Spieth, Stenson one behind de Jonge at Valspar

By Jason CrookMarch 13, 2015, 10:36 pm

Low scores didn’t come easy on a windy Friday at Innisbrook, but with 36 holes in the books, Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson sit just one shot behind a veteran Zimbabwean who is chasing his first PGA Tour victory at the Valspar:

Leaderboard: Brendon de Jonge (-6), Jordan Spieth (-5), Henrik Stenson (-5), Ryan Moore (-5), Derek Ernst (-5), Kevin Streelman (-5), Ricky Barnes (-4), Ian Poulter (-4), Sean O’Hair (-4), Lucas Glover (-4)

What it means: In case the pressure of trying to win his first PGA Tour event wasn't enough for de Jonge, thanks to a late Friday push from Spieth and Stenson, he will have to try to hang on to his lead with two guys in the OWGR top 10 breathing down his neck. Also in the mix is Poulter, who is certainly eager for a shot at redemption after collapsing at the Honda two weeks ago, and Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champ. De Jonge also doesn't exactly have history on his side as no 36-hole leader has gone on to win at Innisbrook since 2006.

Round of the day: Spieth put an exclamation point on his 4-under 67 with a 17-foot birdie putt from off the green at 18 and closed the gap between himself and the lead to one in the process. The 21-year-old phenom equaled the low round of the day with seven birdies to three bogeys as heavy wind gusts took really low scores completely out of play.

Best of the rest: De Jonge, who played in the early wave, birdied two of his final three holes to finish his second-round 69, then sat around as no one could successfully wrestle the lead away from him.  Ernst had the best chance, but the 24-year old Californian bogeyed three of his final five holes to fall into the group one behind at 5 under.

Biggest disappointment: After racing out ahead of the pack with a first-round 65, Brian Davis came back to down to earth on Friday, bogeying five straight holes at one point en route to a 5-over 76. He enters Day 3 six shots off the lead.

World No. 4 Adam Scott also had a Friday to forget, carding a 4-over 75 to miss the cut by three shots, ending the PGA Tour’s longest consecutive made-cuts streak at 45. It was Scott’s first missed cut since the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Shot of the day: While it didn’t move him inside the cut line, Jonathan Byrd will always have the memory of his hole-in-one on the 211-yard 15th hole at Innisbrook. Byrd’s ace comes on the heels of last week’s two holes-in-one in a half hour at Doral, and was the first at the Copperhead Course since 2004.

Biggest storyline going into Moving Day: He’s been close, most notably at last year’s Masters, but Jordan Spieth hasn’t won an official PGA Tour event since the 2013 John Deere Classic. Sure, the budding American star added Austalian Open and World Challenge titles to his resume late in 2014, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of being part of a weekend mix with Augusta right around the corner, especially with the likes of Stenson, Poulter, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar in the mix.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.