Saturday, April 15, 2017

Luke Donald sharing Heritage lead, Ian Poulter T3, Russell Knox T10

HILTON HEAD, South Carolina  – News and notes from Friday’s second round of the RBC Heritage where Graham DeLaet and Luke Donald surged their way into the lead at 10 under.
DeLaet is chasing a maiden PGA TOUR win while Donald is looking to finally break through at Hilton Head after six top-3 finishes without victory.
They have a two shot buffer at the top. Click here for a full recap in the Daily Wrap-up.


Graham DeLaet has always loved Harbour Town Golf Links – even though it had beaten him up on most occasions.
The Canadian missed two of his first four cuts at the RBC Heritage and had a high finish of T44 in 2012 until last year when his performance finally matched up with his love for the course.
His T14 finish may not have threatened the leaders but it gave the 2013 Presidents Cup player a sense of confidence at the course.
As such he’d been counting down the days for a return and with rounds of 65-67 now takes a share of the 36-hole lead to the weekend.
“I think last year was that little bit of the confidence I needed. Out here you have to use your imagination so much,” DeLaet said.
“You have to hit it in the right side of the fairway. And even from the fairway sometimes you have to work the ball to get it in the middle of the green. And it's just a lot of fun.
“There's not many like it. I think Riviera and Colonial and this place are kind of the three that I really love because it's precision golf, it really is. It's not the guys who bomb it the longest and can just gouge it out of the rough from 80 yards.”
DeLaet has long been searching for a maiden PGA TOUR title. He’s been runner-up three times and third a further three times. This is his 160th start on TOUR.
He says patience will be the key this weekend.
“Trust me, I want nothing more than to get a win…” he said.
“It's kind of the only thing missing on my résumé I feel out here. I want it. But I just have to keep playing good golf for the next couple of days, and hopefully that will take care of it.”



When Ian Poulter’s back is against the wall he comes out fighting hard.
Countless times in match play scenarios the Englishman’s bulldog spirit has shone through and he’s come up clutch.
Heading to the RBC Heritage the 41-year-old had just two starts left on his major medical extension and he still requires either 117.745 FedExCup points or $144,669 to satisfy his conditions.
A top 10 finish this week at Harbour Town would almost certainly earn him enough money with a start to spare.
So his 66-68 start to sit at 8 under in a tie for third has certainly given him a great chance… not that the two-time PGA TOUR winner is focused on it.
“I'm not thinking about it, that's how I'm handling it. I just want to go out and play golf,” he said.
“Thinking about it is obviously not going to help. If I try and win this golf tournament and hit good golf shots, and connect to every single shot I play, then I would think I'm going to be good enough.
“I have to clear my mind. I've got to put everything else away so I can concentrate on my golf and try to win this golf tournament.”


Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson backed up his opening round 66 with a solid 68 on Friday to sit just two shots back of the lead.
It has been a tale of two nines for Simpson who finished with five straight birdies from the 5th to the 9th on Thursday at Harbour Town.
He has played the front nine holes in 7-under and the back nine holes in just 1-under over the two days.
Simpson has four PGA TOUR titles but his last came back in October of 2013 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
He went close in February this year, losing in a playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open against Hideki Matsuyama, leaving him sitting 37th in the FedExCup race.
“Anytime you can put yourself in somewhat of contention going into Saturday is a good thing. I feel comfortable around this golf course. I’ve played here a long time,” Simpson said.

“What was good about Phoenix is I had a chance to win a golf tournament. So I had a couple putts to win. So it gave me those feelings again of what it feels like to hit shots under pressure when it matters.
“I feel like the game has struggled since Phoenix until this week. But it does feel similar to Phoenix, I will say that.”

par 142 (2x71)
132 G DeLaet (Canada) 65 67, L Donald (England) 65 67
134 I Poulter (Englanld) 64 68, W Simpson (USA) 66 68

136 R Knox (Scotland) 70 66 (T10)
137 T Hatton (England) 69 68  (T 16)
139 M Laird (Scotland) 69 70, A Johnston (England) 68 71 (T32)
140 G McDowell (N Ireland) 72 68 (T47)
141 S Lowry (Ireland) 66 75 (T63)

145 M Fitzpatrick (England) 73 72
149 D Willett (England) 71 78





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