Coltart and Dredge on Top at Slaley Hall
At 8-under-par 136, the duo leads outright by a stroke over Englands Paul Casey (66) and by two over Jamie Spence (70) and Nicolas VanHootengem (66).
While Coltart is in search of his second win on the European Tour, Dredge is still looking for his first, his best finish coming in a tie for sixth at last seasons Murphys Irish Open.
The recently-turned 28-year-old may just find it this week. His play Friday at De Vere Slaley Hall came in fine form, and included six birdies, offset by a lone bogey at his last hole of the day.
Its a bit annoying to finish like that, admitted the Welshman. My second shot just pitched a few yards short of the green and rolled back and I hit a poor chip to 12 feet ' but thats the way it goes sometimes.
Of his prospects of a possible inaugural victory, Dredge commented: I wouldnt say Im going to win it, but I will certainly go for it over the weekend.
His best finish for this season is a tie for 13th, which came in Januarys Alfred Dunhill Championship. More recently, he finished 24th in Mays Moroccan Open.
One of the days highlights came by way of Australian Richard Green, who shot a new course record at Slaley Hall Friday. His 64 ousted the previous record by a shot and propelled him into a tie for sixth at minus-five.
Unfortunately for defending champion Lee Westwood, the day was not quite so kind.
Following Thursdays horrendous round of 81 ' which included three double bogies ' the big Englishman could do no better than 74 on Friday. At 11-under for the two days, he missed the cut by eight strokes.
Full-field scores from the Great North Open
Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana
While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.
The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.
"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."
Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.
According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."
"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."
Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.
Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.
"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."
Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.
Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth
AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.
Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.
“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”
Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.
“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”
U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters
Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.
Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.
According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.
"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."
Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.
Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client
AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.
In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.
“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”
Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.
Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.