PGA Tour at a high risk for birdies
Sunday, January 30, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. – With the low scoring of late on the PGA Tour, rules officials should think about putting out an advisory like those issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The current threat advisory level definitely is orange: High risk of BIRDIES.
For a moment, it looked like the color would be upgraded to a red alert as another 59 watch emerged Saturday at the Wyndham Championship before the leaders arrived at the course.
Kevin Na, trying to follow in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy and Carl Pettersson, made the cut on the number and then fired a course-record tying 9-under 61 in the morning’s first group. After the round, Na said he left a few makeable putts out there.
Sedgefield’s front nine is where birdies can be made in bunches. For proof, look no further than Richard S. Johnson, who scorched the opening nine in 6-under 29. He sprinkled three bogeys on the card coming home and settled for 65.
In addition to Na’s 61, Scott McCarron, currently No. 142 in the FedEx Cup standings, made the biggest move with a 63 to climb into a share of second place and will play in the final group.
Justin Leonard, who is T-5 after a 66, summed up how many players felt: “It sure is a nice change of pace to make some birdies after Firestone Country Club and Whistling Straits.”
Here are some other sights and sounds from the day at Sedgefield Country Club:
• Hard to say whether any kids watched golf today. The three bounce houses located between the practice putting green and the clubhouse beat the pros, 5 and 4; waiting for autographs, 3 and 2; and an ice cream sandwich, 1 up. It looked like Little Timmy’s birthday party broke out. Heather Rollins, John’s wife, had her hands full trying to get their daughter to go see daddy.
• Tim Herron opened with a birdie, then followed with 17 straight pars. He fell 12 places in the standings.
• Lucas Glover rallied from two bogeys in his first three holes to shoot 67. He canned a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 6 with what he described as six feet of break to jumpstart his round. Look for the 2009 U.S. Open champion to make a serious bid Sunday for his first title since.
• Garrett Willis, who was born in nearby Charlotte, wore a Greensboro Grasshoppers hat, the Class ‘A’ minor league baseball affiliate of the Florida Marlins, and was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s game.
• Spencer Levin gets my “last man standing award.” He still was hitting putts as a staff member hand-watered the practice green. That will happen after a round of 34 putts, which is what Levin needed in the third round. When it became apparent Levin wasn’t wrapping up any time soon, he asked Levin if he could switch to another hole.
• Jonathan Byrd was the last man at the driving range. McCarron (63) and Andres Romero (65) – who are battling to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs – both hit balls after strong performances. Who didn’t? Your leader, Arjun Atwal, who drove off in a Chevy Impala after wrapping up his post-round media duties.