Flores keeps his cool to join Cabrera in lead
May 02, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Martin Flores' best finish so far this season is T12 at The Honda Classic. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE -- If you're looking for fist pumps and high-fives, Martin Flores isn't your man.
In fact, when he holed a 56-degree wedge from 105 yards for an eagle at the 11th hole on Friday, Flores took it in stride. Literally.
"I actually got made fun of because I didn't give any reaction," Flores recalled. "Brian Harmon, his caddy, said, 'Well, I guess I'll go pick it up out of the hole' because I didn't do anything."
In his defense, Flores didn't see the ball sneak into the hole. He actually thought the it had flown past the pin and stopped, so he simply started walking toward the green.
"I had my head down and I was thinking, that's a nice shot, let's go make it, and then all of the sudden I heard the cheers," Flores said.
The softspoken Texan went on to shoot a 68 that left him tied for the lead at the midway point of the Wells Fargo Championship with Angel Cabrera, who is the Latin equivalent of how Flores describes himself, and that is "chill." The Argentine birdied four of his last six holes en route to a 69 that moved him to 9 under and landed him in Saturday's final group.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose is hot on their heels at 8 under after Friday's 67. Shawn Stefani and J.B. Holmes, who needs to earn eight FedExCup points come Sunday in order to play his way into next week's PLAYERS Championship, are tied at 7 under.
Major champions Stewart Cink and Martin Kaymer share sixth with Kevin Kisner, who is looking for his first PGA TOUR title. Kisner's round of 66 would have been the day's low had it not been for Brendan de Jonge's course-record-tying 62 that produced an 18-shot turnaround and gave the man who started the day dead last an unlikely weekend tee time.
To see Cabrera playing well at Quail Hollow should come as no surprise, even though the Argentine has now only made three cuts in nine starts this season. He finished third in the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship, after all, and he's been working especially hard on his game.
"Honestly, it's a course that lets me hit my driver a lot and for that reason, it probably fits my game well," Cabrera, who ranks 186th in driving accuracy, said through an interpretor. "That's probably why I play well here."
Flores' best finish at Quail Hollow is a tie for 21st in 2011. He's already doubled his sub-70 rounds here, and unlike Cabrera, Flores came to Charlotte with some form after posting four top-20 finishes in his last six starts.
"I need to continue being patient and let things unfold," said Flores, who says he needs to put four rounds together. "It's not easy to do but when you're playing against the best in the world, you need to be sharp for the majority of that time."
Leaderboard update: T1. Flores, -9 T1. Cabrera, -9 3. Rose, -8 4. Stefani, -7 More: http://t.co/FMO2iOWL0x— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 2, 2014
WRONG WAY: The last time Rory McIlroy made the cut on the number at the Wells Fargo Championship he won the 2010 tournament. But to repeat history he'll need to avoid the kind of stumbling start he had on Friday when he played his first four holes in 5 over on the way to a 76.
McIlroy three-putted the second hole from 12 feet, then a pair of unplayable lies on the next two holes led to consecutive double bogeys. His biggest concern, though, may have been the 31 putts he took and finding a comfort zone on the left-to-righters.
"I knew that I was capable of coming back, and after that I set myself a target and said if I can get back to even par for the day, that's what I was trying to do," McIlroy said. "Obviously I didn't play well enough to do that but I at least made it through to the weekend.
"I felt like I gathered myself okay after that, but need to do a little bit of work, go to the putting green and do a little bit of work tonight and come out tomorrow morning and shoot a low score."
Flores, Cabrera tied for lead at Wells Fargo
EARLY EXITS: The cut came at 2 over 146. Among those players making early exits were Jonas Blixt, who tied for third at the Masters in his last start; Lee Westwood, who had top-five finishes in his last two starts at Quail Hollow; FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker and Seung-Yul Noh, who won last week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Former major champions Darren Clarke, Ben Curtis, Trevor Immelman, Lucas Glover and Padraig Harrington also will miss the weekend.
A tough/disappointing day on the course..the putter and I didn't get along. A couple extra days practice to get better for @THEPLAYERSChamp!— Jeff Overton (@JeffOvertonPGA) May 2, 2014
ODDS AND ENDS: Flores is looking to become the fifth player since 2008, and third consecutive, to make the Wells Fargo Championship his first PGA TOUR title (Anthony Kim/2008, Rory McIlroy/2010, Rickie Fowler/2012, Derek Ernst/2013). ... The only second-round leader of the Wells Fargo Championship to convert for the win was Tiger Woods in 2007. ... The winners of the Wells Fargo Championship have come from an average of 3.45 strokes behind after 36 holes. The largest come-from-behind win after 36 holes was in 2010, when McIlroy overcame a 10-stroke deficit. ... Phil Mickelson made his ninth cut this season on the PGA TOUR, but is still looking for his first top 10 in his 11th start. This marks the longest stretch of his career to start a season without a top-10 finish. Mickelson’s last top 10 came at the 2013 Barclays where he tied for sixth. ... Mickelson's round of 75 tied his highest in 42 rounds at Quail Hollow. He has seven top-10 finishes during that stretch, including five of fifth or better.
STATS Category Leader Statistic Longest drive Rory McIlroy 375 yards Driving accuracy Heath Slocum 75 percent Most one-putts Kevin Kisner 23 Distance of putts made Jonathan Byrd 249 feet, 6 inches Greens in regulation Stewart Cink 80.56 percent
CALL OF THE DAY: Tom Werme calls Shawn Stefani’s 51-foot birdie putt at Wells Fargo. (Watch the putt here)
THEY SAID IT
"I think this leaderboard looks like a PGA TOUR leaderboard; the way it's been all year. You've had some of the well-known players doing some good things but you've had some guys that we don't know who they are yet, making a name for themselves, too, and looks like that's happening again this week." Stewart Cink
"I can't believe the difference in putting from yesterday to today. Yesterday I saw every ball go in the hole, and today I couldn't get 'em to fall and was 3 putting, which is funny because the greens today were so perfect," Phil Mickelson, who needed 34 putts in shooting 75 as compared with 26 on Friday.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click on the photo below to see some of the best images from the second round at Quail Hollow.