NAPLES, Fla. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III and Brandt Snedeker shot a 10-under 62 on Friday in modified alternate-shot play to take the first-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Love said everyone on the U.S. team wanted to play with Snedeker, a captain’s pick, so he took that advice this week.
“That’s why I was so excited to play with him, because I knew it would be fun and comfortable,” Love said.
Love and Snedeker made 10 birdies for the lowest score in the modified alternate-shot format in the 24-year-old tournament’s 12 years in Naples. They tied the third-lowest score overall.
“For the first time in my career, I got to feel like what it’s like to be Davis Love, to hit from some of his tee shots, and hit from some of his beautiful iron shots on these par 3s, and realize how the game is supposed to be played,” Snedeker said.
Kenny Perry and Sean O’Hair were two strokes back on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort’s Tiburon Golf Club.
“In this format, both players have got to play well,” O’Hair said.
Perry was thankful O’Hair saved him after a couple of poor chip shots.
“I didn’t realize how long he was,” Perry said. “I used to hit it kind of close to him, and now I realize I need to be staying on the Champions Tour after how far he hits it. I was just stunned.”
The teams of Bud Cauley and Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner and Vijay Singh, and Charles Howell III and Rory Sabbatini were third at 6 under. Defending champions Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele and 2010 winners Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter, and Stewart Cink and Carl Pettersson followed at 5 under.
The 12 teams will play best ball Saturday, then closed the Greg Norman-hosted event with a scramble Sunday.
Love made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 1, and a 30-footer on No. 3.
“Momentum really jump-started,” Snedeker said.
The two followed with three straight on Nos. 6-8, then added birdies on Nos. 10, 12, 14, 15 and 17.
“We both played well and both made a few putts, but we both drove it well,” Love said. “I think that was the key. We were picking which drive on every hole we wanted to use rather than one guy being out of the hole and struggling.”
Dubai Ladies Masters
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates China’s Shanshan Feng shot a 5-under 67 to take a five-stroke lead into the final round of the Dubai Ladies Masters.
Feng, the LPGA Championship winner in June, closed with three straight birdies for a tournament-record 198 total after three rounds at the Ladies European Tour’s season-ending event.
“I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I made some birdies and had quite a comeback on the last three holes,” Feng said. “I’ve done pretty well for three days so I’m going to stick to the same game plan. I’m still confident.”
Dewi Claire Schreefel was in second place at 203 after a course-record 63 at Emirates Golf Club. The Dutchwoman had nine birdies, including four on her last four holes.
“That was the best round of my career,” Schreefel said. “They come along every once in a while and I feel another good round under par is definitely possible.”
Gwladys Nocera (68) was third at 204, with Cindy Lacrosse (69) and Caroline Masson (69) another shot back.
Defending champion Lexi Thompson (72) had two birdies and two bogeys and was at 209.
“It was frustrating. I didn’t hit the ball bad, just didn’t make anything,” the American teenager said. “A few misreads with the putter, but it’s been like that all week.”
Michelle Wie (70) was 15 shots off the pace. Carlota Ciganda, who leads the Order of Merit ahead of Masson, shot a 73 for 211.
CHON BURI, Thailand Charl Schwartzel increased his lead to four strokes at the Thailand Golf Championship with a second straight 7-under 65.
Schwartzel was at 14-under 130 after the second round at the Amata Spring Country Club, where play was delayed due to bad light. Daniel Chopra moved into second place (67), one stroke ahead of Masanori Kobayashi (67).
“I seem to play better on courses which are narrower,” said Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion. “I concentrate better and better and I’m just hitting pretty good off the tee and giving myself good chances.
“I’ve put two great rounds together. I hit the ball really nice and gave myself a lot of chances.”
Chopra took over second place with a second straight 67.
“I wasn’t quite sure how my body was going to react with the jet lag and all that, but I woke up just before my alarm and came out here and warmed up in the dark and off I went,” Chopra said. “I birdied the first hole and it was easy after that.”
Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa (66) moved up the leaderboard into fourth, two strokes ahead of 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson (70), Sergio Garcia (69) and Scott Hend (68).
SYDNEY Marcus Fraser of Australia shot a second consecutive 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Australian Open on Friday.
Fraser had five birdies and two bogeys to move to 6-under 138 at The Lakes. Fellow Australians Brendan Jones (71) and first-round leader John Senden (73) were tied for second.
Englishman Justin Rose was in a group tied for fifth at 3-under after a 73, while Adam Scott shot 71 and was five strokes behind Fraser.
Tom Watson shot a 68 Friday after his first-round 78 and made the cut with one stroke to spare. He was joined by playing partner and defending champion Greg Chalmers, who shot 75 Friday.
“I hate missing cuts, I really do,” said Watson. “That means you've failed.”
Chalmers said he would be hard-pressed to win his third national Open after failing to capitalize on good scoring conditions in the morning.
“Three par-5s on the back nine and I bogeyed two of them. That's not going to work if you want to have a good score out here,” he said.
“I guess I'm going to get to play on the weekend so I get to go out and shoot a low score, but certainly I'm probably going to start a long way back.”
Fellow two-time champion Robert Allenby (6-over) didn't qualify after a 77, nor did new U.S. PGA Tour card winner Steven Bowditch (9-over) after a 76.
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur who will play in next year's U.S. Masters, improved on his opening 82 to shoot 70 Friday, but also missed the cut.
Fraser is playing for the seventh consecutive week – in his seventh country. He'll travel to Malaysia next week to see if he can win the Asian Tour money title – he is currently second – making it eight tournaments in a row.
His grueling late-season schedule began in Malaysia in late September followed by China (the HSBC tournament), the Singapore Open, the Hong Kong Open, the European Tour's championship in Dubai, then a failed attempt to secure a 2013 U.S. PGA Tour card in California last week.
On Thursday, Fraser was 3-over after 10 holes but staged a remarkable turnaround – he birdied Nos. 11-14, then holed his tee shot at the par-3 15th for an ace.
“To have one go in like that, it turned the round and the tournament around from where I was,” Fraser said.
And he's keen to go even better on the weekend.
“I've been playing so much I feel like I'm going with the flow a little bit,” Fraser said. “Playing week-in, week-out you're going through the same routine every day and it feels like another golf tournament. At the same time it is the Aussie Open. Definitely it's the pick of the bunch of the eight weeks for me.”