Two players desperate to improve their position on both the PGA Tour money list and the FedEx Cup points standings came through with record-tying rounds Thursday in the Wyndham Championship at Greensboro, N.C.
Rookie Martin Laird and Bob Heintz each shot 7-under-par rounds of 63 to share the first-round lead at Sedgefield Country Club in the final event of the PGA Tour regular season before starting the FedEx Cup playoffs. Laird entered the tournament No. 162 on the money list and No. 164 in the FedEx Cup standings, while Heintz is No. 161 in money and No. 167 in FedEx Cup points.
If they can continue their solid play, both Laird and Heintz are bidding to possibly make the playoffs. More importantly, both are fighting to stay in the top 125 on the money list and keep their Tour cards.
"I would say [there's] more pressure in me trying to keep my job right now," Heintz told reporters. "I don't even know where I am on the money list. I don't know where I am on the FedExCup because I didn't think it would help me to know that information before I started the week."
Heintz has had a difficult time staying on the PGA Tour, estimating that he's been to Q-school about 10 times. He played 24 events in 2005, but made just nine cuts and didn't play again on Tour until 2007 when he made the cut in 15 of 27 events, earning him $649,342.
This year, Heintz has played in just 11 events, making five cuts.
"I snuck in last year," said Heintz, who had eight birdies against one bogey on the par-70 layout. "I had played more steady. I had actually played more events last year, too, so I'd love to have a crack at it but one day at a time would be pretty good right now.
"I'll just even enjoy that and go work some more. Hopefully I can keep going."
Laird used some impressive shots to post a bogey-free 63. The highlight came at No. 13, where he holed out for eagle on the par-4 hole from 115 yards with a pitching wedge.
"Obviously, a very good round. You know, it was one of those rounds when I had to hole 8-, 6-, 10-footers for par, I did," Laird told reporters. "Started the first hole, I holed about an eight-footer or 10-footer for par. That was, in a funny sense, kind of a good start. A momentum-builder."
Laird added to his good start by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 2.
The two 63s tied the course record shared by three other players. The most recent player to shoot 63 at Sedgefield was Gary Player in 1970, although the tournament hasn't been played at the Donald Ross-designed course since 1976.
Laird said he isn't sure how low the winner will need to go this weekend.
"It's one of those courses, on paper, it looks like you can really get it, but just depends how nasty the rules officials get on the weekend with pin positions," he said. "I don't know. I'd say, you know, 15, 16-under might do it, but I mean that all depends on the pin positions."
Locals Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark both shot 64 and are tied for third with Scott Sterling and Garrett Willis at 6-under 64. Steve Marino, Ken Duke, Scott McCarron and Bob Sowards are tied for seventh after shooting 65.
Defending champion Brandt Snedeker, who won last year's event at Forest Oaks Country Club across town, is among a group of players tied for 11th at 66. Vijay Singh, the highest-ranked player in the tournament field at No. 5, shot 1-under 69 and is tied for 76th.
August 15, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
... full article »