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Saturday, August 27, 2016 -
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Through 16 holes Steve Stricker was already thinking about how he was at least capping off the end of his season with an invitation to throw the first pitch at the New York Mets game tonight. But the veteran PGA TOUR player ensured his night at Citi Field will be a little quieter after storming home with a birdie-birdie finish to make the cut at The Barclays and keep his FedExCup hopes alive at least two more days.  THE BARCLAYS: FedExCup projections | The Upshot Stricker started the week 98th in the FedExCup standings and as such needs a good performance to stay inside the top 100 who will be headed to the Deutsche Bank Championship next week. Bogeys on 14 and 15 looked set to end his week and likely year before his late surge. A sublime 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th was followed by a lovely approach on 18 to a foot, allowing a tap in to well and truly make the weekend at two-over in a tie for 61st, ensuring an early tee-time Saturday. “My goal was to get at least one birdie coming in to give myself a chance,” Stricker said. “I got that at 17 which was good and then I had a good number at 18, 127 to the hole so it was a perfect wedge and I got a little aggressive with it and it turned out. Nice to be able to tap that in.” Stricker is currently still projected to move outside the top 100 at 102nd but has at least given himself the chance of battling back to TPC Boston with just a half decent weekend. Having won the Deutsche Bank Championship in the 2009 Playoffs the 49-year-old could easily still be a factor in the FedExCup. “Hopefully I can have a good weekend,” he said. “It is not life or death for me anymore but I surely want to play the weekend, I hate missing cuts and I want to play next week because it is a favorite of mine, I’ve won there before so I have some work to do. “You just never know what is going to happen in these FedExCup Playoffs. One good tournament can vault you up a long way in this system and hopefully that can be me.” Stricker admitted a run all the way to the TOUR Championship would see him playing a lot more golf then he has in recent seasons in 2016-17. He becomes PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS eligible in February next year and would split his time on both tours. ELIMINATED: With the 36-hole cut come the first official eliminations from the FedExCup Playoffs. There will be 25 players cut from the list on Sunday night but 15 of those names are already known. Those who started the week outside the top 100 who failed to make the weekend and as such cannot secure any more FedExCup points are Seung-yul Noh (+5), David Toms (+14), Luke List (+8), Michael Kim (+4), Cameron Tringale (+9), Francesco Molinari (+7), Mark Hubbard (+7), Boo Weekley (+7), Troy Merritt (+7), Michael Kim (+4), Ben Crane (+4) and Andrew Loupe (+5). Robert Garrigus, Brett Stegmaier and Anirban Lahiri have also been eliminated. Garrigus pulled the pin and withdrew after 11 holes in round two with an elbow injury, Lahiri was a non-starter on Thursday with a shoulder injury while Stegmaier battled through nine holes in the opening round before succumbing to a left wrist complaint. TOP FIVE OUTLOOK: Patrick Reed has taken the outright lead in the tournament at 8-under and is also projected to take the outright lead in the FedExCup. Coming in in seventh on the points list, the highest of any non-winner this season thanks to nine top-10s, Reed is hoping his 10th is a victory. While current top dog Jason Day sits within range in a tie for fifth just four shots back, he is still projected to drop back to second. Dustin Johnson (T39) would then slide to third with reigning FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth (T5) jumping into the number four slot. Adam Scott (T26) would fall from third to fifth. BUBBLE BOY: We started with Jonas Blixt, moved to Scott Brown, but now through two rounds Robert Streb is projected as the man to finish 100th and as such the last man into the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. Sitting T61 at 2-over par Streb sits just three projected points ahead of Irishman Shane Lowry, who is not playing at Bethpage Black. MOVING IN, MOVING OUT: Current projections have five players moving in and five out of the top 100 to get to the Deutsche Bank Championship. Leading those trying to make the push well into the Playoffs is Sean O’Hair who shot back-to-back 69’s to sit 4-under and T5. He started the week 108th on the FedExCup list but now projects to 53rd. “Your back is kind of up against the wall and I tend to play a little better when that is the case for whatever reason,” O’Hair said. “So far job done and I just need to continue to do it. I needed a big week to put myself in a situation to progress and make it to the Tour Championship and that is kind of the big goal here." “I’d like to at least make it to Indianapolis (BMW Championship) and I’d feel it was a pretty successful season if that was the case.” Others pushing in are Blayne Barber (from 112th to 71st), John Huh (from 111th to 80th), former PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley (106th to 85th) and Zac Blair (103rd to 93rd). Those projected to drop out are Shane Lowry (87th to 101st), Steve Stricker (98th to 102nd), Hudson Swafford (90th to 103rd), David Hearn (91st to 104th) and Peter Malnati (93rd to 105th) OUT OF THEIR CONTROL: Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson withdrew after the opening round with knee soreness but coming in ranked 14th (now projected 19th) he will still be eligible to play in next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship. Pre-tournament withdrawal Alex Cejka (neck) will also be safe. He was ranked 59th but is now projected 74th. Other players not competing this week who likely will advance are Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who ranks 20th (projected 26th) and Masters champ Danny Willett, who ranks 75th (projected 88th). Ireland’s Shane Lowry, ranked 87th but now projected 101st chose to play on the European Tour this week and as such has a nervous wait ahead.
