Pat Perez leads Xander Schauffele by one shot at the CIMB Classic after opening rounds of 66-65. Perez is coming of a career year in 2016-2017 where he finished 15th in the FedEx Cup and earned over $4 million. He heads into the weekend looking to win a tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in his career. After Schauffele (-12), the next closest players are the trio of Cam Smith, Thomas Pieters and Sung Kang at 9 under. Full scores
Justin Thomas' chances of becoming the first player to win an event three years in a row since Steve Stricker are slim. The 24 year old superstar will need a herculean effort over the weekend, he sits ten shots back of Perez at 3 under par.
Heading into round two of the Italian Open, six players are tied for the lead at 7 under par. The group at the top includes defending champion and Italian golf legend Francesco Molinari as well as Eddie Pepperell and "The Big Unit" Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Some big names are lurking including Alex Noren (-5), Jon Rahm (-4) and Martin Kaymer (-3). Round two is underway, follow live scoring.
Just the two of us
The U.S. Mid Am is down to the final two players, Josh Nichols and Matt Parziale. The pair will duke it out over 36 holes of match play for the crown as America's best working amateur golfer. The title will earn the winner a spot in the Masters, U.S. Open and exemptions into all USGA Amateur events for a few years.
Nichols is a 26 year old from North Carolina who played his college golf at Appalachian State who works as a wedding caterer. The 30 year old Parziale lives in Brockton, Massachusetts and is a firefighter. Unfortunately the final won't be televised this year with Fox cutting the event from their broadcast schedule. Follow the 36 hole final online here.
On the skillet*: Sand Hills Golf Club - 18th - 467 yards - par 4
Sand Hills Golf Club is a course that tests a player's appetite for risk on every hole. It's final examination comes in dramatic fashion with the memorable long par 4 18th.
From the tee: Two 30' fairway bunkers rest on the left side of the hole and carry an intimidating presence. The fairway spans nearly 70 yards and gives players plenty of space but forces a decision, left or right. The heroic play up the left side yields a shorter approach with a better angle to the green. The safe play is up the right side but leads to a longer approach shot to a green that runs away from players. Miss a little too far right and a bunker or native grasses add another level of difficulty for timid play.
Approaching the green: Elevated high and above the fairway it's semi-blind nature brings added challenge. The green orients and rewards approach shots from the left side of the fairway. It also slopes from right to left, adding more reward for finding the left side. For every yard off the aggressive left line a player goes, the more difficult their approach shot becomes.
The strategy of the 18th is simple but brilliant. The aspect which makes Sand Hills version so special is how Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw use tremendous scale to intimidate and create an interesting long par 4.
**Coore & Crenshaw created a similar hole, the 15th at Streamsong's Red Course.**
* “On the skillet” is a new segment I am trying out for the Friday newsletter, I will break down a spectacular golf hole and explain what makes it great. Please let me know if you like this feature, if you like it in the newsletter or would prefer it as a linked article on the site.
Yin leads by two on the LPGA Tour.
3 are tied for the lead at the Olympic Course on the Latin America Tour
Greg Norman’s Rocky-esque montage.