Greg Chalmers takes first 36-hole lead in 9 years

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE ' Greg Chalmers picked up the nickname Snake with his Australian golfing buddies.
 
Theres no flute or entrancing rhythm to his game, just a smooth putting stroke thats kept him at the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Bank Championship. Chalmers actually is scared of snakes despite seeing quite a few of him in his life growing up in Perth, Australia.
 
Theres nothing to do with snakes whatsoever, Chalmers said. I dont charm snakes. I dont own any snakes. I have seen a load of snakes.
 
Chalmers stayed on top of the leaderboard Friday, firing a second-round 67 to move to 9-under 131 and build a two-shot lead over Chris Riley (66), Jeff Klauk (69) and Kris Blanks (63). Kevin Na (65), Marc Turnesa (65) and Steve Flesch (65) were another stroke back at 6.
 
A day after blustery conditions made the field post the worst scores in a round since 2004, temperatures plunged into the 60s and rain showers made it feel closer to the British Open at Turnberry than summertime in the Midwest at a tournament thats looking for a new title sponsor.
 
Greg Chalmers is known as 'Snake' because of the winding path he's made on tour to get where he is today. (Getty Images)
While Chalmers nickname has nothing to do with snakes, hes made a winding path to the PGA tour, going back and forth between the top level and the Nationwide in recent years. He never had thoughts of giving up because he said he wasnt overwhelmed.
 
If Id been struggling on the Nationwide tour to keep my card out there, I probably wouldve had some serious thoughts about my career or certainly looked at going to another tour somewhere else in Europe or Japan, but I was fortunate I got my card back two out of three years Ive been out there, he said.
 
A career is a long time, its a rollercoaster ride. Ive had some good years out here on the PGA tour and Ive had some really poor years. Youve got to keep trying to improve and ride the waves, you know?
 
Chalmers, who last led a tournament at the halfway point nine years ago and finished tied for second at the Kemper Open, again made a mistake early after starting his day at No. 10.
 
He bogeyed the par-3 14th after his wayward tee shot left him needing a 12-foot putt to make par. But, just like Thursdays opening round, Chalmers came on strong with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18. He also had consecutive birdies at Nos. 4 and 5 for the second straight day.
 
It was a bit of a battle for me off the tee today, but it was a working-mans 3 under, he said.
 
The working man mentality should serve him well this weekend after changing conditions continued on Friday, keeping scores down and the cut line at 1-over 141.
 
The 35-year-old Chalmers, who started playing golf at age 13 and idolized Greg Norman, and the rest of the field dealt with stiff wind and warm temperatures on Thursday and said hed only brought one sweater with him for the tournament.
 
You dont expect it in the summertime, said Riley, who also only has one sweater with him for the tournament. The weather is totally different today.
 
Norman won this tournament in 1989, and Chalmers is on the right track after needing just one putt on 21 of the 36 holes hes played.
 
I made most putts inside 10 feet, Chalmers said. At this level, if youre going to lead the tournament or be competitive, youve got to make them.
 
Meanwhile, Klauk didnt have nearly the same success as Friday, when he was co-leader. He was 1 over through his first nine holes and needed to rally to stay two shots back. Still, Klauk likes his position heading into the weekend.
 
You cant overpower this golf course, he said. Anybody can play. Its just a good, old-style golf course.
 
One that might not return next year. U.S. Bank is dropping its title sponsorship and tournament organizers say a new one must be found to continue the shortest event on tour at the 6,759-yard, par-70 Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
 
Na is 20th in FedExCup standings this year and is the highest ranked player in Milwaukee.
 
That only means one thing ' I need to win, Na said. Thats what I need on my resume is a W out here. A wins a win even though its an opposite field event.
 
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.