Friday, August 26, 2016 -
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Here are a few observations following the second round of The Barclays at Bethpage Black where Patrick Reed owns a two-stroke lead over Emiliano Grillo and Rickie Fowler. Click here to read the Daily Wrap-up. REED CATAPULTS TO LEAD Patrick Reed entered the FedExCup Playoffs as the highest-ranked player without a victory, clocking in at No. 7. He seems focused on changing that this week at The Barclays, though. Reed fired a 68 on Friday to move into sole possession of the lead at 8 under. A win would send him to first in the FedExCup standings and set the stage for a furious finish in the four-tournament chase for the $10 million prize. “It's just like a major,” Reed said. “You go into these Playoff events, they are so important because there are 2,000 points for a FedExCup. You win a major, you get, I think it's 600. So you know at this point, you have four events, you have to play some really good golf.” “I feel like I've been trending in the right direction. I feel like the game's been solid. I just need to get it all clicking.” Reed came to The Barclays with nine top-10 finishes in 24 starts this year, including runner-up finishes at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Valero Texas Open. The 26-year-old, who tied for 11th in the Olympics has won at least once in each of the last three years. But Reed says he won’t feel like his season is incomplete without another victory. “It's golf. You have guys that are going to win in years and you're going to have guys that aren't going to win in years,” he explained. “I think this year has been a lot better than last year and the previous years on consistency. “That's a big part that I've been working on is to make sure I keep myself into golf tournaments. Not go out and win an event here, and then miss two or three cuts and finish 50th, 40th. “It's about consistency: Consistently getting in contention, consistently having chances to win. If I keep doing that, I will at some point break through and win hopefully a couple in a row, not just one.” This is certainly the right time to get on a roll. RIDING MOMENTUM INTO PLAYOFFS After missing the TOUR Championship each of the last three years, Ryan Moore decided it was time for a change. Moore had been in great position heading into those Playoffs – ranked 25th last year, 19th in 2014 and 64th in 2013. So this year he decided to take a few more breaks during May, June and July to assure that he’d be fresher for the stretch run. Smart move. Moore won the John Deere Classic two weeks ago and is in the thick of things at 5 under through 36 holes at The Barclays. “I just feel better this time of year than I have in the past,” Moore said. “A little bit more rested and kind of enjoying playing golf a little bit more. Sometimes I've hit this point and I've been really worn out and kind of over it a little bit.” Moore also has started working with a new trainer named Brian Chandler this summer. Gone is the left ankle pain he’s been dealing with for the better part of the last five years. “Just to have it not hurting and kind of know it's not going to hurt and actually be able to move a little bit better is a big relief out there on the golf course,” Moore said. “I mean, even just walking the golf course having less pain, it's nice. I forgot what that was like.” At first glance, Bethpage Black doesn’t seem to be the kind of course that suits a player like Moore, who ranks 164th in driving distance. But he’s tamed the beast with what he calls his “control” driver, finding 21 of 28 fairways to pave the way.   “I can't hit 7-irons out of this rough,” Moore explained. “… For me it's all about fairways and give myself opportunities from there.” Moore is currently projected to move from 23rd to 10th in the FedExCup and he has momentum on his side. Small wonder he wants to get to East Lake so badly – the two times he’s played in the TOUR Championship, Moore has tied for third and ninth. “That's all I'm thinking about right now is getting to the TOUR Championship, because that's the only way you can win the FedExCup,” he said. WHO ROCKS IT BETTER We’ve had the beards. This year, though, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas are sporting Playoffs mustaches. The new twist on facial hair was Thomas’ idea. “I said, yeah, sure, let's go,” Fowler said. “Let's have some fun. Something different. Trying to get some