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Saturday, May 27, 2017 -
FORT WORTH, Texas – News and notes from Friday’s second round of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, with a four-way tie for first at 6 under that includes Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Danny Lee and Scott Piercy. Click here for more from Colonial. SPANISH ARMADA LURKING Sergio Garcia was 21 years old when he won in his first start at Colonial. At age 22, Jon Rahm is making his first start at Colonial. Nothing would please him more than to duplicate Garcia’s debut back in 2001. “That would be a great thing obviously,” Rahm said. But to do it, Rahm will have to knock off, among others, his fellow Spaniard. They each enter the weekend at 5 under, tied for fifth, just one stroke off the lead. Paired together for the first two days, the current and future stars of Spanish golf certainly fed off each other. Rahm had the better score on Thursday, shooting 66. Garcia shot the same score on Friday. “To be honest, I think we played a role that when one of us were struggling, the other one had a good day,” Rahm said. “Yesterday I was playing good when he didn't have his best start, making some amazing par saves. Today he was playing great and I didn't have my best start. “I think being happy for each other and pulling for each other, that's how our game ended up under par on a tough day like today and yesterday.” Said Garcia: “Jon played really well yesterday. He stayed patient today. I didn't play quite as well, but it was tough. I managed to play nicely and roll a few putts in today that I wasn't able to do yesterday.” Although they’ve played previous practice rounds and competitive rounds together, the two seemed very happy to enjoy each other’s company for 36 holes at Colonial. They spoke in Spanish for most of the day, lapsing into English when necessary – mainly for the benefit of Rahm’s caddie, or for the third member of their trio, Korea’s Si Woo Kim. Despite ending up with the same scores, Garcia and Rahm will not be paired together on Saturday. Garcia will play with Paul Casey, while Rahm is with Sean O’Hair. Time to get serious. “It's been great fun,” Garcia said. I think we both had two really good days on difficult conditions. I think we're happy the way we played. Excited going into the weekend.” IMPRESSING THE PRESIDENTS CUP CAPTAIN Kevin Kisner just spent 36 holes playing with U.S. Presidents Cup Captain Steve Stricker. Considering that he’s tied for the lead after a pair of 67s that includes just one bogey each day, Kisner certainly made a good impression. It may be a moot point. Kisner started this week ranked sixth on the U.S. list. The top 10 players through Sept. 4 will automatically qualify, with Stricker able to make two Captain’s Picks for the competition at Liberty National in late September. Kisner would like nothing more than to spare Stricker of having to decide if he belongs on the squad. “You never know how that works, how the majors and all the points work,” said Kisner, who tied for second at Bay Hill in March and lost in a playoff with teammate Scott Brown at the team event in New Orleans last month. “I’ve got to play well in the majors and I need a win.” Kisner and Stricker have played a few practice rounds together, so there’s little the captain learned about the South Carolina native’s game. Ryan Moore was the third member of the group, and he’s No. 11 in Presidents Cup points. He’s at even par through 36 holes. “Those two guys are definitely in the mix,” said Stricker, who made the cut at 3 over. “Kisner’s a good guy, a competitor. A little bulldog. He doesn’t back down. … He looks like he’s ready to fight the golf course.” SHOT OF THE DAY WEBB SHOWING FONDNESS FOR COLONIAL Blame Webb Simpson’s struggles at the tournament on the other side of the Metroplex for his extended absence from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In 2009 and 2010, Simpson played both the AT&T Byron Nelson and the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational. He missed the cut in all four starts, and so for the next five years, he took the events off his schedule. “It was always pretty much halfway through the year [and] I always wanted two weeks off,” Simpson said. “I didn’t play well at the Byron my first couple of years, so I decided to stay out of Texas.” Last year, Simpson adjusted his playing schedule in May due to birth of his daughter, Mercy. That opened up a hole late in the month, so he added the DEAN & DELUCA. It was a wise move. On a shot-maker’s course that seems suited for his game, Simpson shot four rounds of 68 or better to tie for third. After 36 holes this week, he’s right back in the mix, ending his second-round 4-under 66 with three consecutive birdies. For the second straight year, he’ll go into the weekend as the