Rocha Daniel Take Lead Into Weekend
The duo leads the pack at 11-under 133, one shot in front of Stuart Anderson (Ft. McMurray, AB), Scott Hend (Australia), Bobby Kalinowski (Scottsdale, AZ) and Aaron Barber (Minneapolis, MN). Brett Bingham of Red Deer, AB and Andy Johnson of Orlando, FL are at 9-under 135.
Barber, who won this event in 2001, fired a Glendale G&CC course record 9-under 63 Friday, erasing the benchmark set by Lee Trevino back in 1985.
A total of 60 players were 1-under 143 or better and will play on the weekend.
Rocha fired a 5-under 67 Friday and surrendered the outright lead when he bogeyed the 367-yard, par-4 final hole. During Thursdays opening round, Rocha hit driver off the tee right and caught a break when the ball hit a tree and took a favourable bounce. The 24-year-old went on to birdie the hole, but used discretion Friday. But Rocha launched his two-iron tee shot left into the trees, took a drop and salvaged the 5.
'I felt I robbed the course of a shot in the opening round, but the 2-iron today was a disgusting shot,' laughed Rocha, a former First Team All-American at the University of Mississippi. 'Other than that, Im quite happy. But was that shot ever horrible.'
Two weeks ago, as the Brazilian soccer team wrapped up the World Cup, Rocha received permission from Tour officials to wear the bright yellow jersey of his native land during the final round of the Greater Vancouver Classic. While a title here wouldnt shake Brazil to its foundation the way the soccer squad did two weeks ago, Rocha knows what a win would mean back home.
'You dont know how good it feels to see that Brazilian flag at the top of the leaderboard,' he remarked Friday, pointing to a television screen set up in the media room. 'You guys may not see the way the people are at home - of course, Brazil is huge on soccer, but they always support their athletes in any sport. Should I win here, you probably wont understand what it will mean to the people of my country. It is quite a heavy weight, but I love the feeling.'
Daniel, 26, played the past few seasons on the Canadian Tour but was unable to keep his card last season. He went back to Qualifying School this past fall and regained his playing status, but struggled for most of the season, making just one of seven cuts through the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship. Recovering from a back injury, Daniel took two months off and returned for last weeks Victoria Open, winding up a season-high tie for 13th. This weekend, Daniel hopes to build on that result, although he admits he is heading into unfamiliar territory.
'I took the time off and came back more relaxed, not trying to force it so much,' said the 1993 B.C. Junior Champion. 'I felt I always had the shots in me, but I had to relax and just let the shots happen. I havent been in this position, but I am going to keep doing exactly the same thing. Well find out how I react in this situation. What else can you do?'
Less than one week after his first Canadian Tour win in Victoria, Hend appears poised to become the first player to win back-to-back events since New Zealander Steven Alker captured the McDonalds P.E.I. Challenge and Bayer Championship to close out the 2000 season. The triumphs paved the way to the Order of Merit crown for Alker. Hend, who has been married for just over a week now, appeared to have an ominous start Friday when his tee shot on the opening hole wound up in a tree.
'The first thing I thought after that shot was it was going to be one of those days,' admitted Hend. 'But then you have to remind yourself that things like that can happen. I played solid, put myself in contention for the weekend, and that is where I want to be on Sunday. If I can beat myself, that is what it is all about. Winning the battle with myself and the mind games that go along with it.'
Barber, the 2001 Order of Merit champion, was at 8-under with one hole to play Friday. A new course record seemed remote at best when the 29-year-old hit his tee shot into a sand bunker on the right side of the fairway. After hitting his second shot to the fringe, Barber canned the 45-foot birdie putt to establish the record and get to within one of the lead.
'I wasnt even sure what the record was, but I thought someone might take it real low this morning,' he admitted. 'I just wanted to get back on the leaderboard and into contention. Obviously, I like this city.maybe I should come back every couple of weeks to play.'
This weekend, Barber will go in search of his second straight Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the Tour rookie who passed away suddenly in Edmonton last summer. As emotional as Barber was that Sunday afternoon one year ago, Barber admitted the young Zimbabwe golfer will likely stir up the same type of feelings this weekend.
'Now that I am back into the hunt, Lewis is in my thoughts even more. It keeps things in perspective, and we realize that we are lucky to be playing golf. It shows what is important.'
NOTES: Hend is just one shot back and will head into the weekend trying to become the first golfer since 2000 to win back-to-back events. Steven Alker of New Zealand won the McDonalds PEI Challenge and Bayer Championship two years ago.Former NHL goaltender Grant Fuhr finished at 6-over 150 and missed the cut.
Full-field scores from the Telus Edmonton Open
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.