India’s Arjun Atwal carded eight birdies and a lone bogey to rocket into a one-shot lead over Davis Love III and Jim Furyk after Friday’s second round of the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island in Georgia.
Atwal has not won anywhere since his maiden PGA Tour win in 2010 and his best finish this year is a share of 19th place at the St Jude Classic in June, but the 39-year-old was sublime en route to a seven-under-par 63 on the Seaside Course.
It moved Atwal, who has made just 11 cuts in 25 starts this year, to a 10-under-par total 130, one shot clear of host and 2012 US Ryder Cup captain Love (66) and veteran Furyk (65) at nine under.
PGA Tour rookie and overnight co-leader Bud Cauley was two shots off the pace after following up his opening-round 62 with an even-par 70, in a share of fourth place with American David Toms (67) and Australian Gavin Coles (65) at eight-under.
At 175th on the tour money list, Atwal will need a high finish either this week or next in the season’s final tournament to return next year.
He was in a similar situation late in 2010 before he won his maiden title and earned exempt status until the end of this year.
“I’m in a desperate situation,” Atwal said. “I got no choice other than to either win or finish in the top two. I think my caddie figured that out so I just got to grind it out.”
“I felt really calm out there, and the putter is starting to work. That was the missing link in the last few tournaments that I played,” he said.
Love is full of confidence on the greens at his home course with a new belly putter, giving him a great chance to win his 21st PGA title. His last victory came in 2008.
“I’m hitting the ball real well,” Love III said.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve gotten everything out of the way, but it’s my home course and I kind of know my way around it, so hopefully I can keep it going,” he said.
Furyk, who has suffered heartbreak defeats in the US Open, WGC Bridgestone and Ryder Cup this year, put himself in a good position for the title. His 65 was bogey-free and featured four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine.
Fijian former world No. 1 Vijay Singh and Australian Jason Day are among a large group four shots off the pace.
HERO INDIAN OPEN
AFP, NEW DELHI
Scotland’s Richie Ramsay birdied four of his closing five holes as he raced into a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Hero Indian Open on Friday. Ramsay, who had shared the overnight lead after the opening round, fired a second successive five-under-par 66 for 10-under-par 132 at the US$1.25 million Asian Tour event in southwest India.
Thai duo Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat — who last won on the Asian Tour in India in 2009 where he set a new world 72-hole scoring record of 32-under-par 256 — and Jaakko Makitalo of Finland returned with matching 68s to stay within touching distance of Ramsay.
Indian star Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won his fourth Asian Tour title in Macau last week, led the local charge with a round of 69 for tied sixth position and is five shots off the pace at the Karnataka Golf Association course.
Ramsay made 11 consecutive pars after his birdie on 11 but bounced back on his homeward nine with four birdies including a 25ft downhill birdie putt on the last.
“It is always nice to hole a birdie on the last. It makes your lunch taste a little nicer,” he said in comments released by the organizers.
Panuphol, who is hunting for his first Asian Tour title, played blind on the last three holes as sporadic rain in the afternoon fogged up his glasses. The highlight of his day was three straight birdies from 14 including a chip in from 15 yards on hole 15.
“The rain was pouring down and I didn’t bring my umbrella, which wasn’t smart at all,” the 19-year-old said.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
OLYMPICS Delay pushes rower to retire British rowing gold medalist Tom Ransley on Friday announced his retirement after deciding that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to next year was a step too far. The 34-year-old was part of the men’s eight who won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also a bronze in the 2012 London Games. “I have used up everything I had and I know that to get myself in the necessary condition to compete for a seat in 2021 is a step too far,” he told the BBC. The years of early starts, of three training