Friday’s golf: Rodgers getting in on youth movement
Playa del Carmen, Mexico — Patrick Rodgers kept making birdies until his name was atop the leaderboard and it was too dark to play any longer Friday.
Rodgers, a former Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the top player in college, ran off four straight birdies on the back nine and reached 11-under par until the storm-delayed OHL Classic at Mayakoba was suspended by darkness.
Rodgers hit his tee shot on the par-5 seventh hole, one of the three holes he will have to complete Saturday morning.
Rickie Fowler, playing for the first time since the Presidents Cup, was at 10 under with three holes left. The second round was halted for 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Patton Kizzire, the 18-hole leader after a 62, overcame the wind and the rain — at times both — and a double bogey on his 10th hole. He made three straight birdies for a 1-under 70 and finished 36 holes at 10-under 132.
Brian Gay and Brandon Harkins, the 31-year-old rookie from northern California, were at 9-under 133.
Martin Piller was at 8 under and still had nine holes to play.
Rodgers, who was 7 under for his round when play was stopped, is one of the few players from the fabled high school class of 2011 who is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He grew up in junior golf with fellow class members Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Emiliano Grillo and Xander Schauffele.
Rodgers, who grew up outside Indianapolis and starred at Stanford, has yet to make a bogey at El Camaleon in 33 holes.
For all the attention on golf’s youth movement, Harkins is a different kind of rookie. He has toiled on the smaller tours, particularly in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour, to finally earn his card. He began his rookie season with a tie for ninth at the Safeway Open.
He finished up the second round of the OHL Classic with his name on the leaderboard, though it wasn’t quite the finish he had in mind. Starting on the 13th hole, Harkins alternated making birdies and bogeys until he drove into a fairway bunker on the 18th, didn’t get on the green and failed to get up-and-down.
“Definitely exciting,” he said of his name on the board. “But to be honest, I didn’t really watch any board. Wasn’t quite the finish I was looking for, trading birdies and bogeys like that, but I really can’t complain in the wind like this.”
Kizzire also had to lean on patience in the tough weather.
“I had a few hiccups out there, but with the wind and the rain — and with the wind and rain together — it was tough,” Kizzire said. “And the stop and start was tough. But I hung in there, made a few birdies there toward the end of my round and then survived that really tough rain that we had there at the end.”
Oscar Frausto had a 66 and at 7-under 135 had the low score among the five Mexican players in the field. Roberto Diaz, who also competed in the World Golf Championship in Mexico City this year, had a 65 and was another shot behind.
Beau Hossler, who had a chance to win last week in Las Vegas, shot 66 to reach 6-under 136.
Shanshan Feng carded a 1-over 73 at Hainan, China, to take a one-shot lead after the third round of the Blue Bay LPGA.
Feng, who won last week in Japan, had an up-and-down day with three birdies and four bogeys to leave herself at 7-under 209 overall. Feng is looking to become the first back-to-back winner of 2017.
“Given that today was actually very, very windy, I really held up ground, especially with my approach shots to the greens,” Feng said.
Second-round leader Ashleigh Buhai (76) dropped to third place, two strokes behind Feng. Moriya Jutanugarn (68) hit seven birdies to move up six places into second at 6 under.
“It’s been pretty solid so far this week,” Jutanugarn said. “It just helps to be patient a lot on this golf course. Some lucky bounce and just … it’s golf. I’m really enjoying this week so far.”
No. 1-ranked Sung Hyun Park and Na Yeon Choi (both 68) moved up from 20th place into a tie for fourth.
Defending champion Paul Goydos and major winners Vijay Singh and Lee Janzen shot 7-under 64 at Phoenix to share the first-round lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Bernhard Langer, trying to sweep the PGA Tour Champions’ three playoff events and win the Charles Schwab Cup season points title for the fourth straight year and fifth overall, was tied for 28th at even-par 71 at tree-lined Phoenix Country Club. The points leader is one of five players who needs only to win the season-ending tournament to top the yearlong points competition.
The 60-year-old Langer opened the playoffs with victories in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Virginia, and took the PowerShares QQQ Championship two weeks ago in Thousand Oaks, California.
Jerry Smith and Glen Day were a stroke back at 65, and Corey Pavin, David Toms and Joe Durant shot 66. Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie and John Daly were at 69.
Victor Dubuisson came through a day of strong winds and thunderstorms at Sun City to hold a two-shot lead after two rounds of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, South Africa.
Dubuisson bogeyed No. 18 after a rain delay to cut his advantage to just two shots, but he handled the tricky weather best in northern South Africa to hold the halfway advantage at 6 under.
The slip up on No. 18 was one of just two bogeys for the Frenchman, who also collected four birdies in his 2-under 70.
Many of the field struggled in the conditions, with 69 the best score of the day.
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood had a 2-over-par 74 and is in a tie for 37th, leaving him with an uphill task to challenge for the victory which would seal the European Tour season title.
Dubuisson, whose last victory on the tour came two years ago, leads from Darren Fichardt (69) and two-time Nedbank Challenge winner Lee Westwood (70).