PGA DFS Podcast - Charles Schwab Challenge
Mike Alexander and Donald Remington break down the return of PGA DFS with the Charles Schwab Challenge
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Playing the Stadium Course, tournament host and World No. 67 Phil Mickelson pieced together an all-par bogey-free 36-36=72 in the second round of The American Express and at 2-over 146, missed the cut by six shots.
A total of 72 players from a field of 156 made the 36-hole cut of 4-under 140, 17 (T56) on the number. Mickelson, a two-time past champ of the event and a pre-tourney 80/1 outright, records 18 pars in a round for the first time in 2,201 career rounds. Unfortunately, after opening with an up-and-down 74 on the Nicklaus Course (4 birdies, 4 bogeys, 1 double), he misses his second straight cut at the AmEx and fifth in 18 tries. The 50-year-old, who was T2 here two editions ago in 2019 as a 36- and 54-hole leader, misses his third cut of the season in six starts. Other notable early exits include: 141- Ryan Moore; Scottie Scheffler .. 142- Charles Howell III; Lanto Griffin .. 143- Russell Henley; Patrick Reed; Sam Burns; Brooks Koepka; Joel Dahmen .. 144- Kevin Na .. 145- Aaron Wise .. 149- Sepp Straka .. 152- Cameron Champ.
Added Yesterday 8:22 pm (EST)
Brendan Steele steadied a bogey-free, 4-under-par 34-34=68 during round two of The American Express, compiling a two-day score of 8-under 136 to find himself in a share of 10th place heading into the weekend.
Steele was knocking down flagsticks all day. He landed 15 greens in regulation and he gained 3.036 strokes on approach, in the process. He gave himself seven birdie-or-better looks from inside of 11 feet today, converting on four of them. Steele has now been T15 or better after each of his six rounds played since returning from the holiday break. He's also no stranger to success at this event as he arrived with a T2 (2015) and T6 (2017) on his AmEx resume, in 10 previous appearances. Gamers should continue to ride the hot hand because he's in the zone right now and shows no sign of cooling off just yet.
Added Yesterday 8:02 pm (EST)
Playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course, World No. 390 Doug Ghim smoothed a bogey-free 4-under-par 33-35=68 in the second round of The American Express for a 36-hole total of 9-under 135, down one spot to T7, two back of leader Sungjae Im, who fired a day-tying-low 65 (SC).
The 24-year-old is vying for his first TOUR win in 37 events and first top 10. His best among 10 top-25 finishes is a T12 at the 2019 Byron Nelson as non-member on a sponsor invite. This is the Las Vegas resident's second time in the top 10 at halftime this season in eight starts, joining a T6 at the Safeway seven starts ago, where he ultimately finished a season-tying-best T14 (67-66-69-71). On eight (of 14) fairways and 16 greens in regulation, he penciled four circles at holes 4, 6, 9, and 12, posting 1.750 putts per GIR. The Des Plaines, Illinois, native will play out of the third-to-last threesome in R3 with Emiliano Grillo and Francesco Molinari.
Added Yesterday 7:46 pm (EST)
Emiliano Grillo put on a ball-striking clinic en route to a bogey-free, 6-under-par 33-33=66 at the Stadium Course during round two of The American Express, giving him a two-day tally of 9-under 135 and a share of seventh place.
The Argentine peppered 16 greens in regulation today and most of those allowed him a good look at birdie. In fact, he gave himself 11 scoring chances from inside of 15 feet today, converting on five of them to go along with one long-distance conversion. That came in the form of a 43'1" birdie bomb at the par-4 third hole. If he can build on this ball-striking momentum he'll be tough to handle over the weekend. Grillo has also found a groove recently as he's now been T8 or better thru 36 holes in three of his last four starts. Add more positive news, today's round took place on the Stadium Course which is where he will play for the remainder of the week.
Added Yesterday 7:42 pm (EST)
Playing the Stadium Course and beginning off No. 10 tee, alternate and overnight leader Brandon Hagy walked off with bogey toward a 2-under-par 34-36=70 in the second round of The American Express, dipping one spot into a five-way T2 on 10-under 134, one adrift of leader Sungjae Im, who fired a day-tying-low 65 (SC).
