SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. — San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski took the lead with 25 points, and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer was at 24 points after the first round of the American Century Championship on Friday.
Twelve players were within seven points of Pavelski in the modified Stableford scoring event, including baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz (21), Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry (18), former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (18), Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum (18) and actor Alfonso Ribeiro (18).
The scoring system awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-two for double bogey or worse.
Pavelski, who has spent his entire 12-year NHL career with San Jose, is making his third appearance in the event. He finished 10th in 2016 and tied for 12th in 2017.
Three-time defending champion Mark Mulder finished eagle-birdie-birdie, worth 12 points, and was in a group at 16 along with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Charles Barkley, a fan favorite, was in his usual spot, alone in last place among the field of 92 with minus-34 points.
Vintage grad McCarron two strokes back in Illinois
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Scott Parel walked off the course thinking somebody would overtake him. Instead, he’s halfway to his first PGA Tour Champions victory — and it happens to be a major.
Parel grabbed a one-stroke lead in the Constellation Senior Players Championship, shooting a 6-under 66 in Friday’s second round to reach 11 under.
The 53-year-old Parel made seven birdies after starting the day two shots off the lead.
“I’ve been playing good golf, right there in contention a lot of times,” he said. “And that helps. The more you’re up there, the more comfortable you are. If you do it once every few weeks, then maybe you get a little bit uncomfortable. But I feel good right now.”
Parel remained in the lead when Jeff Maggert three-putted from about 15 feet to bogey the par-4 18th. That left Maggert (68) tied with Brandt Jobe (67) at 10 under in the fourth of five majors on the tour’s schedule.
Three-time champion Bernhard Langer (67), defending champion Scott McCarron (68), Kenny Perry (70) and Vijay Singh (67) were in a pack two strokes off the lead. Illinois coach Mike Small shot 71 and was three shots back.
This is just the second time Parel has led after a round in a PGA Tour Champions event. He shared the first-round lead at the 2017 Chubb Classic before finishing tied for 10th.
Parel did not play in college at Georgia, and worked in computers for 10 years before turning pro. He missed the cut in four of his five career PGA Tour starts. On the over-50 tour, he has 13 top-10 finishes in 52 starts. That includes ties for second at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic near Atlanta in April and Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, last month.
Parel pulled ahead even though he was a bit off target with his driver. He finished with a birdie on 18.
“I think if the conditions stay the same, you’re going to have to shoot the same kind of scores that I’ve shot the last two days to have a chance to win,” he said. “The course is in perfect shape. The greens are perfect, makeable speed and smooth. So guys are going to make a lot of birdies out here.”
Maggert holed out from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-5 15th and reach 11 under. But he finished the round on a sour note, with that bogey on 18 after he gave himself a chance to birdie the hole.
“Trying to leave it below the hole there is a premium, and I just got a little too far above, and the putt trickled by a little bit,” he said. “The greens were a little bouncier and choppier this afternoon late in the day with all the traffic from the morning rounds. Anyway, putting feels pretty good, so I’m not worried about it.”
McCarron bogeyed three holes, including the 18th. In the Senior Players at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year, he overcame a six-shot deficit to beat Langer and Jobe by a stroke.
McCarron is facing surgery at the end of the season to repair a tendon running through his right ankle. It’s been bothering him for about a year and a half, though he said it hasn’t impacted his game.
He came into this event with seven top-10 finishes on the season and a victory last month at the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. McCarron then tied for 52nd at the U.S. Senior Open in Colorado Springs.
“I’m playing decent,” McCarron said. “Just made a few too many mistakes today, especially the last hole. But I’m hitting a lot of good shots, and I’m putting pretty well. I like this golf course, so I’m certainly in the mix going into the weekend, which is where you’ve got to be. I mean, you can’t go out and win the tournament the first two days, but I’ve certainly put myself in a good position.”
The 52-year-old Small has never won on the PGA Tour Champions. He is not a tour member and made the field because he performed well over three events where he received sponsors’ exemptions. He began the day tied with Perry for the lead and remains in contention.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I had more hard putts today. Yesterday, I hit it in spots where you can make putts, and these greens are very difficult from that point of view. If you hit it in the correct spots, you can make putts here all day long. But if you just get a foot or two on the other side of that, they’re hard to read and they’re fast and you’re playing defensively.”
Kim leads weather-delayed John Deere Classic
SILVIS, Illinois — Michael Kim took a four-shot lead Friday at the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities, which was suspended twice because of weather concerns.
Kim, who is winless in 84 career PGA Tour starts, was 16 under through 35 holes, with the second round to be completed Saturday morning.
