Saturday, May 19, 2012
W2W4: Moving day at the Nelson
By Richard Durrett
IRVING, Texas -- It's Saturday and that's traditionally "moving day" on the PGA Tour. To make a move Saturday, golfers must adjust to the wind, which is expected to blow like it did Friday (15 to 20 mph, highest gust of 28). A few things to watch Saturday:
* Since 79 players make the cut, they'll be going off both tees in groups of three. That also means a cut will be made after Saturday's third round so that players can be paired for the final round.
* Get to the course early. The tee times start at 9:35 a.m. and Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson both have early tee times. Els tees off on No. 1 at 9:35 a.m. and Mickelson tees off at 9:45 a.m. off No. 1.
* Can Jason Dufner keep chipping balls in the hole? He did it twice Friday, including a chip-in from just off the green on No. 18, which gave him a one-shot lead. Before New Orleans, the question with Dufner might have been whether he could handle the lead on the weekend. But now that he's won a PGA Tour event, he's liable to be comfortable as he tries to hold it for 36 more holes.
* Matt Kuchar continues to play well fresh off his Players Championship win. I'll be honest: I thought Kuchar might be mentally worn out from that win. But he's hitting the ball well and putting his way toward the top of the leaderboard. As confident as Kuchar is, don't count him out.
* Keegan Bradley dropped a stroke on No. 12, his third hole, but came back with six birdies (he had four bogeys total) to shoot 68. Bradley took advantage of calmer conditions in the morning Friday. He probably won't be as lucky today. Still, the defending champion beat everybody in the wind last year.
* Neighbors Chad Campbell and Ryan Palmer will be playing together Saturday. So it won't be tough for local fans -- they are both from Colleyville, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth -- to follow them as both are in the final threesome.
* Wind. Mother Nature seems to love to put a stamp on this tournament. She blew a mighty wind over the weekend last year. And while the forecast doesn't call for winds with gusts up to 40 mph like last year, it's looking like 25 mph or so. It will certainly impact the golf.
* TCU fans can come out and pull for a couple of former Frogs golfers. J.J. Henry, sporting his purple shirt Friday, shot 68 in the second round and is 4-under for the tournament. J.J. Killeen made the cut on the number at 2-over.
* Who could go low from way back? Keep an eye on Brian Gay. We talked about him before the tournament and he made the cut on the number. He likes the course and has gone low here before.
* Sleeper group: Vijay Singh, Gary Woodland, John Rollins. All three have played well in spurts this week and could feed off each other playing in the middle of the tee times at 10:35.