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Archive for September, 2018

Recapping 2nd Round Nationwide Children’s Championship, Robert Streb takes lead

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NCC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Robert Streb took over the lead in Friday action (photo by Stuart Mason)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was a windy Friday in Columbus for the 12th playing of the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, but not even the wind gusts could stop former PGA TOUR winner Robert Streb from making a statement in the Buckeye State, posting a second-round 3-under 68 to move to 9-under 133 heading into the weekend. 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year Kramer Hickok sits one back of Streb, followed by a host of players tied at 7-under 135.

“[It feels] a little different,” Streb said of holding the 36-hole lead. “I haven’t done too much of it this year, but it’s nice to be playing well, putting well.  Hopefully, I can keep getting some chances this weekend and see how we do.”

Streb, who entered Friday one stroke back of the lead, ran into trouble early at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course. After picking up a bogey on his opening hole Thursday, Streb ran into the same fate on Friday, carding a five on the par-4 10th (his first hole of the day).

“I hit it way left,” he said when asked what led to the error. “I got a pretty good break and just basically guessed poorly on the green firmness.  I got through the green [on my approach shot], had a tough chip, and then hit a good one.”

The mistake ended up being the only one of the day for the Kansas State University alum, who kept his scorecard clean for the remainder of the round. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 18 allowed Streb to make the turn at 1-under 34 and join a collection of players who had become bunched atop the leaderboard.

After parring the first three holes of his second nine, the father-of-three needed something big to build momentum and break away from the rest of the pack.

That something big came for Streb in the form of an eagle at the par-5 fourth.

“That was nice,” Streb remarked after the round. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to cover the bunker or not.  It covered, I had a pretty good number, and luckily, it landed soft on the green and I had a good putt at it.”

The 2012 Mylan Classic champion would go on to par his remaining five holes, ending the day with a 68.

After finishing at No. 178 in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Standings this year, Streb looks to return to the PGA TOUR with a win this week and make up for a 2017-18 season that was full of struggles. The Oklahoma native made just 10 of 29 cuts, picking up a lone top-10 finish at the Barbasol Championship (T10), where he held a share of the 54-hole lead.

Unlike Streb, Hickok’s status for next season has already been determined.

After notching four top-10s, including a runner-up, in his rookie season, the 26-year-old ended the Regular Season at No. 23, earning his first PGA TOUR card at the conclusion of last week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz.

“I feel like I’m really just freewheeling it out here this week,” Hickok commented after the first round. “I feel like there’s a lot of guys that have a lot more pressure than I do, whether they’re trying to [regain] their PGA TOUR card or they’re trying to get to the PGA TOUR for the first time.  So my mentality is just way different.  I’m really relaxed and just got nothing to lose, so I’m just out there playing the best golf I can.”

That sense of freedom allowed Hickok to continue his strong play into Friday, picking up five birdies alongside two bogeys to finish the day at 3-under 68, moving to 8-under 134 for the tournament.

“It’s tough out there,” Hickok remarked. “You’ve got to be really patient. I hit the driver really well today, which allowed me to put myself in position to score, but even then you can still make a quick bogey.

“The whole game plan is just to limit the mistakes, and I feel if you limit the bogeys, you’ll be able to shoot some low rounds out here. It’s not about making birdies; it’s not a birdie fest, so just limit the mistakes as much as you can and it seems to be helping so far.”

 

FRIDAY NOTES:

* Friday weather: Partly Cloudy, High of 81, Winds S/SE 8-16 mph.

* This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion.

* This week marks the beginning of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that concludes at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Sept. 20-23. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* Friday’s cut came at 1-over 143 with 75 players advancing to the weekend. Andres Romero made the biggest jump up the leaderboard with a 5-under 66 to make the cut, rising from T134 after the first round to T63 after Friday.

* Only two 36-hole leaders/co-leaders have been able to convert their lead into a victory in Columbus (Daniel Summerhays, 2007; Seung-Yul Noh, 2013). Through 23 events this year, five second-round leaders have captured a title at the end of the week, with the most recent being Sepp Straka at the KC Golf Classic.

* Leading the contingency of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alumni in this week’s field is Sebastian Muñoz, who has already locked up his PGA TOUR card as a member of The 25. Muñoz carded a second-round 4-under 67 to move to T7, just three back of the lead.

* After a strong performance (T6) at last week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz to earn his first Web.com Tour Finals berth, Curtis Luck is again inside the top 10 at T7. The former No. 1 amateur golfer in the world is looking to earn his first PGA TOUR card after a 36-hole total of 6-under 136.

* The Ohio State University GC’s Scarlet Course scoring average:

Front (36)         Back (35)          Total          Cumulative

R1 35.956                34.912                70.868

R2 36.154                35.750                71.904             71.386

 

Second-Round Leaderboard

 

Pos. Name Scores
1 Robert Streb 65-68–133 (-9)
2 Kramer Hickok 66-68–134 (-8)
3 Four tied at 135 (-7)

 

 

Recapping Nationwide Children’s Championship First Round, Henrik Norlander leads

MATCH RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NCC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Hendrik Norlander (photo by Stuart Mason)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For some, the four-event Web.com Tour Finals series represents a chance to earn their first PGA TOUR card. For others it’s a route to return to the TOUR and personal redemption for a season that might not have been to their liking. For Sweden native Henrik Norlander, it’s a mix of both.

The 31-year-old has spent the past two seasons playing on the Web.com Tour after losing his PGA TOUR card following a rough 2016.

With his sights set on a TOUR return, Norlander wasted no time taking advantage of the opportunity, opening with a 7-under 64 at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, good for a one-stroke lead over fellow past Web.com Tour winner Robert Streb.