co-leader at Colonial. “It’s always tricky around here,” Simpson said. “Fairways are not easy to hit. But I kind of hung in there early. “ So what about future plans for Colonial? “Glad I’m back,” he said. “Should be on the calendar for a few years now.” CALL OF THE DAY   CLUB SWITCH PROVES FRUITFUL Anticipating stiff Texas breezes this week, Paul Casey took the 5-wood out of his bag and replaced it with a Mizuno MP-25 3-iron. He leaned on it numerous times Friday, and it paid off with a 4-under 66 and tied for fifth. Opting for the long iron instead of driver for many of his tee shots, Casey has hit 17 of 28 fairways in the first two days – a key barometer for success on Colonial’s tight layout. “I’ve been hitting a 5-wood for a long, long time now, mainly for second shots into par 5s, but I’ve always loved hitting long irons off the tee,” said Casey, who has been sorting out his equipment issues since Nike announced last year it would no longer make clubs. “It’s not the longest 3-iron I’ve ever hit, but I’ve got great control with it. It put me in wonderful position numerous times today – or really didn’t get into trouble, because there is a lot of trouble around here.” Casey also is happy to see his putting come around, calling it the “missing link” to his game. He entered the week ranked 140th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting, but in the first two rounds, he ranks first in the field, having gained a total of 5.215 strokes on the field with his putter. He said it helped playing the first two rounds with one of the TOUR’s best putters. “Trying to channel my inner Brandt Snedeker … because he makes everything,” Casey said. “That’s really the difference. The ball-striking has been pretty good all year. That hasn’t changed. Just some putting.” ODDS AND ENDS Co-leader Danny Lee tied for fifth last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson after a brilliant weekend in which he shot 64-68. Any carryover effect to this week? “A lot, actually,” said Lee, who lives in the area. “… I was just struggling the whole year just trying to find my game. I think I finally got it. My head is in a good place right now. I’m just looking forward to the next couple of days.” … Although Scott Piercy is tied for the lead after his 4-under 66, he’s not feeling well. He said he’s having a difficult time breathing and has other flu-like symptoms. Oh, and temperatures reached into the 90s on Friday. “I’ve been pounding the medicine and trying to get over this,” Piercy said. “The heat definitely didn’t help today.” … Tony Finau is one of the TOUR’s biggest hitters, but he doesn’t view himself as a one-trick pony. He thinks Colonial offers him a chance to show off skills other than his length off the tee. He’ll enter the weekend at 3 under after shooting 65, the lowest round in the morning wave on Friday. “I consider myself a shotmaker,” Finau said. “I’m very feely when I play and I can shape it both ways. I think that’s what you need on this golf course.” … After opening with a 67, Phil Mickelson shot a second-round 75 in which he failed to make a birdie. It was his highest score at Colonial since an opening 78 in 1998. Mickelson’s longest made putt Friday was from 7-1/2 feet, which explains why he was spending extra time on the practice green after his round. … Among the cut casualties: THE PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim, who shot 72-73; and two-time Long Drive Championship winner Jamie Sadlowski, who shot 73-73 in his first start on the PGA TOUR. BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA 😳 pic.twitter.com/qdYKgMJapJ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 26, 2017 Sergio's slope skills = 💯 #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/UdYK9j2gOb— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 26, 2017 Make percentage: 7% Challenge accepted. #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/ON9OHvlcMS— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 26, 2017 Rahm smash! 💪 342. 😳 pic.twitter.com/p3UXSSJ2rk— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 26, 2017
Saturday, May 27, 2017 -
