MARTIN FLORES TAKES ONE-SHOT LEAD AT NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Second-Round Leaderboard

Pos. Name Score
1 Martin Flores 67-70—137 (-5)
2 Sam Saunders 70-68—138 (-4)
Rhein Gibson 70-68—138 (-4)
Roberto Castro 70-68—138 (-4)
Luke List 71-67—138 (-4)
6 Five players tied at 3-under 139

 

MARTIN FLORES TAKES ONE-SHOT LEAD AT NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Martin Flores watches his drive on the 13th hole during the second round of the Web.com Tour Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship at The Ohio State University Golf Club on September 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Columbus, Ohio – Martin Flores carded a second-round 1-under 70 and grabbed the lead after 36 holes of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals.  The 33-year-old Texan navigated the tough Scarlett Course at Ohio State University Golf Club and posted a 5-under 137 total, one shot ahead of Sam Saunders (68), Rhein Gibson (68), Roberto Castro (68) and Luke List (67).

Five players are at 3-under 138 including Tour rookie Zack Fischer (67) who made 10 birdies Friday afternoon.

Flores recorded nine consecutive pars to start his round and didn’t make a birdie until his 11th hole of the day. The 10-year-pro stayed positive, remained patient and never got too emotional on the course.

“I try to do a good job of keeping a good attitude,” said Flores, who has only three bogeys through 36 holes. “Sometimes it’s a struggle, but this game is tough sometimes.”

For the second straight day the PGA TOUR veteran found the fairway bunker off the tee on the par-4, 10th hole. Instead of trying to pull off the heroic shot, Flores took his medicine, blasted the ball back into play and settled for bogey. The former Oklahoma Sooner didn’t let the dropped shot get to him and went on to record three birdies en-route to a one-under round.

“Everybody has a battle within themselves of some kind when they play,” said Flores about the challenge of staying in it mentally. “It’s overcoming that battle and going out there and executing golf shots.”

Flores struggled this season on TOUR and failed to record a top-10 finish in 30 events for the first time in his career. Flores knows golf can be a humbling game and is trying to learn from his misfortunes in the hope of a breakthrough this week.

“Every year, if you don’t go out and prove yourself, you’re going to get beat up a little bit,” he said. “Sometimes you take a step back to take a couple of leaps forward.”

Gibson really got things going after making the turn on Friday. The 29-year-old Australian made five birdies coming in and posted a back-nine 31. Gibson is not afraid to go low, his 16-under-par 55 at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond, Okla. is recognized by the Guinness Book of World as the lowest round of all time. This week marks the first time Gibson has seen the Scarlett Course and he has enjoyed the challenge so far.

“I actually find tougher courses better for me,” said Gibson. “I like to grind when par is a good score.”

Castro arrived at the 18th hole one off the lead. The 30-year-old Georgia Tech alum didn’t appear to be in any trouble after his approach missed the green long. Castro flubbed a straightforward chip that left him 15 feet short of the hole, but drained the par putt and walked away with one of two mistake-free rounds on Friday.

“It’s just something my caddie and I talk about every once in a while,” said Castro about the blemish-free scorecard. “I just love playing bogey-free rounds.”

FRIDAY NOTES:

* Friday weather: Mostly sunny. Wind E 7-15 mph. High of 79.

* A total of 73 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 4-over 146.

* This is sixth time in the tournament’s nine-year history that the cut has been over par and it matches the highest cut of 4-over in the tournament’s inaugural year (2007).

* This only the fourth time in 24 events this year that the 36-hole cut has been over par and it matches the highest cut on Tour this year:
4-over Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
4-over United Leasing Championship
3-over  Panama Claro Championship
2-over  Cartagena de Indias at Karibana Championship

* Saturday’s play will be in twosomes off the first tee. Times will run from 8:10 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.

* This week’s purse is $1M with $180,000 awarded to the champion.

