Lowery Grabs the Lead at The International
Craig Barlow tallied 10 points in the modified Stableford scoring system to finish alone in second place with 17 points. Mark Brooks had the best score of the second round with 14 points and owns third with a total of 15 points.
This format rewards aggressive play as golfers receive two points for a birdie, five points for an eagle and eight points for a double-eagle. One point is deducted for a bogey and three points for a double-bogey or worse, with a par receiving no points.
British Open champion Ernie Els is alone in fourth place with 14 points.
For the second consecutive day, swirling winds played havoc with the players at Castle Pines Golf Club and scores were higher than previous years. The 36- hole cut fell at minus-two points, the highest at The International since 1993, the first year that scores from the first three rounds carried over to the final round.
'I think it's playing as hard as it's ever played,' said Lowery, whose last victory on tour was the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau Classic. 'The wind blew pretty much all day. The greens are firmer and faster than they've been the past few years.'
Lowery seemed to handle the blustery conditions Friday. His first birdie came at the fifth hole, when he drained a 12-footer, and he made it three in a row with a three-footer at six and a 35-footer at No. 7.
The 41-year-old closed his front nine with an 18-foot birdie putt at the ninth to make the turn with eight points.
Lowery got off to a shaky start on the back nine when he saved par from 70 yards out at the 10th, but he found no such luck at 11. His second shot at the par-3 went over the green and Lowery actually holed a clutch six-foot bogey putt to limit the damage to a loss of only one point.
Lowery rebounded at the 12th when he drained a 12-foot birdie putt and picked up back-to-back birdies after a 15-footer at the 13th. He landed in a greenside bunker at the par-5 17th, but blasted out to three feet and tapped in the birdie putt for two more points.
'The course played tough. It was really windy and tough to pull the right club,' said Lowery, who finished third behind David Toms and Phil Mickelson in last year's PGA Championship. 'I shot 6-under today in some difficult conditions. If I keep playing like this, I've got a good chance to win.'
Lowery earned his first PGA Tour title at The International in 1994 and took the course knowledge with him into this year's event.
'It's always good to come back to a golf course you've won on,' he said. 'I remember that I made eagles on 14 and 17. I eagled 17 (Thursday), so that hole has been pretty good to me.'
Barlow opened on the back nine at Castle Pines and tallied six points after a lip-out bogey at the par-4 fifth. He immediately responded with a tough, downhill 20-footer for birdie at the sixth and, after hitting a pitching wedge at the 185-yard, par-3 seventh, he ran home a 12-footer to close the round with 10 points.
'Fortunately I made a lot of birdies,' said Barlow, who is 199th on the money list. 'I mean I normally make a lot of birdies and unfortunately I make bogeys. But in this format you don't get punished as much by having birdies and bogeys.'
Overnight leader Steve Pate picked up zero points Friday but is tied for fifth with 11 points. He was joined by Billy Mayfair, Jay Haas and Geoff Ogilvy 10 points behind Lowery.
Several of golf's top stars struggled mightily in the windy, difficult conditions. David Duval's woes continued Friday as he finished with minus-14 points to finish 130th out of the 136 players who completed two rounds. Duval's two-day total was minus-16 points.
Mickelson fared even worse. The lefthander racked up four double-bogeys, six bogeys and one birdie Friday for minus-16 points and a two-day total of minus-18 points. Mickelson, a two-time International champion, tied for 133rd and missed the 36-hole cut for the second time in 10 trips to Castle Pines.
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.