Monday, October 10, 2011
Earning $30K was just OK with Nate Smith, but not nearly enough to bring him much nearer to coveted top 125 on the PGA Tour money winning list. Cracking the top 150 would also earn Smith some exemptions into tour events next season, but it was a memorable week for Nate, who made Golf Channel highlights with his 148 yard eagle in round 2 on the 18th hole. With dozens of family and friends in the gallery, the RLS and Duke graduate recorded his highest finish ever in a PGA Tour event. He finished 31st at this years AT&T at Pebble Beach. Capsules of each of Nate Smith's rounds can be viewed and read at www.12sportsonline.com on Jerry's Golf blog.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
It took a chip-in eagle out of the rough on 17 for Briny Baird to catch Bryce Molder in regulation. The pair on Non-winners on the PGA Tour returned to the 17th hole 3 more times, carding birdies in each showdown, as the Molder-Baird playoff dual lasted 6 holes. Baird in fact has won more money than any other PGA touring player without a victory. Molder becomes the 14th first time winner on the PGA Tour this season, with his birdie on the final playoff putt. It's the 3rd time in the 5 year history of the Frys.com Open that a playoff was required to decide the winner. It was the 17th time a PGA event ended in a playoff this season, also the most in history.
All and all, Tiger Woods was pleased with the way he played this week at CordeValle in the Frys.com Open. Tiger loved the event and pledged to return next year but don't count it, unless this tour stop is moved out of the fall season schedule. Woods was the target of a Santa Rosa man who threw a hot dog in his direction on the 7th green, but no damage was done. His round which started so promising with 4 birdies on his first 6 holes ended at 3 under par 68...the same score as his previous two rounds. Woods finished in a tie for 29th in his tuneup for the Australian Open and the President's Cup in November. Attendance at this years event in San Martin, Ca. more than doubled from last year, when Rocco Mediate prevailed.
Early in today's final round, Tiger Woods was 4 under through 6 holes, cracking the top-10 leader board in the final round at CordeValle. The buzz subsided with a bogie on his 7th hole and several missed opportunities after that. At minus 6 for the tournament, Tiger is tied with Soquel's Nate Smith in 29th place at the moment. Smith has a nice gallery of his own, but remains even par his final round. As for the leaders at the turn, the trio of Briny Baird, Ernie Els and Bud Cauley are all at 13 underpar, one shot ahead of Bryce Molder.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
It was an up and down round 3 for Nate Smith, shooting a 1-under par 70, leaving him 7 shots behind leader Briny Baird heading into the final round at CordeValle. Smith followed up his first double bogey of the tournament on #11 with back to back birdies. The Santa Cruz product out of RLS High in Pebble Beach and Duke University needs a big payday at The Frys, and a couple more nice checks before the PGA Tour season ends in order to finish in the top-125 and retain his Tour card. If not, it's back to Q school. Nate's dad Chris follows him every step of the way, with a enthusiast friends and family in the gallery
The 3rd round leader has won more money than anyone on the PGA tour, who has not won a tournament. Zero wins in 348 starts, but Briny Baird owns a 2 stroke lead entering Sunday's final round at CordeValle, with Ernie Els and Paul Casey lurking. Today's round played in ideal conditions yielded a course record 9 under 62 to Jim Renner and Will MacKenzie. Tiger Woods fired another 3 under 68, but trails the leader Baird by 9. Casey is the highest World ranked player in field at number 20, while former #1 Ernie Els is still searching for his first top-10 of the season...switching to a belly putter to help solve his problems on the green.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The Duke grad and Santa Cruz bred Nathan Smith has vaulted himself into contention halfway through the Frys.com Open at CordeValle. With friends and family in the gallery, Smith drained a 145 approach shot on 18 for an eagle, finishing the day 6 underpar and just two off the lead held by Surrey, England's Paul Casey. Nate will tee off around noon Saturday, but since some of the field never finished due to a fog delay Friday, the cut comes in the morning. A one-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, Smith stands at 205 on the PGA Tour money list. He needs a top-125 finish to keep his tour card. A nice payday at CordeValle will help.
