Dustin Johnson fired a 8 under 63 in the second round of the WGC HSBC to pull one shot ahead of Brooks Koepka. The pair of bombers have created some distance from the rest of the field heading into the final two rounds. Johnson (-13) sits four shots better than third place Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Full scores
An even split
The WGC events are a great measuring stick for the potential Ryder Cup teams with most of America and Europe's best teeing it up. Outside of Thailand's Aphibarnrat, the eleven players in t10th or better are all American or European. In fact, it's an even split, America's five are Johnson, Koepka, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Brian Harman. Europe's five include likely Ryder Cuppers, Rose, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Henrik Stenson, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Tyrrell Hatton.
On the skillet: Oak Park C.C. - 5th hole - 414 yards
Donald Ross is famous for maximizing the natural features on his design sites. One fine example can be found at Oak Park Country Club. At Oak Park, Ross built the fifth hole around a small, narrow creek to create one of his more memorable and interesting par 4s.
Off the tee players, the creek presents several options and questions because of its meandering nature. As you can see, the creek cuts diagonally across the fairway, before running down the left side and juts back across again. The creek forces you to decide to layup or go for it. The layup calls for about a 250 yard tee shot or shorter to setup a mid-iron approach to the green. From the back tee, it’s a 285 yard carry. As a result, the bold play over the creek is an option only for the long hitter.
Layup: Your ideal layup is up the left side. But the left-side layup isn’t riskless. If you leave your drive short or too-far to the left, you’ll run the risk of finding the water. A 245-265 yard shot on the left will yield an ideal angle to approach the elevated green and roughly 160-180 yards.
Playing safer to the right takes most of the risk out of the hole. But the right-side approach will yield a longer approach shot from a tough angle.
Going for it: Only a few can pull off this option (Chadd from Deer Park, JB Holmes, etc.). Going for it requires a 285 yard carry over the left part of the creek. The diagonal nature of the creek makes the carry longer the more right the tee shot ventures. The reward is a mere flip wedge. If you can pull off this drive, you’ll have an excellent birdie opportunity.
The green sits on a natural perch and rejects shots short. The green is very subtle with predominant slopes from back to front and left to right. Missing on the right side if much worse than left because of the natural land.
This creek plays a starring role at Oak Park CC's 5th hole even though it is merely 2 yards wide. In the Pro V1 era, most par 4s measuring around 400 yards require only a wedge approach. Ross' clever use of the creek ensures the integrity of the 5th remains, requiring a mid-iron approach for almost all.
Five players are tied for the lead at 6 under at the Sanderson Farms through one round. The group of leaders includes rookie Conrad Shindler, the statusless Wyndham Clark and second year players J.J. Spaun, Andrew Landry and Ryan Armour. They weren't alone in firing good scores, 32 players 3 under or better at the Country Club of Jackson. Full scores
Not just a hotel chain
After a standout collegiate career at Oklahoma State and Oregon, Wyndham Clark turned pro last summer. His prolific college career netted him five sponsor's exemptions but he struggled only making one cut. Without status, Clark ventured to Web.com Tour Q-School. Next week, Clark will be teeing it up at 2nd stage unless he nets a win at the Sanderson.
Playing from the same tees as the boys, Emily Nash won the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys' golf tournament. Her round of 75 was four shots better than the closest competitor and should have earned her a place in the State Championship. Unfortunately, it didn't. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) ruled that since it was a boy's championship, runner-up Nico Ciolino (not Nash) was the champion. As expected, this has caused quite the uproar, as it should. It's another example of golf and its inability to get past archaic rules, #growthegame.