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jordan Spieth normally doesn't concern himself with the cut line in the middle of a round. Unless the Dallas native is in danger of staying home on consecutive weekends in what amount to his hometown events. Spieth recovered from a bad start by going 5 under over his final 13 holes at the Colonial on Friday, and his 2-under 68 put the defending champion at 2-under 138, four shots behind second-round leaders Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Danny Lee and Scott Piercy. "When your back's against the wall and you feel the nerves kick up because you've got to do something, and you're not going to be able to play both weekends in town," said Spieth , coming off missed cuts in THE PLAYERS Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson. "That would have been really, really tough for me to swallow if I missed the cut. And it was in my head." Lee birdied the last hole for a 64, the low round of the tournament on a hot and windy day. Kisner also had a birdie on his final hole, the ninth, for a second straight 67. Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, and Piercy each shot 66 to join the group at 6-under 134. Masters champion Sergio Garcia (66) and fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm (69), who played in the same group, were at 5 under along with England's Paul Casey (66) and Sean O'Hair (68). Phil Mickelson didn't have a birdie while shooting a 75 that left him at 2 over, three shots clear of the cut in his first Colonial since the two-time champ missed the cut in 2010. Spieth said the key to the recovery was a short bogey putt at 14, his fifth hole, that dropped him to 3 over after he opened with a par 70. The 23-year-old broke from his recent routine by seeking caddie Michael Greller's input on the 4-footer. "He said, `Hit this one with confidence and walk it in,'" Spieth said about his third bogey in the first five holes. "I stepped and walked it in. I think it was kind of shocking because it was a bogey putt to go 3 over. No one really walks those in. But it was exactly what I needed." Spieth immediately followed with a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 15, then had four birdies in the first five holes of Colonial's front nine. That included two birdies on the "Horrible Horseshoe" of holes 3-5. The 2015 FedExCup champion had no bogeys over the final 13 holes after seven bogeys and a double bogey among his first 23, which offset six birdies in his opening round. "I played one through five in 4 under. I don't think I've ever done 2 under on those holes," Spieth said. "I felt really good about the way that we played those last 14 holes, about as solid as the entire year." Simpson made a 7-footer at the par-3 16th, then put his approach at 17 just inside 3 feet for a birdie that tied Casey. Third at Colonial last year, Simpson had missed the cut at Colonial his only two other times in 2009-10. A four-time PGA TOUR winner with his most recent victory in 2014, Simpson skipped last week's Nelson and hasn't played both Dallas-Fort Worth events since 2010. "I didn't play well at Byron my first couple of years, so I just decided to stay out of Texas," Simpson joked. Kisner made a 14-foot birdie on his final hole, the ninth, to join Simpson. Moments later, Lee rolled one in from 27 feet at the 18th. Piercy had a shot at the outright lead at the ninth, missing from 24 feet. Casey's best Colonial finish was fifth in his debut in 2009, the same year of his only PGA TOUR win in Houston. The 14-time international winner had three birdies and a bogey over his first four holes before settling in with two birdies over the final 14 while generally staying out of trouble. The highlight for Casey was a 25-foot par save at the par-4 fifth, his 14th hole. "It's been tricky with the wind," Casey said. "I've handled it so far, so I would actually like it to stay tricky if it can. And I handle the heat well. So I am saying probably the more difficult it is, the better it is for me." Garcia had six birdies, while Rahm didn't get his first until 17 while finishing with two straight. Si Woo Kim, playing for the first time since winning THE PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago, had an 8 on the par-4 ninth after his pitch from greenside bunker went dead right off his club and rolled into the water. Kim had to go across the pond for his drop and hit another ball in the water, then tossed his club in as well after finally reaching the green on the next shot. He made a 15-footer for quadruple bogey, and finished with a 73 to miss the cut at 5 over.
Saturday, May 27, 2017 -
Click here for the latest field at Muirfield Village Golf Club as of May 26. Winner - Memorial Tournament Matt Kuchar David Lingmerth Hideki Matsuyama William McGirt Winner - The Players Championship (Last 4 Yrs Plus Year of Win) Jason Day Rickie Fowler Si Woo Kim Winner - The Masters Tournament (Last 4 Yrs Plus Year of Win) Adam Scott Jordan Spieth Bubba Watson Winner - U.S. Open (Last 5 Years) Dustin Johnson Justin Rose Webb Simpson Winner - PGA Championship (Last 5 Years) Jason Dufner Winner - The Open Championship (Last 5 Years) Zach Johnson Phil Mickelson Winner - THE TOUR Championship (Last 3 years) Billy Horschel Winner - World Golf Championships Event - Bridgestone Inv. (3yr) Shane Lowry Winner - HSBC Champions - Last 3 years Russell Knox Winner - Arnold Palmer Invitational (Last 3 Years) Matt Every Marc Leishman Winner - Tournament Winner in the Past Year Aaron Baddeley Jonas Blixt Greg Chalmers