Martin holds 3-shot lead at Zurich Classic after Rd. 2

By Associated PressApril 26, 2014, 12:12 am

AVONDALE, La. – When Ben Martin played junior golf, his father, Jim, would tell him that his demeanor should be the same every time he walked off a green, whether he made birdie or double bogey.

That might explain why Martin seemed so calm when his game briefly unraveled Friday in the middle of the second round of the Zurich Classic, and why he righted himself quickly enough to post the best two-round score ever at TPC Louisiana.

Martin, who shot course-record 62 on Thursday, shook off his first bogey and double bogey of the tournament to finish with a 67 on Friday, putting him at 15 under – three shots ahead of closest pursuer Andrew Svoboda.

If the 26-year-old Martin can continue to show that type of composure, he might capture his first PGA Tour victory.

''That's my personality in general. Sometimes my wife gets mad at me because I don't get excited about anything,'' Martin said. ''And then I don't get down too much, either. That's golf. You can't expect to shoot 62 every day.''

Svoboda followed his opening 64 with a 68.

Robert Streb (66) and Sueng-Yul Noh (68) were tied for third at 11 under. Erik Compton also shot a 68 and was at 10 under, a score that keeps the two-time heart transplant recipient in contention for his maiden PGA Tour triumph. Tied with Compton for fifth was Peter Hanson, who shot 69, four shots off the pace of his strong opening round.


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Keegan Bradley (66), Jeff Overton (68) and Charley Hoffman (67) were 9 under.

The tournament record score at TPC Louisiana – which is hosting New Orleans' PGA Tour event for the ninth time – is 20 under, set last year by Billy Horschel.

For a while, it looked as if Martin might match that in the second round. Starting the day on the 10th hole, Martin hit an 8-iron 160 yards to a foot to set up his first birdie. On the par-5 11th, he used a 54-degree sand wedge to chip in from nearly 58 feet, one day after he chipped in with the same club from 55 feet on 17. He then sank a 7-foot putt for birdie on 13.

Martin said his hot start was cooled off, almost poetically, by the sound of ice being poured into a cooler in one of the VIP suites overlooking the par-3 17th hole. It forced him to back away from a putt attempt, and he wound up three-putting.

Then he proceeded to hit his drive into water to the right of the 18th fairway, and three-putted on that hole for double bogey.

Yet, as he walked off the green, he smiled slightly and proceeded calmly and purposefully to the first tee, where he made the first of four birdies on his second nine.

That's the kind of composure Martin's wife, Kelly, has come to know well.

''When he comes off the course, you wouldn't know if he shot 10 under or 10 over,'' she said.

Svoboda, who will tee off with the final group for the first time in a PGA Tour event, continued to be pleased with his putting, which he credited in part to a new putter with a shaft bent to 71 degrees and grooves on the face.

''I'm hitting the ball great and I'm putting really well,'' said Svoboda, whose highlights included a 40-yard bunker shot to set up a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second hole.

He didn't have a single bogey in the tournament until his final hole of the day, when he three-putted the par-3 ninth.

''I hit a bad second putt there,'' he said of his miss from 6 feet. ''But I dug pretty hard today. I played really well, so I'm pretty happy.''

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.