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Roundup: Woodland kicks clear

Saturday, January 5, 2019


Recap of the day

 

Playing in the final two-ball of the day after a re-draw ahead of the second round, Gary Woodland jumped from T2 into a three-shot halfway lead thanks to a hot back nine. On a congested leaderboard, Woodland broke out of a five-way tie at the top with a burst of five straight birdies and completed a 6-under 67 with a walk-off par breaker to reach 12-under 134. Overnight leader Kevin Tway maintained his challenge with a 2-under 71 while he was joined in a tie for second on 9-under by Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy. Aussie Marc Leishman stayed solo fifth on 8-under despite swallowing a triple bogey at the 6th. Winds were a real challenge again on day two, with Bubba Watson the biggest victim as he slumped to a 6-over 79 to fall to 32nd in the 33-man field.

 

R2 leaderboard: -12 Gary Woodland, -9 Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Tway, -8 Marc Leishman, -7 Xander Schauffele, Cameron Champ, Justin Thomas, -6 Ian Poulter, Jason Day, Patton Kizzire.


Selected others: -5 Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, -2 Francesco Molinari, Ev Brooks Koepka.

 

Latest betting: 5/2 Gary Woodland (from 14/1 after R1), 9/2 Bryson DeChambeau, 5/1 Rory McIlroy, 10/1 Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman, 14/1 Kevin Tway, 20/1 Cameron Champ, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele.

 


Saturday weather forecast

 

The wind drops a little for round three although will still be a steady presence around 13-15mph all throughout the golfing day. Temperatures are in the high 70s, touching 80, while there could be a passing shower in the afternoon. Woodland and DeChambeau tee off in the final two-ball at 10:45 local.

 

 

Leaders after 36 holes

 

Gary Woodland (67, 134) – Woodland couldn’t get the putter working early but chipped in on 11 and then holed a series of testy ones for birdie. He’s pelted 31 greens in regulation so far and ranks 1st for SG: Tee To Green and Birdies (16) and 9th in SG: Putting.


Bryson DeChambeau (68, 137) – He may have forgotten his umbrella ("insufficient data" he said of the forecast) and taken on board some unwanted H20 but ‘The Scientist’ got his calculations right in the area that mattered. No bogeys, 100% scrambling and he ranks 1st for SG: Putting at the midpoint.


Rory McIlroy (68, 137) – As in round one, Rory did his best work late with three birdies in the last five. Just one bogey today, he leads the way in Greens In Regulation, hitting 16 in R2 and 33 overall.


Kevin Tway (71, 137) – Lost his lead but T2 at halfway on debut when feeling under the weather is a fine effort. The key? Limiting the mistakes. His bogey at 17 was his first of the week.

 


Fate of the favorites

 

Dustin Johnson (74, 141) – His first round over par in 33 laps of the Par 73 Plantation Course even though he only took 72 swishes. DJ swallowed a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball out of a hazard on the fourth although shooting just 1-under on the Par 5s didn’t help either.

 

Justin Thomas (72, 139) – Was tied for the lead at one point but ended the day five off the pace after an even-par back nine which included double bogey at 14. Struggling with the putter in the wind (27th out of 33 in SG: Putting) so perhaps the slightly calmer conditions forecast for R3 will help.

 

Brooks Koepka (76) – Much better than his opening 76 but the World No. 1 is now 12 off the pace. Putter even colder than Thomas’s and 31st of 33 in Scrambling.

 

 

Quotes

 

Gary Woodland (67): “I have a little different mindset this week, playing a little more aggressive, trying to contend, and trying to win instead of just enjoying the views out here, which I’ve done in the past. I played really good tee to green. I've controlled the ball great into the greens. I think I hit 16 greens today which was nice."

 

Bryson DeChambeau (68): “Made a couple of key putts when it mattered most. That’s the thing that I’ve been working really hard on, my initial velocities off the putts, different angles in these greens because they’re so different than anything we play all year.”

 

Rory McIlroy (68): “Very pleased. I thought the conditions today were a little bit trickier. The wind was up a little bit more. I stayed patient. I’m driving it great. I got the new driver in the bag (TaylorMade M5) and now it feels really good (2nd SG: Off The Tee). Obviously, I’ve got the new putter in the bag, and that feels good too (11th SG: Putting).”

 

 

Road to victory at The Plantation Course

 

2018 Dustin Johnson R1: 4th, R2: 3rd, R3: 1st

2017 Justin Thomas – R1: 2nd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

2016 Jordan Spieth – R1: 2nd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

2015 Patrick Reed – R1: 3rd, R2: 5th, R3: 3rd

2014 Zach Johnson – R1: 5th, R2: 1st, R3: 4th

 

Notes: By this stage, the picture is usually very clear. Every winner since 2009 has been no worse than fifth at the midpoint while the last eight champions were either leading or no worse than two back. On those numbers, only one man can now win!

 

 

Fate of the 36-hole leaders at the Sentry TOC – where did they finish?

 

2018 Brian Harman – 3rd, Marc Leishman – 7th

2017 Justin Thomas – 1st, Ryan Moore – 3rd

2016 Jordan Spieth – 1st

2015 Jimmy Walker – 2nd, Russell Henley – 3rd, Sang-Moon Bae – 6th, Zach Johnson – 7th

2014 Zach Johnson - 1st

 

Notes: Leading after 36 holes is a good place to be. In three of the last five years, a leader has converted and success from this point is well-ingrained. A total of 26 players since 1999 have had a piece of top spot at the midpoint. 42.3% have won, 84.6% have made the top five and 96.2% the top ten. That’s not wholly surprising in such a small field but the numbers are encouraging for leader Gary Woodland.

 

 

Focus on – Gary Woodland

 

Gary Woodland means business this week. After signing a new deal with Wilson (“I tried almost four different manufacturers and these were by far the best I liked”), he kept the engine running in December by playing Tiger’s event and the QBE Shootout. After that, he kept practising, even taking his clubs and playing a couple of times when on vacation with wife Gabby. So, will the extra prep, new clubs and new attitude pay off? Woodland converted a halfway lead when winning the Reno-Tahoe Open under a modified Stableford format in 2013 but, in strokeplay, he’s 0-for-4 when holding the 36-hole lead. Twice he’s carried his halfway advantage into the final day so Sunday’s closer is when we’ll get our true answer. A 25/1 shot at the start of the week, he enters the final 36 holes as the 5/2 favorite.



Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.
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