Kevin Chappell Adam Hadwin Brian Harman Mackenzie Hughes Billy Hurley III Ryan Moore Rod Pampling Pat Perez D.A. Points Jon Rahm Patrick Reed Cameron Smith Brendan Steele Hudson Swafford Justin Thomas Last Named U.S. Ryder Cup Team J.B. Holmes Brooks Koepka Last Named European Ryder Cup Team Rafa Cabrera Bello Last Named U.S.Presidents Cup Team Bill Haas Chris Kirk Last Named International Presidents Cup Team Steven Bowditch Anirban Lahiri Danny Lee Charl Schwartzel Winner - Prior Year U.S. Amateur Championship Curtis Luck Winner - Prior Year British Amateur Championship Scott Gregory Money List Leaders from International Tours Brett Coletta Matthew Griffin Yuta Ikeda Peter Uihlein Sponsors Exemption - Web.com Tour Finals Ryan Armour Grayson Murray Sponsors Exemption - Members not otherwise exempt K.J. Choi Brendon de Jonge Retief Goosen Sam Saunders Vijay Singh Sponsors Exemption - Unrestricted Padraig Harrington Ryo Ishikawa Soren Kjeldsen Hunter Mahan Carl Pettersson Ryan Ruffels Top 50 - World Golf Ranking - Graduate Decline System Tommy Fleetwood Emiliano Grillo Gary Woodland Kevin Kisner Ross Fisher Top 70 on Prior Season's FedEx Points List Roberto Castro Sean O'Hair Jason Kokrak Scott Piercy James Hahn Fabian Gomez Jim Herman Smylie Kaufman Charley Hoffman Tony Finau Harris English Jamie Lovemark David Hearn Luke Donald Kevin Streelman Brian Stuard Kyle Reifers Vaughn Taylor Daniel Summerhays Ben Martin Top 70 Current Season's FedExCup Points List Sung Kang Luke List Lucas Glover Kyle Stanley Keegan Bradley Patrick Cantlay Ollie Schniederjans Bud Cauley Kelly Kraft Scott Brown Martin Laird Kevin Tway J.J. Spaun Michael Kim Nick Taylor Current Year / Prior Year FedExCup Points (Alternating) Ricky Barnes Morgan Hoffmann Patton Kizzire Patrick Rodgers Harold Varner III Stewart Cink Graham DeLaet Johnson Wagner Cheng Tsung Pan Alex Cejka Byeong Hun An Jim Furyk
Saturday, May 27, 2017 -
• FIELD: See who's playing this week. • COURSE: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 7,392 yards, par 72. Envisioned by Jack Nicklaus as a stage to both honor golf’s history and showcase its current talent, Muirfield Village opened in 1974 and has become a not only a favorite PGA TOUR stop but an occasional venue for bigger events. Now in its fourth decade as Memorial host, Jack’s Place also is the only locale to host all three of U.S. pro golf’s team match-play showcases – Ryder Cup (1987), Solheim Cup (1998) and Presidents Cup (2013). The U.S. Amateur also paid a visit in 1992. With constant fine-tuning by Nicklaus and his design team, Muirfield Village consistently has ranked among America’s top 20 courses and the world’s top 50. • FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points. • CHARITY: Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which serves as primary supporter of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Additional donations spread across Central Ohio include James Cancer Hospital, Fore Hope and The First Tee of Central Ohio. • FIELD WATCH: FedExCup leader Dustin Johnson and World No.3 Jason Day, who makes Columbus his adopted hometown, highlight a lineup that features seven of the top 10 in the rankings and 18 of the top 30. … No.2 Rory McIlroy had committed, but withdrew after a flareup of the rib injury that sidelined him earlier this year. … Jon Rahm, winner of the Nicklaus Award just a year ago as the top golfer in NCAA Division I, now tees it up at No.12 in the world rankings. … Peter Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion who plies his trade on the European Tour, will tee it up on U.S. soil for the third time this year. … Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Curtis Luck also will tee it up. • 72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Tom Lehman (1994). • 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, John Huston (2nd round, 1996). • LAST YEAR: William McGirt made his first PGA TOUR victory one to remember, going bogey-free for his final 22 holes at Muirfield Village to outlast Jon Curran on the second hole of a playoff. McGirt parred his final four holes to secure victory, all in nail-biting fashion. The South Carolina pro saved par from a bunker at No.17 and two-putted from 65 feet to get into the playoff, then found himself in a deep bunker on the first extra hole. He used the slope behind the hole to get up and down, then played a superb flop shot on the second replay to par again. Curran’s approach on the second extra hole flew into the gallery above the hole, and his pitch ran well past the flagstick for a decisive bogey. McGirt’s victory came in his 165th career PGA TOUR start. • STORYLINES: Johnson, who missed last year’s playoff by a stroke, hopes Muirfield Village will restore the edge that led to three straight wins before a slip-and-fall accident that forced him out of the