Second-round observations from the Children's Miracle

November 12, 2010
Bob Stevens, special to PGATOUR.COM

PGA TOUR Network correspondent Bob Stevens will be offering observations this week from the Children's Miracle Network Classic. Listen to PGA TOUR Live coverage on XM 146/SIRIUS 209 or right here at PGATOUR.COM.

Unlike many of the players in this week's Children's Miracle Network Classic, Roland Thatcher and Chris Stroud didn't specifically ask to play with each other, even though they live fairly close to each other in the Houston area. But Stroud is hoping to play with Thatcher again before the weekend's over after they admitted to me they drafted off each other in the opening two rounds. Thatcher fed off Stroud's opening 62 and Chris told me after drafting off Thatcher's second round 63 that it was his nine-birdie Friday that "kept my momentum going" through a four-bogey 70 that was only saved with birdies at the final three holes.

Rickie Fowler told me after his opening round that he hoped to have a little wave or gesture or something special to Troy Merritt back on the tee of the Kodak Challenge's 17th hole on Friday if he birdied it, but Merritt's group was lagging behind and he was on the 16th hole when Fowler caught him with a 6-footer. Merritt missed his birdie putt, but made one at 18 to ensure he'll have two more chances to clinch the Kodak Challenge with a birdie at the 17th. Both Fowler and Merritt, along with Aaron Baddeley, have had great fun with the end of the "Chase" and they're all tied. If a playoff is necessary, it'll be back at the 17th Sunday as soon as the tournament is over. And yes, lights are available if the entire process takes awhile.

Robert Garrigus is one of the game's more gregarious players, openly admitting to colleague Gary Williams that he'll never forget his collapse at Memphis earlier this year when he triple-bogeyed the final hole and eventually lost a playoff for his first PGA TOUR win. But he also said he learned from it and has been calmer through the trials since, shooting 65 at the Magnolia course with the pressure of being No. 122 on the money list. He's one of the few who understands that he's living a dream, not a nightmare, and if he doesn't rush things he'll be a factor all weekend.

• One last thought. Roland Thatcher appeared to break from the pack with that incredible 63 that featured just 23 putts, telling me that might be a career low. But when I told D.J. Trahan a little later that four of the last five winners of the Children's Miracle Network Classic were seven shots back after 36 holes, his eyes lit up even though he's eight back. This tourney is far from over, and the weekend should be just as exciting as the last two Fall Series events that featured hole-out wins by Rocco Mediate and Jonathan Byrd.