bogey-free 64 that left him with a one-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer, Henrik Stenson and Camilo Villegas.
The round was Stadler's lowest since he shot a 63 in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open and it couldn't have come at a better time. Stadler came to The Barclays ranked 87th in the FedExCup and he needs a good performance to assure himself a spot in next week's Deutsche Bank Championship.
Only the top 84 entering The Barclays are projected to be safely into the field for the second Playoffs event.
By his own admission, Stadler has had a "pretty lousy summer, results-wise." He had two top-10s in his first 11 starts of the season but hasn't finished higher than 27th in the 11 he's played since April -- not to mention, he's missed his last two cuts.
"But (I) really started hitting the ball a lot better a couple weeks ago and was looking forward to playing some golf again here recently," Stadler said. "Felt like I was heading in the right direction, even though the results were not showing it and finally got something out of it today."
Indeed. He only missed one fairway and hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation. Stadler, who ranks 159th in strokes-gained putting this year, needed just 25 putts on Thursday, too.
Stadler got things going in the right direction Thursday when he made three straight birdies starting at the second hole. He made birdie putts of 10, 13 and 18 feet during that streak, then two-putted from 20 feet at the par-5 sixth and added a final birdie from 5 feet at No. 8 to turn in 31.
"I hit it really well this morning warming up, and hit a nice tee shot down the first and made a pretty simple par," Stadler recalled. "Good shot, good 4-ron on the second on the par 3 and made a nice putt.
"My putter was kind of hot and cold, and to see one go in there and I made another nice one on two, kind of put me at ease, I knew I was hitting the ball well and to see a couple putts match up well and go in, it was a good day."