Campbell Grabs European Open Lead
Ireland's Padraig Harrington shot a 3-under 69 Friday to share low round of the day honors. The Irishman is tied for fourth with Jamie Donaldson (71), Joakim Haeggman (73), Patrik Sjoland (70), Jorge Berendt (73), 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie (71) and overnight co-leader Darren Fichardt (74). The group is two shots back at 3-under-par 141.
Campbell opened the second round on The K Club's back nine and tallied only one birdie through his first nine holes but ran into some interesting circumstances as he made the turn.
One of Campbell's playing partners, Pierre Fulke, withdrew after nine holes due to a back problem and then the third member of the group, Phillip Price pulled out of the tournament with a neck injury a short time later.
Campbell bogeyed the 11th hole by himself with Price acting as a non-playing observer. After the bogey at 11, an official went to the group ahead of Campbell and asked if anyone would wait behind and join Campbell in a twosome. Fred Funk agreed and Campbell responded with a pair of birdies at his 13th and 14th holes.
Campbell bogeyed the 15th but parred his way in and took sole possession of the 36-hole lead.
'I said thanks to Fred for joining me. I thought no one liked me on this tour,' joked Campbell, who last won on the European Tour at the 2001 Heineken Classic. 'It's the first time that has happened to me. It was quite strange to play a one ball in a tournament and to have a fellow peer in Phillip Price watching me. It was a very unusual day and actually put me off a little.'
Lane mixed four birdies and three bogeys for a round of 1-under 71.
'I was very satisfied with the way I played today,' said Lane. 'Yesterday I played poorly for six holes and didn't hit a green in regulation. I felt weak and fed myself up on chocolate bars and hit a great 3-iron at the seventh and never looked back.'
Pilkington overcame a bogey at his second hole with four birdies the rest of the way for his 3-under 69.
Harrington had one of Friday's later tee times and took advantage of the sunny skies that hit The K Club for the first time all week. The Irishman collected three birdies on his back nine and when the final birdie putt fell at 18, he was in the hunt for his European Tour title of 2002.
'I am surprised that 69 is the best score today but I am delighted to be in the thick of things,' said Harrington, who along with Pilkington, Eduardo Romero and Nick O'Hern were the only players to break 70 on Friday. 'I left myself too much to do last week and after shooting 72 yesterday I was thinking it was the same story.'
Jarrod Moseley, the other co-leader after the first round, carded a 3-over 75 Friday and is tied for 11th at 2-under-par.
Retief Goosen and Lee Westwood, the last two winners of the Order of Merit title, are part of a logjam at 1-under-par 143.
Darren Clarke, the 2001 European Open champion, rebounded from an opening-round 74 Friday with a 2-under 70 and is part of a group at even par. Colin Montgomerie is part of the pack at even par while Greg Norman, who matched Montgomerie's 69 in the first round, struggled to a 4-over 76 and is tied for 35th at plus 1.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over 147 and three European Ryder Cuppers missed out on the weekend. Germany's Bernhard Langer, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Irelands's Paul McGinley all failed to make the cut.
Full-field scores from the Smurfit European Open
National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.
The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.
These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:
Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.
This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.
“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”
Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.
In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.
If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.
“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”
Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.
Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.
''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''
The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.
The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.
''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''
Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.
''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''
First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).
Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.
''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.
''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''
Bubba (64) fires his lowest round of 2017
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Bubba Watson’s plan when he left the Dell Technologies Championship in September was to take a few months off and come back fresh in 2018
Those plans changed after a few weeks.
“What we figured out was the mental side, preparing for kindergarten - not for me, for my son - preparing for [wife] Angie's knee surgery. It's been a tough go,” Watson said.
“Being home and being with the family and everything, I realized how much I missed the game of golf, and that's why I wanted to come and play in these tournaments.”
The plan has paid off this week at the RSM Classic, where Watson is tied for 12th place after a second-round 64 on the Seaside course moved him to 7 under par.
Watson, who tied for 51st two weeks ago in Las Vegas, got off to a quick start on Day 2, playing the opening nine in 29. Despite a miscue at the 14th hole, when his tee shot wedged into a tree, he was solid coming in for his best individual round this year.
The left-hander was particularly sharp with his ball-striking after what has been a difficult year.
“I want to play golf now and right now I'm swinging at it pretty nicely,” he said.