MoJo going in the Playoffs. “Him and I been playing well but not as well as we would like to. Just something to kind of goof around. We enjoy having a good time off the golf course and on. Kind of a way of just trying to lighten it up.” So far, Fowler thinks he has the edge – on the scoreboard and in the mirror. Fowler shot 69 on Friday and is tied for second, projected to move 22 spots to sixth in the FedExCup. Thomas is back at even par after matching rounds of 71. “I have confidence in myself and my mustache,” Fowler said. STRONG TEAMWORK As is his custom, Michael Greller toted Jordan Spieth’s clubs for 18 holes on Friday. But the caddie probably did his best work on their second of the day. Spieth had just double bogeyed No. 10, his tee shot on the 499-yard par 4 straying into the deep rough on the left side of the fairway and his second finding the greenside bunker. Greller provided a positive, calming voice on the 11th tee. “Let's find the fairway here, get into rhythm and pretend that didn't happen,” Spieth recalled the caddie saying. “He said, let's get two birdies before the turn. Re-setting a goal there, is really key for me to get my mind away from what happened and look forward.” Spieth didn’t immediately turn off the frustration. A few fat wedges fueled the fire but he finally realized he needed an attitude adjustment just before he made the turn and headed to Bethpage Black’s more generous front nine. “I started smiling going to 18 and that was the difference-maker,” Spieth said. “It's easy to say that with the way the scorecard was afterwards, but it's true. That's what happened today.” Spieth made a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th hole, then played the front nine in 5 under to come in with a 67. He made an eagle at the fifth hole, smashing a 6-iron that was “as good of a 6-iron as I’ve hit,” Spieth said, to a mere 27 inches. So the reigning FedExCup champion – who missed the cut a year ago -- will start the weekend well-positioned at 4 under and in a tie for seventh. “It's rare when we play tournaments on courses this challenging,” Spieth said. “Normally they are majors. But 4 under makes up a lot of ground. I was 2 over and on the cut line, having to play the rest of the back nine. At that point, I'm thinking, let's go ahead and try to get to even for the tournament. “But we started getting some momentum.” And that was all the former world No. 1 needed on Friday. CHIP SHOTS -Gary Woodland switched to a mallet putter this week and it paid dividends on Thursday as he reeled off four birdies on the back nine and finished 36 holes at 2 under. “Seeing some putts go in is definitely encouraging for me right now,” said Woodland, who also spent a few days with Butch Harmon last week shoring up the driver. -Rory McIlroy’s new Scotty Cameron prototype mallet-head putter was a tad more cooperative on Friday. He was 4 under through 14 holes but missed fairways at Nos. 15 and 16 brought McIlroy home with a 69. “It's a work-in-progress but it's getting better,” he said. “As long as I keep seeing improvements, I'll be happy.”  -This is the fourth time Ricky Barnes has played a championship at Bethpage Black. He actually held the second- and third-round leads at the 2009 U.S. Open on the A.W. Tillinghast masterpiece before finishing second to Lucas Glover. He’ll start the third round Saturday at 3 under after a second-round 67. “I always enjoy the USGA events and courses, courses that translate, the Oakmonts, the Bethpages, the Pebbles, those kind of golf courses,” he said. “There's something to the eye.”  -Emiliano Grillo won his first start as a PGA TOUR member and represented Argentina in the recent Olympic Games. He came to The Barclays ranked 32nd in the FedExCup and now that a 69 has left him tied for second, Grillo is projected to move to eighth. “It’s been crazy,” he said. “If you would have told me a year ago I would be standing here with a chance of going to THE TOUR Championship, it's going to be hard to believe.” QUOTE OF THE DAY Sometimes (it’s fun) -- until they start playing the piano at like 10:30 at night. They think they are like rappers. It's weird. It's pretty funny, until I'm trying to sleep. SHOT OF THE DAY
Friday, August 26, 2016 -