The World No. 398 could've co-led at the midpoint but failed to get up-and-down on the par-4 ninth, missing an 18'7" par-saver. It would've been his first 36-hole lead/co-lead in 77 events but instead finds himself in 2nd place for a third time, most recently a T2 (one back) at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open, where he finished a still-career-best T5 (65-68-69-68). That's the UC-Berkeley alum's lone top-10 finish on TOUR thus far. On six (of 14) fairways and 11 greens in regulation, he lost 0.494 strokes off-the-tee and 0.437 around-the-green, but gained 0.822 on approach. The California native ticked five birdies at 12, 18, 2, 7 and 8, taking some luster off with three bogey-5s at 14, 15 and 9, each failed scrambles. He recorded 1.545 putts per GIR and 1.110 SG: Putting, converting two scoring chances from between 14 and 17 feet.
Added Yesterday 7:27 pm (EST)
Francesco Molinari made a big move on Friday at The American Express, styling a 6-under-par 34-32=66 while playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST, reaching 9-under 135 at the halfway mark which puts him in a tie for seventh place.
Molinari split just 6-of-14 fairways at the Stadium Course yesterday but improved to find nine fairways today. From there, he landed 13 greens in regulation and caught fire with the flat stick. "Obviously kind of a mistake on 9. But apart from that, played well, putted well, which is important around here. So, yeah, very happy with the start. We know it's an event where you want to make birdies and the scoring is going to be low. But there is a lot of water in play and a lot of water hazards, so you're going to eventually see some big numbers." The Italian aggressive approach turned into a double bogey at the par-4 ninth but he easily erased the damage with an eight-pack of birdies today. Molinari is still looking to round his game back into form and this is a great sign that he's making progress. The American Express is also an event that has suited him well over the years with a T10 in 2015 and a T12 during the 2017 edition. This is also the first edition that he's played in since becoming a California resident so he may have a little added comfort now that he's been practicing in similar conditions all winter. If gamers got in the routine of crossing him off their board they may want to put him back on their radar now.
Added Yesterday 7:26 pm (EST)
Playing the Stadium Course and beginning off No. 10 tee, World No. 18 Sungjae Im fired a bogey-free 7-under-par 32-33=65 in the second round of The American Express to reach 11-under 133, up 14 places on the day and good for a one-shot lead over five players. UPDATE: Im matched the low round of the day with three others.
This is the 22-year-old's third 36-hole lead/co-lead in 74 events, previously 0-for-2 converting. Most recently, he led by one at the 2019 opposite-field Corales before finishing T7 (67-67-69-71). The South Korean is chasing his second TOUR victory, first since a come-from-behind version at last season's Honda Classic 24 starts ago. This is his third straight AmEx with two prior top 15s, including a T10 last year where he carded rounds of 67-66-69-68, the latter two also on the Stadium Course. On nine (of 14) fairways and 13 greens in regulation, Im gained 2.801 strokes approaching and rang up seven birdies at 12, 13, 18, 1, 13, 7 and 8. He converted four scoring tries from between 17 and 26 feet, registering 1.462 putts per GIR and 4.194 SG: Putting with just 24 total putts. Im opened with a five-birdie one-bogey 68 on the Nicklaus Course.
Added Yesterday 7:08 pm (EST)
Si Woo Kim tossed together a 4-under-par 35-33=68 while playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course during round two of The American Express, reaching 10-under 134 at the midpoint which is good for a share of second place.
The young Korean took it low on day one at the Stadium Course but couldn't match that success today as he played the (slightly easier) Nicklaus Tournament Course. There weren't any ShotLink lasers to verify how close he was hitting it but Kim did stripe 13-of-14 fairways today en route to landing 15 greens. The ball-striking seems to be dialed in still but the score didn't add up as nicely as day one. On the bright side, he's still just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend and will now transition back to the Stadium Course, the track that yielded a 6-under 66 on Thursday. Kim is searching for his third career PGA TOUR title and first since the 2017 PLAYERS.
Added Yesterday 6:55 pm (EST)