THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Sure enough, putting was all the rage Thursday in the World Challenge.
One day after golf’s governing bodies proposed a new rule that will ban the anchored stroke used for long putters, Keegan Bradley talked about someone on Twitter telling the PGA champion to send in his resume to Burger King in 2016, when the rule goes into effect. Bradley got so fed up with the teasing over his belly putter this week that he grabbed Tiger Woods’ putter and made three out of four from 10 feet.
The rule doesn’t affect Nick Watney, though he couldn’t say enough about his putting. He made five birdies on his last 10 holes — including his first birdie ever on the 14th hole at Sherwood — for a 5-under 67 that gave him a two-shot lead.
Woods’ putting saved his round, even though most of them were for par. That included a 12-foot putt on the 15th and an 8-footer to avoid bogey on the par-5 16th. It added up to a 70, which left him very much in the hunt at an 18-man event where he is more than just a tournament host. Without a title sponsor, Woods is underwriting most of the cost.
And yes, even Steve Stricker made news Thursday with his putter. He tried a new one.
“Midlife crisis,” he said.
The World Challenge is not a hit-and-giggle at the end of the year, even with a short field, no cut and lots of holiday cash for all involved. The field is stronger than ever, with 13 players from the Ryder Cup, and it showed in the scores. On a cool, overcast day in the Conejo Valley, only eight shots separated the top (Watney) from Brandt Snedeker, bringing up the rear with a 75.
Snedeker drilled a fairway metal into 8 feet and made eagle on the 11th hole, only for his round to fall apart. He hit two provisional tee shots on the par-3 12th, didn’t have to use them but still made bogey, and then he snap-hooked his next tee shot and made double bogey.
Haas stumbles late,
tied for lead at Nedbank
SUN CITY, South Africa — Bill Haas bogeyed two of the last three holes in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to slip back into a share of the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.
Two shots ahead after the 15th hole, the American dropped strokes on 16 and 18 to match Colsaerts at 2-under 70 in the 12-player event at Gary Player Country Club.
Two-time defending champion Lee Westwood was a stroke back along with Paul Lawrie and South African star Louis Oosthuizen. Charl Schwartzel, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari and Carl Pettersson shot 72, Justin Rose had a 73, and Garth Mulroy was last at 75.
Haas’s father, Jay, was tied for second at 71 in the seniors’ Champions Challenge. Bernhard Langer topped the eight-man field at 68. Mark Calcavecchia also had a 71.
Kim leads by one
at PGA qualifying
LA QUINTA, Calif. — Meen Whee Kim shot a 9-under 63 on PGA West’s Stadium Course to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
Kim had a 13-under 131 total in the six-round event. The top 25 and ties will receive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards. Two-time tour winner Vaughn Taylor was second after a 64 on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course.
at LPGA qualifying
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.