The Eagle on 18: http://www.pgatour.com/video/r/highlights/round_recap/2011/10/07/highs_11frys_rnd2.pgatour/index.html
He barely weighs 140 pounds soaking wet, but the diminutive Jacksonville, Florida pro came up big today at CordeValle. The 21 year old fired a 5-under par 66 and stands at minus 7 through 36 holes, trailing Paul Casey by a single shot. Fog delayed the start of round two, so many contenders are still on course, but it would appear he'll be in the final group Saturday. Those not finishing this evening will complete rounds tomorrow morning before the cut can be made and starting times established. It would appear plus one will be the cut but that could change and further scramble Saturday's assignments. Shooting himself into the mix, Soquel native Nate Smith just eagled #18, holing out from 145 yards, and now stands just two shots behind current clubhouse leader Paul Casey.
A 2 hour fog delay played havoc with starting times, so many of the opening round leaders with late tee offs may not finish. In the clubhouse with the lead at 8 underpar is Paul Casey, who blazed through in 7 underpar 64 fashion. Casey, from Surrey England, the only player in the field ranked in the World's top 20 owns a 2 shot edge over Tennessee's Garrett Willis. With most the field still on course, and 1st co-leader Brendan Steele just now teeing off (3:10pm Pacific) there probably will not be a definitive halfway leader of the tournament, nor a determination of the 70 lowest scores to make the cut until after dark. Casey meanwhile is still experiencing jet lag, having played and won in Korea last weekend, and is also battling an injury to his right foot. Moving up the leader board and into contention is Tiger Woods who fired a 3 under 68, while his amateur playing partner Patrick Cantlay had a rough day and sits at the current cut line of 1 over par. Yesterday, Woods was distressed with his putting...today he was pleased. At 7 strokes back at the moment, Tiger feels if he goes low Saturday, he's got a real chance. He stands tied for 38th at the moment.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Drive for show and putt for dough...Tiger was decent tee to green, but his flat stick did not deliver. At 2 over par, Woods is 6 shots off the lead shared by a quartet of pros. Tiger's amateur playing partner Patrick Cantlay, a student at UCLA finished two behind the pacesetters combating steady rain for much of the day. Leaders Brendan Steele, Briny Baird, Garrett Willis and Matt Bettencourt all had morning tee times, and will play in the afternoon Friday. The Woods threesome starts at 7:40. With the low 70 and ties advancing to the weekend...Tiger is on the outside looking in. Tied with Cantlay firing 69's is three time Major winner Ernie Els.
There are 8 other winners of PGA Majors in the field, including Ernie Els, but Tiger Woods is dominating attention from fans, security, media and officials. He's not off to a great start, but that hardly matters on day one of this PGA tour stop in San Martin, Ca. Els teed off early and shot a 2-under 69, but played with a sparse gallery. Californian Brandan Steele is the early clubhouse leader firing a 67 with 3 others a shot back, as the afternoon wave of players are now on course. Defending champion Rocco Mediate shot even par. The fairways and greens are soft from recent rains, and umbrella's are out again as Tiger plays his third hole and stands at one over par, having bogied number 2, missing a 3 foot putt. Updates and interviews throughout the today and through the tournament at www.12sportsonline.com
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
They played together for the first time on Tuesday at John Frys' "Institute" course in Morgan Hill. Thursday at CordeValle in San Martin, the former World's #1 pro and the current top amateur will tee it up in the Frys.com Open, playing in the same threesome with British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen. While the pros compete for part of the $5million purse, Cantlay will retain his amateur status, and head back to his classes at UCLA on Monday. The Bruin star doesn't smile much unlike Woods who has been showing his pearly whites regularly this week as he tries to regain his lost magic on the golf course. For Patrick Cantlay, the lure of winning a PGA tour event as an amateur is the goal, but whatever happens this week, he'll retain his amateur status. His riches will come down the road.
Today's Pro-am wet Woods' whistle for his return to the PGA Tour after 2 months of practice, months of rehab from knee surgery and his much publicized sex scandal that derailed his career for the past 2 years. In good spirits, Woods is itching for that feeling of invincibility he once possessed. He no longer enjoys an intimidating persona which used to make his fellow pros quake at crunch time. Playing in San Martin this week, Woods resumes his quest for dominance tomorrow, when paired with the World's number 1 amateur Patrick Cantlay...still a student at UCLA. The pair played a practice round yesterday at "The Institute" an exquisite course in nearby Morgan Hill, owned by tournament host John Fry, which may be the site for this event in a couple years. Rocco Mediate is back to defend his title, but with Woods, Ernie Els, and other Big Names in the field, the Frys.com Open now becomes the fall season's marquee tour stop on the PGA circuit. 12 players in the field have captured a total of 29 Majors..with Woods owning 14 of them.