The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

The Greenbrier Classic

July 5, 2014

Hurley moves into 1-stroke lead over Chapman, Stroud

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Day two of the 2014 Greenbrier Classic saw a Navy veteran on Independence Day shoot like a firework to the top of the leaderboard, followed by three golfers within two strokes of him and the lead.

Billy Hurley III leads at the turn, followed by Kevin Chappell and Chris Stroud a stroke off the lead, and Troy Matteson, owner of Friday’s best score, two back of the leader.  Steve Stricker and Chris Kirk shot 68 and 69 respectively on Friday to position themselves three shots off the pace.

Hurley, among the first to finish the course Friday morning, stayed atop the leaderboard all day. He shot a 63 to take the lead with a two day total of 131.

“Seven birdies, no bogeys, always nice to play with no bogeys, especially around here. It’s kind of a course where you feel like you can go a round with no bogeys a couple of times for the week, and so to do that always makes you feel good about it,” Hurley said.

Chappell was right on Hurley’s heels. He sank five birdies and did not have a bogey as his 65 gave him a two-day 132.

“It was a good day. The stats say I didn’t hit very many greens, but I felt like I was in the right spot a lot today, whether it was on the fringe and near the hole, or missing greens when I was in trouble in the right spots, so that was nice,” Chappell said. “There’s a lot of guesswork out there with the wind swirling and my caddie and I did a good job of handling that.”

Also checking it at 132 was Stroud, who had the most consistent two rounds of the Classic, shooting 66 in Thursday’s opening round and playing to the same score on Friday. Stroud said that the cooler temperatures Friday morning, 15-20 degrees cooler than Thursday, made the course a little different.

“It definitely played a little longer. I think we teed off at 7:00, it was probably 60 degrees, but there was no wind. We didn’t play any percentage as far as elevation or cool,” Stroud said. “As the day heated up it played a little shorter and a little shorter. But the fairways definitely dried out a little bit, which was nice. I’d say the first nine holes played maybe a club, or a half club longer, every hole.”

The biggest mover and best round of the day belonged to Matteson who shot a nine-under 61 with nine birdies and no bogeys to finish the round at 133. He shot a two-over 72 in the opening round.

“Actually I was a little worried this morning. I’ve been working on some new swing stuff and you’re never quite sure when it’s only been a day or two,” Matteson said. “Today I hit it much better, as much as you can out here in the wind when it’s as gusty as it is.”

It was Matteson’s putting that helped him achieve the 61, making a long one at 17 for birdie, plus other putts throughout the round.

“It was unlike any day I’ve had this year. I just haven’t been getting it in the hole all year and to have a day like this really kind of turns things around,” Matteson said. “I’ve always been a streaky putter. When I get hot, it usually falls in from just about anywhere and that’s one of those days today.”

Stricker, who followed his first round 66 with a second round 68, said it was not easy on the course, Friday.

“I grinded it out. It was a tough day. The wind was gusty. It was coming from all over the place. You really couldn’t pick a wind direction and stick with it today,” Stricker said. “It gets down in this valley and it bounces off both sides of this valley and it literally comes from all over the place. It made club selection very difficult and trusting your club selection difficult.”

First round leader and defending champion Jonas Blixt was unable to come close to the 64 he shot in Thursday’s opening round. Friday, Blixt shot a three-over 75 and was tied for 25th place.

Tom Watson, golf pro emeritus at the Greeenbrier and captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team scored a two-under 68, good enough for a two day total of 139 and will play into the weekend.

Those not making the cut including Vijay Singh, former winner of the Greenbrier Classic, Stuart Appleby and Sir Nick Faldo, who now turns his attention to the CBS broadcast booth for the remainder of the tournament.

The third round of the Greenbrier Classic tees off this morning with the final round, Sunday.


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The Greenbrier Classic