News and notes ahead of next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship. • COURSE: TPC Boston, 7,297 yards, par 71. In the New England countryside about midway between Boston and Rhode Island, the original 2002 Arnold Palmer Design creation stood just five years before Gil Hanse and consultant Brad Faxon were brought in for a thorough remodel. Fairways and greens were regraded as Hanse/Faxon introduced “chocolate-drop” mounds and grass bunkers to give the course more of a regional feel. The Deutsche Bank Championship has been part of the Labor Day calendar since 2003, offering a traditional Monday finish to take advantage of the holiday. For more on the courses in the TPC network, click here. • FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 2,000 points. • CHARITY: The Tiger Woods Foundation has been the tournament’s primary beneficiary since the start, directing proceeds to the Earl Woods Scholarship Program and Tiger Woods Learning Centers across the country. Seven New England charities also receive financial support, including The First Tee of Massachusetts and Greater Boston Food Bank. • FIELD WATCH: World No. 1 Jason Day and No. 2 Dustin Johnson join defending champion Rickie Fowler atop the marquee for a lineup expected to number 99 entrants. … Open champion Henrik Stenson, who withdrew after one round at The Barclays with knee trouble, is tentatively in as he awaits results of an MRI. … The only eligible name not on the list is Masters champion Danny Willett, essentially ending his FedExCup run. The Englishman was hoping to jump in at the BMW Championship, but began the playoffs at No.75 and needed to move up. • 72-HOLE RECORD: 262, Vijay Singh (2008), Charley Hoffman (2010), Henrik Stenson (2013). • 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Vijay Singh (3rd round, 2006), Mike Weir (1st round, 2008). • LAST YEAR: Fowler chased down a faltering Stenson over the final nine, turning a three-shot deficit into his third come-from-behind victory in a span of five months. Fowler closed with a 3-under 68, making just two birdies after the turn but holding steady as Stenson produced the crucial mistake at the par-3 16th. Pulling a 7-iron, the Swede watched his tee shot balloon in the wind and splash into a pond short of the green for double bogey that allowed Fowler to ascend into the lead. It was Stenson’s second runner-up finish in as many weeks, though he was six behind Jason Day a week earlier at The Barclays. Fowler’s triumph followed similar comeback wins at THE PLAYERS Championship – erasing a five-shot deficit over the final six holes to force a playoff – and the Scottish Open when he birdied three of his last four holes. • STORYLINES: While there figures to be a change at the top of the FedExCup table following The Barclays, Day has appeared close to regaining the form that made him dominant in the spring. Runner-up at the PGA Championship, the Aussie was lurking in the top 10 at the midpoint at Bethpage Black. … Stenson, whose Claret Jug and Olympic silver medal made him perhaps the summer’s most consistent golfer, will bear watching if he tees it up at TPC Boston. His WD at Bethpage Black came after an opening 74. … Rory McIlroy, now down to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking, hasn’t had a top-10 finish on U.S. soil since the Memorial Tournament in May. … The FedExCup cutdown now moves to the top 70 in points for the BMW Championship. A year ago, Keegan Bradley and Jerry Kelly were among four who extended their seasons after coming to Boston outside the cut line. • SHORT CHIPS: Both Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson are set to make their 35th starts in the FedExCup Playoffs, matching Hunter Mahan for most all-time. Mahan had not missed a Playoffs event until falling short of the TOUR Championship last year. … Each of the past six Deutsche Bank Championship winners have come from behind on the final day. Just four winners of 13 have closed out 54-hole leads, though three came in the first three editions. … Only four men in the past three seasons have notched top-10 finishes at each of the first two playoff events. Last year it was Stenson and Daniel Summerhays. • TELEVISION: Friday-Saturday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (NBC). Monday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (GC), 1:30-6 p.m. (NBC). • PGA TOUR LIVE: Friday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6:30 p.m. (featured holes). Sunday-Monday, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (featured holes). • RADIO: Friday-Saturday, noon-7 p.m.; Sunday-Monday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).
