Love Among Second-Round Leaders in Hartford
Love, who was out for two months last year because of neck pain associated with a disk problem, birdied three of his last four holes to join Jonathan Kaye and Briny Baird, who turned in matching 67s, at eight-under-par 132.
'Now that I am healthy and feeling good, my confidence is starting to come back and I'm starting to see some good things,' Love said.
Scott Hoch, who won a head-to-head battle with Love at last year's Western Open, shot 66 to finish in second alongside Kaname Yokoo (68) at seven-under. First-round co-leader Hidemichi Tanaka carded an even-par 70 to slip into sixth place with Len Mattiace (64), David Peoples (65), Carl Paulson (66) and Peter Lonard (68).
After opening with a 68 on Thursday, Love started on the back nine in round two and posted his first birdie with an eight-foot putt at the 12th hole. He came up short of the driveable par-four 15th then overcame a poor chip by rolling in a 30-footer for birdie.
Love collected four more birdies on his way in, including three in a row starting at the sixth hole. He hit only half the greens in regulation in the second round but needed only 21 putts once he got there.
The 38-year-old Love has amassed 14 victories on the PGA Tour, but has notched only one in the last four years -- the 2001 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Although his 2002 started off shaky with five missed cuts in the first 10 starts with no top-15s, Love has played solidly since the Masters with seven straight cuts made and a pair of fifth-place finishes.
'I started off the year expecting big things because I was hurt last year, and maybe came out a little too anxious to try and make up for last year,' he admitted. 'Even though I did win (in 2001), I didn't win as much as I wanted to, so it took me a while to settle down and get into the rhythm of playing.'
Baird, another back-nine starter, sank 25-foot birdie putts at the fifth and seventh holes before moving to eight-under with a 10-footer at the ninth. Kaye's round featured two sets of back-to-back birdies and a bogey when he failed to get up and down from off the fourth green.
Both players are seeking their first win on the PGA Tour.
'Tomorrow is moving day, you kind of put up or shut up on Sunday,' said Baird. 'It's that simple. Golf is a very, very mental sport and there's a reason why it's so difficult to win out here, and it's not because of a lack of ability.'
Mattiace, who earned his first PGA Tour title in 220 career starts at the Nissan Open in February, holed two 40-foot birdie putts and two 25-footers en route to his 64.
'It was probably one of my best putting rounds in a long time,' he said.
Brett Quigley, who shared the lead after 18 holes with Tanaka, shot a one-over 71 to finish at five-under with Scott Verplank (70).
Defending champion Phil Mickelson, coming off a second-place showing in the U.S. Open, followed a 69 with a three-under 67. So did Sergio Garcia, who finished fourth last week at Bethpage State Park. They were among 11 players at four-under 136, four strokes off the pace.
Mexico's Esteban Toledo tied the back-nine tournament record with a six-under 29. He finished with a 64, jumping from 120th after one round to 30th at minus-two.
Notah Begay III, hampered by a bad back since winning here two years ago, suffered two bogeys and a double-bogey Friday but still made the cut -- his first of the season -- at one-under par.
Brett Wetterich produced the largest two-round swing on the PGA Tour this year. He following an opening-round 79 with a tournament-best 63, but missed the cut by one stroke at two-over 142.
Notable players who failed to qualify for the weekend included John Daly, two- time GHO champion Paul Azinger, and David Duval. Duval, ranked No. 7 in the world, missed his fourth cut in his last five starts.
Full field scores from the Canon Greater Hartford 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.