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« 2012 Northern Trust Open 3rd Round Comment Thread | Main | "AK...It's Chris Paul...Chhhhrriss Paul...AK? Chris Paul?!" »

2012 Northern Trust Open, Round 2 This And That

DJ tees off on No. 9 (click to enlarge)Another gorgeous day brought out the best weekday crowd in years, including a noticeably younger set than in recent years.

Still a ways to go to catch up to the tournament's heyday in the 90s, but the spike is a tribute to the organizer's increased local golf course outreach, several ticket offers including one for UCLA folks, improved social media efforts and I have to think, the tour's new cell phone policy.

If you heard the roar after Phil's hole-out on No. 8, it was a vivid reminder of just how energetic golf viewing can be, especially at an intimate tournament course like Riviera.

As for Friday's second round...

Luke Donald approaches the 12th Friday (click to enlarge)--With all due respect to my colleagues who think fans only come out to watch players hit the ball 300+ yards, I eavesdropped on two different conversations where the fans were seeking out the chance to see the "No. 1 golfer in the world." So yes, Luke Donald is as much or more of a draw for some fans than the bombers. And I'm still not convinced that more than 5% of the crowd could tell the difference between a 285-yard tee shot and a 320-yard drive.

--Phil is the story and it's hard to see that changing the way he's playing, especially considering his recent record at Riviera. But as Mark Lamport-Stokes notes, it'd be terrific to see Jarrod Lyle (-4) continue his good play and contend in a tour event. Here's a little on his background if you don't know his story.

--The absurdly fun-to-watch short par-4 10th featured a back-left hole location and too many wild moments to list, but Doug Ferguson captured the best:

Even with the hole location toward the back right of the green, players tried to drive the green. Rocco Mediate thought his shot was perfect, but it hopped into the front bunker and left him little hope. His next shot flew out of the sand, over the green and banged off a television tower, back into another bunker. He saved par.

"This is the coolest hole," Mediate said. "My favorite place."

10th hole ShotLink scatter chart thru 2 rounds (click to enlarge)--Watching the Rhodes Scholars of the PGA Tour struggle with the 10th over the first two days (4.078 scoring average...only 315 yards!!!) has me convinced that 80% of the field might not break 80 on a course with 18 genuinely strategic holes offering tempting options! Now, at least more guys layed-up short-left today and most of them made par or birdie. Though it was stunning to see the World No. 1 lay-up way too far right. It was not stunning to seem him to make par.

Second round highlights:

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Reader Comments (7)

Didn't know that about Jarrod Lyle - I'll follow his career more closely now. Do you really think that these guys would struggle to break 80 on an all-18 strategic design? After all, using the 10th hole scoring average of +.078 for 18 holes on a par 72 layout translates to a 73.4. Of course not all the holes would be this relatively short and the challenges would be different, so it's a fascinating thought. I think, though, that the touring pros are good enough that if they were forced to rely on thinking and shotmaking they could. Today's designs have and emphasis on length have really dumbed down the sport. How do you think Merion will hold up next year?
02.18.2012 | Unregistered Commenterwide right
@ "Phil is the story"

No doubt, but PM has to get his driver under control so he can increase his GIR%. He has to have more birdie opportunies. He can't survive RCC this weekend by hitting only 50% of the GIR. ...... "Dogs chasing cars and Pros chipping for pars." But what a great media frenzy for the TOUR if he wins back-to-back this early in the year.
02.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheProfromDover
A little off subject here but did anyone see the shots Rickie Fowler and Rickie Barnes hit on #6 yesterday? Both had to use incredible imagination by playing pitches(Barnes was on green) off the sidehill off the green and pulled off amazing shots. The theory that the young kids have no imagination or are not shotmakers was proven false with these two. It was cool to see their reactions too, as they were definitely having fun. Fowler's attitude is absolutely so refreshing and so good for the junior golfers to see. Really hope he wins soon as I think his style and attitude is great for the game.
02.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin
Totally agree about Fowler, Kevin. It would be interesting to see courses which brought those skills into play more often. I live near Merion and I'm wondering about how it will hold up.
02.18.2012 | Unregistered Commenterwide right
Ricky Barnes ain't a kid no more. :) He's got piles of game though - which he likely the reason why he shows up on the Masters and US Open leaderboards so often the last few years.
@Kevin: I caught the Barnes chip on 6 on the replay last night, it was amazing and the announcers were ho-humming it considering how great it actually was.
02.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
looks like guys made a real choice today with the pin back---but i count as mant birdies from short left as from the lay up--and a lot more bogies from the layup.

So why isn't grip it and rip it --take bogey out of play---the right idea??
02.18.2012 | Unregistered Commentersmails

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