* This is the third tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Sept. 28-Oct. 4. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded two weeks ago following the WinCo Foods Portland Open. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* This is the third year of the Finals format and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much money it will take to finish in the top-25 on the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out in a few weeks. Here’s how much money the No. 25 man on the money list earned in each of the past two years:
2013    No. 25 Bobby Gates     $33,650.00
2014    No. 25 Eric Axley       $36,311.66
2015    No. 25 ???                  ???

* With two of the four Finals completed, it’s still difficult to gauge exactly how much money it will take to secure a top-25 spot on the money list, but history dictates that something over the $40,000 mark could be enough to garner a 2015-16 PGA TOUR card. Here is a list of those 10 players who have topped that number after two events and how they finished in the Hotel Fitness Championship and Small Business Connection Championship at River Run, respectively:
– Chez Reavie                 $203,000          T10, 1st
– Henrik Norlander       $180,000          1st, m/c
– Emiliano Grillo           $103,666            9th, T2
– Michael Thompson    $90,630             T2, T56
– Brett Stegmaier           $71,000              8th, 5th
– Ricky Barnes                $50,500             T16, 6
– Anirban Lahiri             $49,500             T6, T16
– Kyle Stanley                 $46,750              T16, T7
– Hiroshi Iwata               $44,000             T4, m/c
– Sam Saunders              $44,000             T4, dnp

* Andrew Svoboda withdrew during the second round due to an injury.

* Stuart Appleby and Rick Cochran both withdrew following the completion of the first round on Thursday.

* Leading money winner Patton Kizzire withdrew after 9 holes Friday due to back problems. Kizzire was 1-over for the day and 5-over for the tournament at the time. This is the first time that Kizzire has withdrawn from a tournament in 28 career starts, and 22 starts this year.

* Kizzire missed the cut at last week’s Small Business Connection Championship at River Run. It was only his fourth missed cut in 21 starts this year. The 29-year old holds down the top spot on the money list among the 25 players who have already earned their PGA TOUR cards via the Regular Season with $532,741.

* Of the top names on the leaderboard, only two have already secured PGA TOUR cards via the Web.com Tour’s Regular Season — Steve Marino (T6) and Lucas Lee (T6). The other 18 are still fighting to earn cards, though a few, including Hotel Fitness Championship winner Henrik Norlander (T11) have locked up their 2015-16 cards.

* Ohio State grad Chris Smith played his final 10 holes in 4-under par and posted a 69 that put him at 2-over 144. Smith rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on his last hole of the day (No. 9) and is T43. Smith missed the cut at the Hotel Fitness Championship and was T30 at last weeks Small Business Connection Championship at River Run.

* Fellow OSU Buckeye Ryan Armour posted scores of 76-74—150 (+8) and missed the cut. Armour finished T44 and T12 in the first two Finals events and will need another top-15 finish at next week’s Tour Championship to get into the top-25 on the money list and earn a TOUR card.

* Luke List overcame a bogey-bogey-bogey start and shot a 4-under 67. List rebounded with five birdies, an eagle and no bogeys over his next 15 holes.

* Texarkana’s Zack Fischer (T6) chalked up ten birdies in his afternoon round but those were countered by two bogeys and two double bogeys for a 4-under 67. Fischer’s second double of the day came at No. 8 and dropped him out of a second-place tie at 4-under par but then he stuffed an 8-iron from a fairway bunker to three feet and made the putt to push his birdie total into double digits. Fischer had trouble off the tee (only six of 14 fairways) and managed to hit only 12 of 18 greens in regulation.

* Not surprisingly, Fischer leads the tournament with 12 birdies through 36 holes.

* Roberto Castro (68) and Kelly Kraft (69) were the lone bogey-free rounds on Friday.

* Texan Cody Gribble posted a 4-under 67 that included six birdies and a double bogey on the par-5, 4th hole. Gribble is at 1-over for 36 holes and T30.

* Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover posted a 1-over 72 that featured 17 pars. Glover, who hit only seven of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, is 2-over for the tournament and T43.

* Scoring averages for the week:
Front (36)        Back (35)         Total (71)        Cumulative
R1       36.648             36.328             72.976             —
R2       37.177             35.509             72.686             72.832

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