5 Things: Garnett leads; Spieth, Snedeker lurk
Friday, May 23, 2014
While the bulk of the leaderboard is star-studded, it was a PGA Tour rookie that took control at the Crowne Plaza Invitational on Friday.
Brice Garnett fired a 4-under 66 to move to 7 under for the tournament, one better than Chris Stroud and Robert Streb at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Here are 5 Things you need to know after the second round:
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1. HOT START: Brice Garnett didn't waste much time in leaping up the leaderboard on Friday morning, as a 20-foot eagle on the par-5 first hole tied him for the lead before overnight leader Dustin Johnson could even tee off.
Garnett would go on to add three more birdies against a single bogey to fire a 4-under 66 and take the 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.
A day after a "stressful" 3-under 67, saved by a hot putter, Garnett was happy to see his other clubs doing some better work.
"I hit the driver a lot better and the greens as well. Still had the putter working which is always nice to see. The eagle got me off to a good start," said Garnett, a product of Missouri Western State University.
Garnett pointed to his new counterbalanced putter for his better play on the greens.
"I just put it in last week. Just needed a new look. Used the same one for years now. Everything sets up great. I think it just stabilized my hands a little bit more, and I had a better feel," said Garnett, who had never been inside the top 10 after the second or third round on Tour in 19 starts.
Garnett has played in 17 PGA Tour events this season, making 14 cuts and posting just one top-10 finish (Shell Houston Open). This is Garnett's first full season on Tour, sitting at 101st in the current FedEx Cup standings and No. 293 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
He does have two career runner-up finishes on the Web.com Tour, finishing 18th on the money list in 2013.
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2. IN POSITION . . . AGAIN: Jordan Spieth is becoming a name that you simply expect to be near or at the top of the leaderboard come the weekend, and this week is no different.
Spieth made an early surge on Friday, taking the outright lead at 6 under before four bogeys over his final nine holes led him to a 1-under 69 that put him at 4 under for the tournament.
"It was up‑and‑down again. Just too many bogeys on this golf course. I made four bogeys on my back nine today when I had it going. It's a solid ‑‑ I'm off to a solid start," said Spieth, who has six top-10 finishes this season, including a pair of runner-ups.
"I think it's a solid start, but I really, again, just like I said yesterday, I don't think the course is playing that difficult. Even shooting 3 under on the front nine I had four putts inside 12 feet that I didn't make. We all did. They're just not quite going in the hole."
When asked what it would take to win the tournament this weekend, Spieth knows he's going to need to post a low round to leapfrog the field.
"I'd say probably double what it's at right now. 14‑under is out there, so that would mean 65, 65 I would have to shoot. So it can be done, but I'm going to have to make less mistakes and a few more putts," said Spieth.
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3. SNEDS SIGHTING: Brandt Snedeker hasn't had much to write home about this season, picking up just one top-10 finish (T-8 at Arnold Palmer Invitational in March) in 14 starts on Tour. A year after making more than $5.3 million, Snedeker has only managed to net just over $650,000 this season.
But on Friday, the six-time Tour winner showed signs of life with a 4-under 66 that took him to 4 under for the tournament, just three shots off the lead.
The weekend will provide an obstacle for Snedeker, as the Vanderbilt product has only broke 70 in two his last 12 rounds over the final two days of a tournament, including an 80 in the third round of the Masters.
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4. NOT CUTTING IT: Matt Kuchar is the biggest name that won't be sticking around Fort Worth this weekend, as the World No. 4 finished with six consecutive pars to card an even-par 70 to finish at 2 over, one worse than the cut line.
Also just missing the weekend at 2 over were Kevin Stadler, Nick Watney and Angel Cabrera.
Rickie Fowler had little chance of making the cut after a 10-over 80 on Thursday, but he wasn't much better on Friday, carding a 5-over 75 to finish second-to-last in the 123-player field.
2014 Tour winner Chesson Hadley posted back-to-back 77s to finish at 14 over.
TCU All-American Julien Brun, who skipped the NCAA Championships to play in Fort Worth, went 77-76 to finish in 121st place.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: World No. 1 Adam Scott used three back-nine birdies to secure a spot on the weekend, firing a 2-under 68 to move to 1 under for the tournament . . . Chris Stroud had the round of the day with a 6-under 64, propelling him into a tie for second with Robert Streb at 6 under for the tournament. Stroud made nearly 221 feet of putts on Friday, the second-most in any tournament round since 2003, when lasers were first used on Tour . . . 18-hole leader Dustin Johnson had three birdies and three bogeys en route to an even-par 70 and is two shots back of the lead . . . Also at 5 under are Jimmy Walker, Aaron Baddeley, Tim Clark and Bo Van Pelt . . . Zach Johnson (70-71) and Vijay Singh (68-73) made the cut on the number.