5 Things: Hurley, Matteson, Stricker shine
Friday, July 4, 2014
While Troy Matteson's 61 was the round of the day, Billy Hurley III's 63 grabbed the Greenbrier Classic lead at 9 under after two rounds.
Here are 5 Things to know from White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
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1. HOT-HITTING HURLEY: Leader Billy Hurley III could speak confidently about his ball-striking after moving to the lead on a bogey-free day.
"I kind of just did everything pretty well out there today – I drove the ball nicely, hit a lot of fairways," Hurley told Golf Channel. "I haven't really looked back on it, I probably hit 11 or 12 fairways, and kind of just hit a lot of greens from there, generally made some putts."
Despite his seven birdies, it was a par save that struck Hurley as he looked back after his round.
"Made a nice par save on 12, kind of scrambled around the par 5 … Made about a 15-footer for par there to not have to go over par early. So I was kind of able to get it going after that."
Indeed, his first birdie of the day came at No. 14 and soon was followed by two more at Nos. 16-17. Hurley then went one better after the turn with birdies at Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 7.
The Navy product has his eye on his first PGA Tour victory.
"You definitely know you're playing well, hitting quality shots. There was a point in time there where I kind of did say to myself, 'It's just Friday, just keep hitting quality shots.' Couple putts drop here and there coming in the last couple holes and that'll be a nice score.' Especially even on the last, had a really downhill 30-footer, it would be really nice to make this to get to 10, but it's just Friday. So let's just make sure that if it doesn't go in, it's right around the hole."
Hurley leads Kevin Chappell and Chris Stroud by a shot heading into Saturday.
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2. MATTESON'S MOVE: Climbing 106 spots from 2 over par to 7 under, Troy Matteson showed what he can do in a bogey-free 61.
Matteson got out of the gate in a hurry with four birdies on his first five holes, including three in a row from Nos. 3-5, before carding four straight pars to miss out on a front-nine 29. No big deal, though, as Matteson rebounded with back-to-back birdies after the turn and three more at Nos. 13, 15 and 17.
The Georgia Tech product can focus this weekend on capturing his third Tour win.
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3. NOTABLES GIVE CHASE: Several players in the top 30 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings are in this week's field, led by No. 4 Steve Stricker and No. 8 Bubba Watson. The two are T-5 at 6 under and T-8 at 5 under respectively.
Also faring well on the Greenbrier leaderboard are No. 18 Chris Kirk, T-5 at 5 under, and No. 26 Keegan Bradley, T-13 at 4 under. In fact, of the nine players in Golfweek's top 30, only No. 27 Jimmy Walker missed the cut.
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4. NEW PROS' MIXED RESULTS: Tennessee product Oliver Goss carded his second straight 69 to make the cut at T-35 and 2 under. It's his second straight cut made after last week's T-55 finish at the Quicken Loans National.
Patrick Rodgers, formerly of Stanford, also made the cut. His 75 Friday made things interesting but he advanced to the weekend on the number.
Among those sitting out the final two rounds is Alabama product Bobby Wyatt (67-74).
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Brice Garnett's late 66 lifted him to T-5 alongside Kirk and Stricker. … Of the 35 players in the field already qualified for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, 24 made the cut; among them is Charles Howell III, who on Friday withdrew from the Open citing "a personal family reason," according to Associated Press. … Defending champ Jonas Blixt shot 73 to drop to T-25 at 3 under. … U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson showed his chops by shooting 68 Friday to head into the weekend T-49 at 1 under.