5 Things: In Memphis, English seeks first Tour win
Friday, June 7, 2013
After six players held a share of the top spot after Thursday's first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, just one player leads after two rounds at TPC Southwind.
Harris English shot 6-under 64 to move to 10 under and take a two-shot lead over Shawn Stefani heading into the weekend. Others making the cut include Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter and defending champion Dustin Johnson.
Here are 5 Things to Know from Friday's second-round action in Memphis:
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1. ENGLISH, THE MAN: After 36 holes in Memphis, Harris English stands atop the leaderboard.
And for a little while Friday, it looked like the former University of Georgia standout was going to distance himself from the field entering the weekend.
English led by as many as seven shots during the second round before carding a 6-under 64. At 10 under for the tournament, he holds a two-shot lead on second-place Shawn Stefani and a five-shot advantage on Paul Haley II and Scott Stallings, who are tied for third.
He's had 20 one-putt greens out of 36, the Tour said.
"I'm still getting comfortable out here," English said. "Just trying to get in the hunt of a golf tournament every time."
English is still searching for his first PGA Tour victory. He has come close, though, posting six top-10s, including three this season.
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2. STEFANI PLAYING WELL, NO DOUBT: It's been a pretty good week on the golf course so far for Shawn Stefani.
Stefani qualified for his second U.S. Open earlier this week after tying for second at Monday's sectional qualifier at Colonial Country Club. He then shot rounds of 67-65 to enter the weekend at TPC Southwind in solo second at 8 under, two shots back of leader Harris English.
"I started playing well Monday for the U.S. Open qualifier and just wanted to keep hitting good shots," said Stefani, who went bogey-free Friday and notched five birdies, including his last two holes of the day (Nos. 8-9).
Stefani contended at the Tampa Bay Championship in March before finishing T-7. That's his only finish of better than T-27 in 14 PGA Tour starts this season. He's also missed five cuts in his last seven Tour events.
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3. NOT A WHOLE LOTTA SCORING GOING ON: While Harris English and Shawn Stefani were seemingly making birdie at every hole, not everyone had an easy time Friday on a tough TPC Southwind track.
Of the six first-round co-leaders, only English carded a round of under par. Davis Love III and Glen Day shot even-par 70, Stuart Appleby shot 71, Martin Flores shot 72 and Nathan Green shot 75.
"You can't get going that great," Love said. "You can't make a lot of birdies in a row. You can't avoid a mistake."
Added Dustin Johnson, who shot 70 to remain at 3 under: "This golf course is tough; it's tough to score on."
Love attributed the lack of low scores this week to the rough at TPC Southwind. Faster greens and a little bit more wind made Friday's scoring conditions even tougher.
"You have to be patient," Love said. "You can't just force it, I think is the biggest thing. A lot like Harbour Town or Colonial, you have to be a little bit patient off the tee, hit it in the fairway. . . . If you miss the fairway, it's hard to hit the ball with any club."
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DON'T HAVE TO GO HOME, BUT CAN'T STAY HERE: Brandt Snedeker will have a little extra practice time before the U.S. Open. So will Freddie Jacobson, Tim Clark and amateur Steven Fox.
They all missed the cut Friday at TPC Southwind, as the line fell at 1 over. Snedeker entered the day at even par, but a second-round 73 kept him out of the weekend. Jacobson, who entered the week as one of the favorites, also shot 73 to miss the cut at 3 over.
Clark and Fox were way back in the pack at 8 over and 9 over, respectively.
Fox was one of three amateurs playing this week. South Carolina freshman Matt NeSmith and 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang missed the cut, too.
Also missing the cut were Bud Cauley, David Duval and Jimmy Walker, who has made 24 straight cuts before this week. Walker made the cut in his previous 15 starts this season on the PGA Tour. The last time he missed the cut prior to this week was at last year's Greenbrier Classic.
The list of those playing their way into the weekend on Friday includes Phil Mickelson, who shot 67 to move to 3 under; Ryan Palmer, who also fired a 67 to move to 1 under; John Daly, who is also at 1 under after a second-round 69; and Scott Verplank, whose 66 pushed him to even par.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Ian Poulter, who has missed two straight cuts on both the PGA and European tours entering this week, made five birdies in his first 10 holes Friday before making three bogeys down the stretch to close out a 2-under 68. He's 3 under overall. . . . Paul Haley II will play the weekend for just the second time on the PGA Tour this season. Haley, who has missed the cut in nine of 10 events entering the week, shot a second-round 68 and is tied with Scott Stallings for third at 5 under. Haley has also missed the cut in two of three Web.com Tour events this year.