LA QUINTA, Calif.—The rain didn’t go away, but at least the golfers came to play at the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic.
Scattered showers added to the existing sogginess at all four courses in the tournament rotation, but the conditions were amicable enough for professionals to complete the second round Friday after it was postponed Thursday.
Bubba Watson grabbed the lead after shooting a 10-under-par 62 at SilverRock Resort, a course record. He is two strokes clear of Alex Prugh and three in front of Chad Collins, Martin Flores, Joe Ogilvie and first-round leader Shane Bertsch.
Watson’s day included nine birdies, an eagle after driving the green on the par-4 fifth and only one bogey. He made the turn in 29, conjuring memories of the last golfer to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour event — David Duval, who did so at the Palmer Private course at PGA West in the final round of this event in 1999.
That number wasn’t on Watson’s mind, though.
“I didn’t think about it,” he said. “Who knows how many times I’ve shot 29 in mini-tour and pro [events]. The conditions are tough.”
With wind in Saturday’s forecast, Watson is bracing himself after what happened at last year’s Hope. Entering the final round in a tie for third, he could only muster a 75 on the Palmer layout amid swirling winds and dropped to a tie for 25th.
“I don’t look at what’s ahead, I look at how tough tomorrow’s going to be and let’s get after it,” said Watson.
Conditions still might be difficult over the weekend, but there will be two notable differences from the second round. For one, celebrities and amateurs will return to the competition. Friday marked the first time in tournament history that amateurs did not tee it up for early-round play. The PGA Tour decided to restrict play to professionals, sending them out in twosomes beginning at 11 a.m. to ensure the likelihood of finishing the round and track toward a Monday finish.
The other notable different will be the sun. Rain clouds are supposed to make way for sunshine, a fact that won’t be lost on the field.
“What I’m really looking forward to the most is playing golf with the sun out,” said Long Beach native Paul Goydos, who has shot consecutive 69s on the pair of PGA West layouts and stands in a tie for 39th at 6-under par.
Besides Goydos, here’s how notable Southern Californians are faring through two rounds at the Bob Hope Classic:
• At La Quinta Country Club, it was a Walrus family affair — Craig Stadler and his son Kevin were grouped together. Kevin, a USC alumnus, posted a 3-under-par 69 to move into a tie for 17th following his 67 at SilverRock Wednesday, while Craig, a San Diegan, struggled with a 75.
• Former Diamond Bar resident Kevin Na has struggled in this event, with his highest previous finish a tie for 47th in 2004. The 26-year-old is looking to change his fortunes in 2010, as he followed up a 3-under-par 69 on the Palmer layout Wednesday with a 6-under 66 in his second round Friday at the Nicklaus Private course at PGA West. He stands tied for 15th at 9-under par. Statistically one of the Tour’s best putters, Na has rolled his ball well through 36 holes, taking an average of only 26.0 putts per round.
• Defending champion Pat Perez, a former San Diego resident, shot a 3-under-par 69 at La Quinta C.C. to move into a tie for 25th at 7-under par. His score could have been better, as he missed only three greens in regulation but took 32 total putts compared to 25 in his first-round 68 at SilverRock.
• Poway native Bill Lunde has started steady on the pair of layouts at PGA West, posting a pair of 4-under-par 68s to stand tied for 17th at 8-under. Last year’s Hope was the site of his first made cut as a full-time member of the PGA Tour — he started much the same way, going 67-68 en route to a 25-under total and a tie for 14th.
• Long Beach’s John Merrick is tied with Goydos in 39th place at 6-under par.
• San Diego native and former USC men’s golf standout Jamie Lovemark, who gained entry into the field thanks to a sponsor’s exemption, has posted a pair of 71s and is tied for 87th at 2-under par.
• It took Murrieta’s Rickie Fowler four rounds to break par as a full-time member of the PGA Tour — and if he has any intention of earning his first paycheck with that status, he’ll almost certainly need two more of that variety. Fowler shot a 2-under 70 at La Quinta C.C. to move into a tie for 100th at even par, four strokes behind the projected cut line of 4-under par.
For a complete leaderboard, visit PGATour.com.
Check back throughout the weekend for more coverage of the Bob Hope Classic.
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