Friday, August 26, 2016 -
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Patrick Reed's place in the Ryder Cup is looking better with each round at The Barclays, and so are his prospects of winning. Even with a careless finish Friday at Bethpage Black, Reed rode a fast start to a 3-under 68 and a two-shot lead over Emiliano Grillo and Rickie Fowler going into the weekend of the opening FedExCup Playoff event. The Barclays is the final tournament for Americans to earn one of the eight automatic spots on the Ryder Cup team. Reed, who has gone 55 tournaments worldwide since his last victory, came into the week at No. 8. At the moment, that's no longer a concern. "Really, I'm going into this week trying to win a golf tournament," Reed said. "If I take care of me and do what I need to do this week, then Ryder Cup will take care of itself. So I'm not going into this week looking at it as, `Oh, I need to do this for the Ryder Cup.' I'm going in this to think, `All right, I need to go win a golf tournament.'" Reed was at 8-under 134. Fowler mostly likely needs third place alone to have any chance of qualifying for the Ryder Cup, and he has done his part. He played bogey-free in the sweltering heat, though still missing plenty of birdie chances. Par is never bad on the Black Course, however, and Fowler shot a 69. He has dropped only one shot all week, missing a 4-foot par putt Thursday that spun out of the back of the cup. "Any time you can go bogey-free out here at this place, it's good golf," Fowler said. "Feel very good about my ball-striking and tee-to-green right now. See if we can get some more putts to go in." Grillo also had a 69, opening with a double bogey and finishing with a bogey. Ryan Moore (68) was three shots behind, while defending champion Jason Day (70) and Jordan Spieth (67) were four back. THE BARCLAYS: Leaderboard | Tee Times | Highlights | FedExCup Standings Day tied for the lead early in the round when he ran off four straight birdies on the easier front nine. But his tee shots got wild, he finished some swings with only one hand on the club, and he dropped four shots around the turn. "I'm really looking forward to the weekend," Day said. "I feel like I'm really close." Spieth missed the cut at The Barclays a year ago, and he started off Friday in that direction when his approach to the tough 10th buried in the lip of a deep bunker. Spieth had to play away from the green and made double bogey. And then he decided to start over. His caddie, Michael Greller, told him to forget the hole ever happened and try to get those two shots back before making the turn. He eventually did, and then a lot more. Spieth shot 31 on the front nine, including a 6-iron that hopped out of the rough to 3 feet on the par-5 fourth hole for an eagle, and shot a 67 to get back into the mix. He still has a lot of ground to make up on Patrick Reed. Still, this round could have gotten away from him early. "Resetting a goal there is really key for me to get my mind away from what happened and look forward," Spieth said. "I know it's such a tough golf course. It's rare when we play tournaments on courses this challenging. Normally they're majors. But 4 under makes up a lot of ground." It moved Spieth up to a tie for fifth, which beats having the weekend off. Spieth is among the few who only have to think about the end of the FedExCup. He is No. 5 in the standings, and he already has clinched a spot on the Ryder Cup team. The top 100 in the FedExCup advance to the next Playoff event outside Boston, the Deutsche Bank Championship, and 13 players outside the top 100 were eliminated when they didn't advance to the weekend. As for the Ryder Cup, three players who missed the cut can no longer qualify -- Bill Haas, Kevin Na and Daniel Summerhays. Bethpage, host of the U.S. Open twice, showed how it can punish bad shots. Kevin Chappell one shot behind until he went bogey-double bogey-bogey to finish his round, posting a 72. Reed could have avoided his own sloppy finish. He three-putted from 30 feet on No. 16, bounced back with a 5-iron to 2 feet for birdie on the 17th, and then opted for driver on the closing hole. He was thinking 3-iron off the tee to play short of the bunkers. His caddie suggested driver for a shorter shot into the green, particularly because Reed had hit driver beautifully over the previous hour. This one went enough left to find a bunker, however, leading to another bogey.
Friday, August 26, 2016 -

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