Masters. His past two starts have been 12th at THE PLAYERS and 13th at the AT&T Byron Nelson. … Day seeks again to win his first in front of friends and wife Ellie’s family, or at least his first top-25 at Muirfield Village. Last year’s share of 27th matched his best at Jack’s Place, though he does arrive off a playoff loss at the AT&T Byron Nelson. … Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose, Russell Knox and Uihlein are among 10 players coming to Muirfield Village following this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. • SHORT CHIPS: Greg Norman, who topped the PGA TOUR in earnings three times while winning two British Open crowns and 89 other tournaments worldwide, is this year’s Memorial honoree. Wednesday’s ceremony also will recognize Jerry Tarde, now in his 30th year as Golf Digest’s top editor. … Six of the Memorial’s past 13 champions have been international players. Before that, just three of the first 27 came from outside the United States. … Just one man has ever won back-to-back Memorial titles: Tiger Woods, who claimed three straight from 1999-2001. ... Just 12 months after his playoff loss, Curran wasn't able to crack this year's lineup. • TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (CBS). • PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (featured groups), 3:30-6:30 p.m. (featured holes). Saturday-Sunday, 8:15 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured holes). • RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).
Friday, May 26, 2017 -
FORT WORTH, Texas -- It was just a bogey putt from inside 5 feet. Yet Jordan Spieth walked it in – and the whole complexion of his second round, perhaps even his entire weekend, perhaps even his entire two weeks in his home state of Texas, changed. Starting Friday’s round off the 10th tee, the defending champ had already suffered two bogeys in his first four holes and was guaranteed of another lost stroke at the par-4 14th, having failed to get up-and-down from the greenside rough. The last thing he wanted to do was three-putt the green and walk away with a potentially crippling double bogey. So he called in caddie Michael Greller to help him read the putt. Spieth and Greller had recently tried to stay away from the constant back-and-forth analysis of shots and let Spieth free-flow a little more. “We’ve been working to kind of stay out of each other’s business,” Spieth explained. “ … Trying to go back to kind of an ‘I play my game’ and stop over-dissecting kind of each situation. Talk less and just hit the shots.” But this putt was too important. A second set of eyes could help. Greller provided his thoughts and helped Spieth commit to the line. Then he told Spieth to hit the putt with confidence and walk it in – which he did. “It was kind of shocking because it was a bogey putt to go to 3 over, and no one really walks those in,” Spieth said. “It was exactly what I needed to get the confidence that I’ve been working towards back in that putter. From there, I hit great putts the rest of the round.” Indeed. Spieth rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt at the next hole, made a 10-footer to save par at the 18th, then made four birdies in the next five holes after the turn. Two of those birdies were from distance – 27 feet at the fourth hole, and 13-1/2 feet at the fifth. Spieth finished with a 2-under 68, one of the better rounds in the morning wave, which leaves him at 2 under for the tournament. Worried just a few hours earlier whether he miss the cut for the third straight start (including last week at his hometown event, the AT&T Byron Nelson), Spieth now enters the weekend with a realistic shot at becoming the first defending champ to win since Ben Hogan in 1953. “I played 5-under on my last 13 holes,” Spieth said. “That’s the round of the day. That’s what we needed to see. …“That would’ve been really, really tough for me to swallow if I missed this cut. It was in my head. I normally never talk about the cut line, and it was in my head, given I don’t miss two cuts in a row. So back is against the wall. To be able to come back – definitely a lot of confidence.” One thing Spieth definitely wants to avoid this weekend, though, is getting off to a slow start. On Thursday, he bogeyed two of his first four holes in a rollercoaster afternoon that ended with an even-par 70. The stress after Friday’s first five holes was even more pronounced. He survived only because he did something he had never done before in his Colonial history – play holes 1 through 5 (that include the Horrible Horseshoe of Nos. 3, 4 and 5) in 4 under. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that,” Spieth said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been 2-under on those holes.” He’ll gladly take that on Saturday.

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