5 Things: Garrigus fires 66, takes lead at Valspar
Friday, March 14, 2014
Cool temperatures and windy conditions again made scoring difficult early Friday at the Valspar Championship.
"I thought today people would be going low," said Luke Guthrie, who shot a morning-round, 1-under 70 to move to 2 under at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Fla. "The wind kind of came up . . . and obviously that made it more difficult, but I'm surprised."
But then conditions improved, winds calmed slightly and temperatures warmed up. Also warming up was Robert Garrigus, who carded the round of the tournament so far, a 5-under 66, to take a three-shot lead at 7-under 135.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from the second round of the Valspar Championship:
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1. PAR 5s, 16TH KEY FOR GARRIGUS: For the second straight round, Robert Garrigus birdied all four par 5s on the Copperhead course.
"I birdied every single one of them in all different ways," Garrigus said. "I've hit wedges and hit it on the green, and two-putted and got it around the green, and chipped up close."
But his performance on the par 5s wasn't the only key for the long-hitting Garrigus on Friday. His par at the par-4 16th was pretty big, too.
After driving it in the trees left, Garrigus hit a low-cut 5-iron to about 14 feet to set up a two-putt par. That par followed two straight birdies at Nos. 14 and 15. In all, Garrigus carded six birdies as part of his second-round 66.
"Probably hit one of the top 5 shots of my life there on 16 out of the trees," Garrigus said. "That's just one of those shots that when you're playing good, everything is rolling, kind of expect it but, you know, not really at the time. "It was a lot of fun to try it, and (to) pull it off was even better."
Two years ago at Innisbrook, Robert Garrigus lost in a four-man playoff at the 2012 Transitions Championship. That result came after two straight missed cuts in Palm Harbor and was followed by a T-56 finish at last year's Tampa Bay Championship.
Garrigus has made seven of 10 cuts this season on Tour. He's failed to crack the top 10, but he's also finished T-28 or better six times.
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2. ANY BOGEYS? NA: Pun intended, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort has a reputation of reaching out and biting players, evidenced Friday by John Daly's 12 at the par-4 16th.
As for Kevin Na, he's avoided trouble so far in Palm Harbor. Na – yes, the same guy who carded a 16 on a par 4 at the 2011 Valero Texas Open – has played 36 bogey-free holes this week and is solo second at 4-under 138 after a second-round, 3-under 68.
"Hopefully, I can keep it up, knock on wood," Na said.
Na's final birdie Friday came at his final hole, the par-4 ninth. After finding rough off the tee and more rough with his approach, Na chipped in for birdie from about 20 feet.
"I drove it well off the tee and my misses were playable, just like around the green on 9," Na said. "You know, I made a lot of good par putts. I think the longest putt I made in two days was a 9-footer, my second putt.
"It's kind of weird how it works out," Na added. "You hit a lot of good putts that don't go in, you try to make a putt, and then when you least expect it you have a little chip-in."
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3. FURYK FEELING COMFORTABLE: After shooting 18 over in four rounds at last week's WGC-Cadillac Championship, Jim Furyk was happy to be back in Palm Harbor this week at a Copperhead course that has been kind to him over the years.
"I enjoy coming to this golf course," said Furyk, who won at Innisbrook in 2010 and has finished 13th or better in each of his three starts since.
"It's just a golf course where anything under par is never going to hurt you here and you're always going to keep yourself in the hunt somewhere within shouting distance."
After a 2-under 69 Friday, Furyk is within shouting distance. The 43-year-old made two birdies, two bogeys and holed a pitch shot for eagle at the par-5 first hole.
"(I wanted to) get as close to the green as I could and create some sort of angle short left of the green," said Furyk, who has just one over-par score in his last 18 competitive rounds at the Copperhead course. "Good way to start the back nine. Kind of got me going on that side and I think it relaxed me a little bit."
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4. BIRDIE MACHINE: Matteo Manassero sits four shots back of leader Robert Garrigus, in large part because of his nine birdies over 36 holes.
Manassero is tied with Pat Perez for second with nine birdies at the Valspar Championship. Only Garrigus has more with 10.
“The greens are tough,” Manassero said. “The greens are quite fast and (a) little grainy, and not easy to get the reads most of the times. And you get some short putts that they break straight away.”
In Friday’s second round, Manassero had one bogey and a double bogey, but offset that with four birdies.
“I really hit a poor tee shot (on 13) and ended up short in the water and then I missed the 5-footer to save bogey,” the Italian said.
Manassero is playing his fourth consecutive week on the PGA Tour and is looking for his first win in the United States.
“It's been really nice trip to the U.S.," Manassero said. "I got into this week really trying to finish this U.S. stretch in the best possible way and my game is supporting me; it's solid."
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5. LEE MISSES CUT: The four first-round leaders – Pat Perez, Danny Lee, Greg Chalmers and Matt Every – combined to shoot 9 over. Of course, Lee is the main culprit after his second-round, 8-over 79 led to a missed cut.
The cut fell at 3 over with 84 players making the cut. Twenty-one of those players made the cut on the number, including Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and last week's winner in Puerto Rico, Chesson Hadley.
Among those missing out on the weekend: Ernie Els (4 over), Webb Simpson (5 over), Louis Oosthuizen (5 over) and John Daly, who shot 90 Friday to finish at 22 over.
Brooks Koepka also missed the cut at 5 over after a three-putt bogey on his final hole, the par-4 ninth. Koepka had a shot to make the cut, but missed an 18-footer for birdie at the ninth.
– Cassie Stein contributed to this report.