Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jimmy Gunn makes the Mexico cut with two

71s for 142

LEON, Mexico – Sepp Straka slept on a share of the 18-hole lead after opening with a 7-under 65 on Thursday afternoon. The 23-year-old from Vienna, Austria carded a second-round, 2-under 70 on Friday morning, and grabbed the outright lead after 36 holes of the El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova. His 9-under-par 135 total places him one stroke ahead of Denny McCarthy and Sebastian Munoz heading into the weekend.
Two back, in a tie for fourth, are Taylor Moore, Matt Atkins and Michael Hebert.
In his rookie season on the Tour, Straka has gotten off to a rocky start. Entering this week, the former University of Georgia standout has made three cuts in six starts, with his best performance, a T48, coming at the Club Colombia Championship by Servientrega.
“I definitely started off the season not hitting the ball very well,” said Straka, who is currently No. 107 on the money list. “I struggled in the Bahamas because of the wind. I feel like things are starting to click and I’m hitting the ball better.”
Straka had a great chance to break through last week at the United Leasing & Finance Championship, where he started the final round two shots outside the top 10. Victoria National Golf Club was playing difficult on Sunday, and Straka was one of many casualties.
“I had a bad round last Sunday,” said Straka, about his final-round 81 that dropped him into a tie for 50th. “I know my game is in a good spot and I just tried to come in here with confidence and try and execute my game plan.”
Halfway leader Sepp Straka comments after Round 2 of El Bosque
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    Halfway leader Sepp Straka comments after Round 2 of El Bosque

El Bosque Country Club has been described by many players as a tricky layout. The Steve Newgent design is a mainstay in the top-10 toughest courses on Tour. Whether it’s the wind or the elevation, the course demands your best. Friday’s weather called for high winds, causing El Bosque to play a stroke harder than it did in the first round.
“Today was a lot tougher than yesterday,” said Straka, about the blustery conditions. “The wind picked up a good amount. It would pick up and drop down, so you must figure out the wind right before you hit the ball, which is kind of hard.”
Straka has certainly brought his A-game this week. Through 36 holes, he has amassed 13 birdies, four bogeys, an eagle and a double bogey, which was the result of a four-putt. The costly two-stroke mistake came on his second hole of the second round. Each time Straka has dropped a stroke or two this week, he has responded with a flurry of birdies, like the three he made coming in to post 9-under-par, after bogeys on holes 3 and 4.
“I’ve been good mentally,” said Straka, who has never led after 36 holes on Tour. “I’m sticking in rounds regardless of if I’m under or over par. Just sticking with it and keep grinding away.”
McCarthy was one of three players with a bogey-free round on Friday. The 23-year-old University of Virginia grad missed the cut last week in Indiana but has played well in the adverse conditions. After the round, McCarthy echoed Straka’s thoughts on El Bosque.
“It’s pretty tricky out there,” said McCarthy. “There were some tough flags today. There are a lot of ways to play this golf course, but you have to stick to your game plan and be really patient. Sometimes hitting it to 30 feet is okay out here.”
Friday Notes:
* Friday weather: Mostly sunny, High: 83, Low: 58, Winds: SW/WSW 15-20 mph with gusts of 25 mph.
* This week’s purse is $650,000, with $117,000 going to the champion.
* The cut came at even-par 144, with 66 players advancing to the weekend. Jimmy Gunn from Dornoch made the cut with two rounds of 71 for 142. He is T36.





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