Kim birdied eight of his first 14 holes without a bogey to race past first-round leader Steve Wheatcroft, who shot 68. Wheatcroft was 12 under along with David Hearn (64) and Johnson Wagner (66).
Francesco Molinari was 11 under along with Matt Jones and Bronson Burgoon, who made two eagles on Friday and was 8 under for the round with three holes to play.
The 24-year-old Kim, a former standout at Cal, Kim, pushed his lead to three shots by hitting a wedge from 111 yards to within 5 feet for birdie on the par-4 13th.
Kim, who had missed the cut in 14 of 22 starts this season, followed that up with a 13-footer for birdie on the par-4 14th.
Hearn has had an up-and-down year, missing eight cuts. But his irons have been dialed in at TPC Deere Run. He birdied three of the four par-3s on Friday.
“I think I just have good feelings around this golf course. I’ve always enjoyed playing it. I am putting the ball in play off the tee, which isn’t as hard here as some of the other golf courses we play. But when I am doing that, I’m giving myself good chances for birdie,” Hearn said. “The putter has been hot.”
Wheatcroft, who led on Thursday after the best round of his career, made three bogeys on his back nine. But he’s still in position for his first top-10 finish of the season.
“Just need to tighten things up a little bit, and hopefully a good night of rest and get hydrated here and we’ll come back out (Saturday),” Wheatcroft said.
Molinari got his first official PGA Tour win two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National outside Washington, and the Italian continued his strong play at TPC Deere Run with rounds of 6-under and 5-under.
Renowned for his ball-striking, Molinari hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation both Thursday and Friday.
“I’m happy, yeah. The game is still there. I think I can hit my irons a little bit better, especially the wedges. (Thursday) and (Friday have) been OK, but not great, so there is room for improvement,” Molinari said.
Local favorite Zach Johnson, who won at the Quad Cities in 2012 and has seven top-5 finishes at TPC Deere Run, shot a 70 to move to 3-under, just inside the projected cut line.
Friday’s round was delayed by nearly an hour because of poor weather. It was resumed and then called because of another batch of storms that descended on the area.
Rock on top at Scottish Open
GULLANE, Scotland — Robert Rock was already heading to Carnoustie next week to work at the British Open in a coaching capacity.
He might now have to take his clubs.
Rock, ranked No. 244, set the record for the lowest 36-hole total since the Scottish Open was launched by the European Tour in 1972, adding a 7-under 63 in the second round Friday to his 64 on Day 1. So far, he has made 13 birdies and not dropped a shot.
Not only did it give the English golfer a two-shot lead on 13-under 127 at Gullane, it also gave him a great chance of earning one of the final qualification spots for the British Open just up the east coast of Scotland.
“It’s everything for me,” Rock said.
On a day when players shot low scores because of a lack of wind, the course record was broken twice — by Connor Syme of Scotland (62) and then Hideto Tanihara of Japan (61). The layout has only been played once before, at the Scottish Open in 2015.
Tyrrell Hatton (64) and unheralded Swede Jens Dantorp (65) were the closest challengers to Rock. Eddie Pepperell (63) and Rickie Fowler (66), the winner at Gullane three years ago, were a shot further back.
One of golf’s more nattily dressed players, Rock is most famous for overcoming Tiger Woods in a last-group, final-round shootout at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in 2012. That remains the second and most recent professional win for a player who never wears a golf hat and seemingly never has a hair out of place.
Nowadays, the 41-year-old Rock — a former club pro — has started coaching again. Among his part-time pupils are Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and up-and-coming English player Matt Wallace, whose two wins this year have secured a place at the Open for the first time.
“My job is to be there with him (Wallace) and help him prepare. I was looking forward to that anyway,” Rock said, before adding with a smile: “But I’d love to play there, of course.”
To do that, he has to be one of the leading three players to finish in the top 10 and ties who are not otherwise exempt for Carnoustie. And that’s far from guaranteed with Gullane as defenseless as it has been this week.
Hatton, likely to be in Europe’s Ryder Cup team against the United States in Paris in September, opened with a 65 and has only made one bogey this week.
Dantorp, who is playing in his second full year on the tour and has only one top-10 finish, went down No. 18 needing a birdie to tie the lead. He made a bogey, his first of the week.
Tanihara was 9 under par for his round after 15 holes and required two more birdies to become the first player in European Tour history to shoot a 59. He could only par his way home, but that still meant Syme’s 62 from the morning was the course record for about eight hours.
Defending champion Rafa Cabrera Bello missed the cut, which came at 4 under, after a 67 left him on 1 under. Also sidelined at the weekend will be Phil Mickelson (69, for 1 under overall) and Hideki Matsuyama (70, for 2 under overall).