Norlander was dialed in from the get-go in Columbus, carding a birdie on three of his first four holes. Despite stumbling at the par-5 sixth and walking away with bogey, the Augusta University alum still put together a strong round, following up pars on Nos. 7-9 with a string of birdies on five of the first six holes on his back nine (Nos. 10-12 and 14-15).

“I hit a lot of fairways, obviously,” Norlander said of the stretch, “and then I hit a lot of iron shots.  I had 200 yards into No. 11, hit it to a foot.  Two-putted No. 12, and then hit it to seven feet maybe on No. 14, which is a hard hole. I was able to make that…  I mean it’s cliché, but I just tried to stay in the present.  I felt like I did a really good job of that today.”

The Atlanta, resident would go on to challenge the tournament record of 8-under 63 after his back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, but a par-bogey-birdie finish would leave him one stroke shy.

“I got greedy on No. 17 and tried to go for the flag,” he remarked. “I came out of it in the bunker and I was actually shocked by how easy that bunker shot was because I was on the upslope.  Almost sort of took me out of my focus.  I thought I was going to have a really tough shot and I got up there and it was sort of easy.  I hit a pretty bad bunker shot, hit a decent putt.  It was nice to bounce back and finish with a birdie.”

In 20 Regular-Season starts this year, Norlander picked up seven top-25 finishes, including a runner-up at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. The performance was enough to earn him a Web.com Tour Finals berth for the sixth-straight year, but at No. 32 on the money list, it wasn’t enough for a return to the PGA TOUR. Norlander isn’t letting that stop him; instead, he feels freer than ever in his chase.

“I didn’t get in the top 25 [on the money list],” Norlander commented after his round, “which was the goal obviously for the season.  So, I tried to regroup and had three goals the next four events: try to take it a little slower, have fun and just trust everything I’m doing.  I only have an upside to play these four events.  I have full status on the Web.com Tour next year, which obviously is not my ultimate goal, but there’s only upside playing these four events.  I’m just trying to have fun.”

Streb falls into the latter of the two earlier mentioned categories as well, competing in this week’s event after finishing at No. 178 in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Standings this season.

Trouble struck early for Streb, who carded a bogey on the par-4 first.

A wayward tee shot left the 31-year-old in the immediate rough near a tree and a rough chip out of the area led to more trouble. Streb struggled on the green, missing a putt and ultimately walking away with a bogey on the opening hole.

The former PGA TOUR winner refused to let the hole define his round, however, bouncing back with a birdie on the second hole to shift the momentum.

“The birdie on the second hole after bogeying the first,” Streb said of the bounce back, “was a nice help.  Kind of squashed that slow start, so that was good.  Kind of kept it rolling after that… You know the weather today was going to be really good, so you’re going to get some chances.  Had it been blowing 25, maybe that’s a little different, but with the good weather, if you keep hitting good shots, you’re going to get a lot of looks at it.”

Streb played clean golf after the opening hole, picking up birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 before making the turn and picking up four more on his final nine. The 66 was his lowest round in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event since carding a 63 in the third round of the 2018 Barbasol Championship to take the 54-hole co-lead with eventual tournament champion Troy Merritt.

The Kansas State University alum has competed in this event twice before, carding a T22 finish in 2012 and ending 2013 tied for 28th. Streb credits his past experience with the course as a factor for his success on Thursday.

“It’s good,” Streb commented when asked about the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, “and this place is just a good test.  If you’re playing well, you’ll do fine, and if you’re not, you’re kind of scrambling all day.  So, it’s very fair and can be pretty tough when the wind blows and it gets bouncing.”

FRIDAY NOTES:

* Friday weather: Mostly sunny, High of 78, Winds N 5-10 mph.

* This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion.

* This week marks the beginning of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that concludes at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Sept. 20-23. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last week following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* The highest start by an eventual tournament currently sits at even-par 71, with 2009 champion Derek Lamely and 2015 champion Andrew Loupe having both opened tournament play with the score. Eighty-one players currently sit at even-par or better heading into the second round.

* Only one 18-hole leader/co-leader has been able to convert their lead into a victory in Columbus (Bill Lunde, 2008). Through 23 events this year, three first-round leaders have captured a title at the end of the week, with the most recent being Martin Trainer at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

* This week’s field features two past champions, Ben Kohles (2012) and Daniel Summerhayes, who won the event as an amateur in 2007. Kohles and Summerhayes both opened play with an even-par 71.

* Leading the contingency of Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada alumni in this week’s field is 2017 Mackenzie Tour Player of the Year and Order of Merit winner Kramer Hickok. Hickok, who was one of nine Mackenzie Tour alums to receive their PGA TOUR card last week in Portland, opened with a 5-under 66 to move to T3, just two strokes back of the lead.

 

* The Ohio State University GC’s Scarlet Course scoring average:

Front (36)         Back (35)          Total

R1 35.956                34.912                70.868

 

Ohio State 2018 Football Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 1 – Oregon State (noon ET) BUCKEYES WIN 77-31   (1-0)

Saturday, Sept. 8 – Rutgers (3:30 pm ET)

Saturday, Sept. 15 – at TCU (game played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas; 8 pm ET)

Saturday, Sept. 22 – Tulane (Time TBA)

Saturday, Sept. 29 – at Penn State (Time TBA)

Saturday, Oct. 6 – Indiana (Time TBA)

Saturday, Oct. 13 – Minnesota (Time TBA)

Saturday, Oct. 20 – at Purdue (Time TBA)

OFF WEEK

Saturday, Nov. 3 – Nebraska (Time TBA)

Saturday, Nov. 10 – at Michigan State (Time TBA)

Saturday, Nov. 17 – at Maryland (Time TBA)

Saturday, Nov. 24 – Michigan (noon ET)

Saturday, Dec. 1 – Big Ten Championship Game (Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, time TBA)

 

 

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