Sport Branden Grace sets pace at Valero Texas Open

06:22  21 april  2017
06:22  21 april  2017 Source:   USA TODAY SPORTS

Tony Finau, Bud Cauley tied for lead at Texas Open

  Tony Finau, Bud Cauley tied for lead at Texas Open Tony Finau arrived at the 18th tee with a chance at a course record, but his approach splashed in the water and his bogey dropped him into a second-round tie for the lead with Bud Cauley at the Valero Texas Open on Friday. A birdie at the par-5 final hole would have given Finau a share of the course record, but he settled for a 7-under 65 and is tied with Cauley at 8 under through 36 holes at TPC San Antonio.Ian Poulter, Europe's Ryder Cup star, missed the cut and lost his fully exempt status on the PGA Tour.

The newest PGA TOUR winner, Branden Grace , is among the marquee players who will be in the spotlight in the Featured Groups on PGA TOUR LIVE this week at the Valero Texas Open . PGA TOUR LIVE coverage of the 2016 Valero Texas Open .

Branden Grace . PGA Tour 2017 Summary. Sony Open . Jan 12 - jan 15, 2017. SBS Tournament of Champions.

The usually rugged TPC San Antonio was vulnerable at Thursday’s outset of the Valero Texas Open, with overcast skies, little wind and soft greens a pleasing trio for the players in the morning wave.

The pleasant conditions didn’t last long.

And they aren’t expected to return the rest of the tournament.

“The ball was pretty easy to control,” said Patrick Reed, who finished runner-up to Charley Hoffman last year, after shooting 3-under-par 69. “The only thing is there’s still a little bit of mud getting on the golf balls. But the good thing, I only had one, two mud balls which I was able to kind of control and really the two mud balls I had were actually two of my better shots of the day.

Chappell leads by one stroke after 3 rounds of Texas Open

  Chappell leads by one stroke after 3 rounds of Texas Open Kevin Chappell birdied three of his final five holes and took a step closer to his first PGA Tour victory with a 1-under 71 on Saturday, giving him a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Valero Texas Open. He is 8-under through 54 holes. He was runnerup six years ago in the event and is ahead of first-round leader Branden Grace, who rallied with 2-under 70, and John Huh. After an eagle-birdie finish, Huh shot 71.RELATED:  Leaderboard"It was about finding a rhythm," Chappell said. "I knew when I found it, I could extend it. You can get it going on the finishing stretch.

Luke Donald enters the Valero Texas Open after a second-place finish at the RBC Heritage. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images). Brendan Steele Charley Hoffman Branden Grace Kevin Chappell. Ryan Moore Luke List. PROJECTED WINNER.

Valero Texas Open Featured Groupings (all times local). Thursday, April 21. 1:00 p.m., No. 1 tee (Friday – 7:50 a.m., No. 10 tee): Branden Grace – Brandt Snedeker – Patrick Reed. Friday, April 22.

“As the sun is out like it is now, it will bake out (the course) and get warmer and firmer and faster as the week goes on.”

As Reed said, the sun rolled in around noon, turning the course’s difficulty up a notch. And plenty of wind is expected to blow into the area, which could bring the course’s teeth into play.

No one took advantage of the ideal conditions more than Branden Grace, who set the pace with a 66 that included seven birdies. He led Will MacKenzie, Brian Gay, Stewart Cink and John Huh by one. In a large group at 68 were Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell. Among those joining Reed at 69 were Kevin Chappell, Geoff Ogilvy and Jamie Lovemark.

“I think I missed four greens the whole day and only one fairway. Ball-striking is definitely on today. I gave myself some nice chances out there,” said Grace, who has finished seventh and 13th in his other two Valero appearances. “It’s nice to make seven birdies. That’s the one round I was waiting for. You know, I’ve been shooting the 69s and 70s but not getting that one low round.

Poulter says all is not lost after losing tour status

  Poulter says all is not lost after losing tour status Britain's Ian Poulter says his career is far from over despite losing his playing status on the US PGA Tour after a poor showing at the Texas Open. The 41-year-old Englishman was in the 10th and final event of a major medical exemption due to foot arthritis that sidelined him most of last season, needing a top-35 effort to win the $30,624 he needed to sustain playing rights. But after an opening 75, Poulter fired a 71 on Friday to stand on two-over 146, two strokes beyond the projected cut line and certain of his fate once second-round play ended.

Golf Valero Texas Open - Bet on sports online with the best odds, bet types and top offers at Betrally! Branden Grace .

Jimmy Walker heads to San Antonio to defend his crown at the Valero Texas Open .

“This is nice to finally get it.”

Grace, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 10 in the world last year, has fallen to No. 21. But he likes where his game is at right now and where it is heading. Two weeks ago, he made the cut in the Masters for just the second time in his career and finished in a tie for 27th. Last week in the RBC Heritage, where he was defending champion, he closed with a 68 to finish in a tie for 11th.

“I felt my game is coming on from Augusta. I made the cut which, for me, was a big thing. I had a good week,” Grace said. “I played well the whole of last week, didn’t make the putts when I needed to but the game is progressing nicely and I do like this place, that’s why I’m back here. I played well here in the past. So, hopefully I can get a few better this time around.”

Reed, who bogeyed two of his last three holes, said his game in trending in the right direction, too. In his last 14 starts worldwide, he had only two top-10s as he battled health problems and equipment issues. Those, he said, have passed.

“The game feels good,” he said. “Need to keep on plugging along and make some more birdies. Anytime you come out here you start out shooting in the 60s in any tournament you start at, you got to be happy. But I need to take positives from today and kind of forget the last three holes.

“All in all, it was a really solid day. Lot better than it’s been so far this year. I felt coming into this week that I got the equipment where I needed to and felt like the game was going in the right direction. My wife and I drew a line after last event and said all right, first quarter is over, let’s go and get started and this is a great way to start. Felt like I finally had control of the golf ball, had control of what I was trying to do and that’s all I can ask for.”

Zurich Classic’s team format adds intrigue to the PGA Tour’s post-Masters slate .
To stand out from the crowd in this “Masters hangover” portion of the PGA Tour schedule, the Zurich Classic moved to a two-man team format. As a result, players are reinvigorated to show up and compete, and the tournament has been infused with energy. Strike up the jazz band. Consider this: Post-Masters, only one top-15 player from the Official World Golf Ranking teed it up between the RBC Heritage and Valero Texas Open (that being No. 15 Patrick Reed, who played in San Antonio).

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