Williamson Out Front at Hershey Open
Williamson, whose best finish on tour was fifth at the 2000 Tri-Cities Open, has yet to achieve a breakthrough victory. However, the 30-year-old played remarkably over the East Course layout at Country Club of Hershey for the first overnight lead of his career.
'I try to play golf like Greg Maddux pitches,' said Williamson. 'He doesn't have over-powering stuff and I don't either on the golf course. Maddux is a great pitcher who is struggling a little bit, but when he's on, he's on.'
Williamson opened on the back nine and quickly picked up a birdie at the par-4 11th after he landed his 8-iron within eight feet of the hole. He drained a 40-footer for birdie at the par-5 14th before cruising over the next nine holes at even par.
At the par-5 sixth Williamson broke the par streak after he reached the green in two with a 3-wood. He ran home an 18-foot putt for eagle to reach 4-under, and then converted from 30 feet for birdie at the very next hole.
Williamson completed his bogey-free round with a birdie at the par-4 ninth. He knocked his approach inside six feet and made the putt to take sole possession of first place.
'I want to get in the final couple of groups on Sunday and see what it takes,' said Williamson, who needed 27 putts to complete his round. 'I feel comfortable with this course and I'm looking in a good position for the next three days.'
Stiles, who earned his third career Buy.Com Tour victory at the Knoxville Open last week, eagled the opening hole en route to a flawless round of his own.
'Started off not driving the ball great, but I wasn't missing them bad,' said Stiles, who hit 10 of 14 fairways in regulation.
Dawson also made his way around Hershey's East Course without a bogey. His round of 5-under 66 included three straight birdies from the 10th.
Cliff Kresge, who captured the Virginia Beach Open earlier this year, had five birdies to go along with one bogey for a round of 67. He was joined by Mark Wurtz, Richard Barcelo, Todd Barranger, Joel Kribel and Matt Sharkey in a tie for fourth.
Among a big group one shot further back at 3-under-par 68 were Buy.Com Tour winners D.A. Points, Omar Uresti and Rob McKelvey.
Full-field scores from the Hershey Open
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.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.