SAFEWAY OPEN: Burns takes over lead with second-round 65

(photo from Sam Burns who has a two shot lead at the Safeway Open on Friday in Napa 

By Jeremy Harness

Sam Burns shot a seven-under round of 65 and grabbed a two-shot lead at the Safeway Open Friday afternoon during the second round of play.

Burns, who finished last season 111th in the FedEx Cup race, was only one shot behind the lead after the first round, but he did not start out very well. After making par at his starting hole, the 10th, he suffered a damaging double bogey at the 11th.

That seemed to give him a jump start, as he birdied three holes in a row and then went on to birdie two of the next four holes. He kept that momentum going with four more birdies on his second nine.

“Yeah, I think it pissed me off a little bit, woke me up, I guess,” Burns said. “It was early, cold. It was kind of like it picked me up, like hey, let’s go. Just kind of stuck with it and the golf course opened up for me the rest of the day.”

He is two shots ahead of Harry Higgs, who made a huge charge on Friday. He had the shot of the day at his very last hole, when he holed out from 230 yards out at the par-5 ninth for a double eagle, otherwise known as an albatross.

Before that, he had a special, bogey-free round going, with six birdies on his first nine, including four birdies in a row at holes 15 through 18. His back none was rather quiet, other than a birdie at the par-4 third, before firing the big shot at No. 9.

He carded a 10-under round of 62, which was the low round of the day and launched him right into the thick of things at Silverado.

“What a wonderful way to end the day,” Higgs said. “(But) I was looking forward to a nap all day long, but now I might be too jacked up now to actually fall asleep.”

Russell Knox, who was the leader after the first round, shot a second-round 69 and is now three behind the lead, along with Cameron Percy and D.J Trahan.

“I hit the ball well today. I played fairly conservative into some holes,” Knox said. “I was kind of in between yardages, but I felt like I played well. I could have shot a lower score than I did. I didn’t really hole the putts today, but to finish birdie-birdie 3 under was very satisfying.”

NOTES: Five-time PGA Tour winner John Daly, who currently plays on the PGA Champions Tour, was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

The 54-year-old said he has undergone a procedure to remove the cancer as well as eight days of chemotherapy, and he was reportedly positive about the treatment despite an estimated 85 percent chance that it will eventually come back.

He is in the field at the Sanford International in Sioux Falls, S.D, and he is currently tied for 11th after a two-under round of 68 in the first round.

Safeway Open: NorCal natives on top of the leaderboard

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By Jeremy Harness

NAPA–The Safeway Open is being held in Northern California, so it’s only fitting that two guys who grew up in the region are in the top two spots as the tournament heads into the weekend.

Bryson DeChambeau shot into the lead with an eight-under round of 64 on Friday. A native of Clovis, which is in the Fresno area, the 26-year-old started off hot and did not really let up the rest of the way. Starting on the 10th hole, he began by birdieing the first three holes in a row and would pick up two more shots on his first nine.

He would go on to birdie three more holes on the second nine and did not record a single bogey in the entire second round.

“Well, I made a couple good putts, that was obviously awesome, and I struck it lot better than I did yesterday,” DeChambeau said. “I scrapped it around, I got it in at four-under, and then I knew today if I could go work on my swing like I did yesterday and come out and feel comfortable like I did today, I’d come out and shoot a low number.”

Meanwhile, Nick Watney, who currently lives in Las Vegas but grew up in nearby Dixon, fired a seven-under round of 65 to vault himself into second place, only two strokes behind DeChambeau. He birdied his first two holes and would birdie two more holes on the front nine but dropped a shot with a bogey at the par-four eighth.

Watney recovered very nicely and finished with quite a flourish. He birdied holes 14 through 16, and he closed things out with a chip-in birdie at the par-five 18th hole.

“It was pretty smooth,” Watney said. “It was kind of like this course, if you keep it in front of you, you’ve got a chance to shoot a good score, so I’m happy with the day.”

However, Friday wasn’t all smiles. Tony Romo, who shot a two-under round of 70 on Thursday to give himself a chance, he shot a six-over 78, which was marred by six bogeys on the front nine and led the way to his missing the cut.

“(I) didn’t hit many fairways today,” Romo said. “With the firmness of the greens, it’s just difficult when you put yourself in some of the spots I was.

“I didn’t putt well. Started (with) three three-putts, I think, on the first eight holes. Kind of gets you a little antsy as far as trying to get some of them back.”

PURE INSURANCE OPEN: McCarron takes first-round lead

Photo credit: Golf Feeds (@golffeeds)

By Jeremy Harness

Professional golf is back at Pebble Beach, and this time around, the weather is a whole lot better.

When the PGA Tour made its annual stop in the Monterey Peninsula back in February, the wind and rain wreaked havoc in the first two days of the event before things cleared up for the weekend.

There have been no such weather worries this week, and there do not figure to be any through the weekend, either, and the folks in the PGA Champions Tour – formerly known as the Senior Tour – are taking advantage.

During Friday’s first round, Scott McCarron grabbed the early lead at the PURE Insurance Championship, previously known as the Nature Valley First Tee Open, shooting an eight-under 63 to go into the weekend with a one-stroke advantage.

Playing at Poppy Hills, which was just remodeled last year, McCarron birdied the first two holes of his round before recording an eagle at the par-4 fifth to get to four-under. He suffered a bogey at the par-3 sixth but quickly rebounded with two more birdies on the front nine.

He then played a clean back nine, which included three more birdies to finish out his round.

He was very accurate off the tee on Friday, hitting 11 of his 13 fairways, and he was even better getting to the dance floor, as he hit 16 of his 18 of his greens in regulation to set himself up for the round that he had.

One stroke behind McCarron is Germany’s Bernhard Langer, a multiple Champions Tour winner who fired a seven-under 64 and made 10 birdies, the most in the field thus far. However, keeping him out of the lead was the three bogeys the he suffered, one on the front nine and two more on the back nine, including one at the par-5 18th to close out his round.

Kevin Sutherland is currently two shots behind Langer, and there are four players ties for fourth place at four-under.