February 15, 2019

GOLF Story
By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: August 5, 2016 07:08:23 PM

Four tied for Travelers second-round lead

CROMWELL, Conn. -- If the name Tyrone Van Aswegen doesn't ring a bell, don't worry -- you aren't alone.
The 34-year-old South African native is a 12th-year professional, but as the world's 348th-ranked player, he's a relative unknown on the PGA Tour.
But after firing a bogey-free, 4-under-par 66 in Friday's second round of the Travelers Championship to claim a share of the lead, his celebrity status might be shifting.
"Just taking care of business and just trying to play well again," said Van Aswegen, tied atop the leaderboard with Daniel Berger, Russell Henley and Marc Leishman at 7-under 133. "That's all I can do."
Jerry Kelly, a 49-year-old alumnus of the nearby University of Hartford and an 18-hole co-leader, headlines a four-way tie for fifth at 134 after firing a 70.
Vaughn Taylor and Andrew Loupe, the other 18-hole leaders, shot 71 and 76 to move to 135 and 140, respectively.
Blayne Barber had the day's low round of 64 and is in a six-way tie for ninth at 135.
England's Paul Casey, who lost the Travelers title in a playoff last year, and Fiji's Vijay Singh, a former world No. 1, are also at 135. Casey shot 67 while Singh carded a 68.
Playing well isn't something Van Aswegen has done a lot, although he began the 2015-16 season with a third-place finish at the Frys.com Open.
Van Aswegen is winless on the PGA Tour and has just two pro victories to his name on the South African Sunshine Tour.
"I can't think of winning," he said. "I think you'll be overwhelmed if you do that."
After a second straight bogey-less round, maybe he can.
Van Aswegen opened with eight straight pars Friday morning before rolling in three consecutive birdies from Nos. 9-11.
He claimed sole possession of the lead with another at No. 16, hours before Berger birdied No. 15 to tie for the lead.
Berger, the world No. 40, bounced back from his lone bogey on No. 3 with nothing but pars and four birdies en route to his 67.
The 23-year-old claimed a three-stroke win -- his first on the PGA Tour -- at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June.
"If I just do the right things and hang in there, I'll have chance to be there again on the weekend," Berger said.
Henley, the world No. 99, was also bogey-free with his 65, rolling in four birdies. His birdie on No. 9, his final hole, pulled him into a tie for the lead.
The 27-year-old Henley is a two-time PGA Tour winner. His last victory came at the 2014 Honda Classic.
"I kept the ball in front of me and made a couple putts," Henley said.
Leishman, a 32-year-old Australian who won the Travelers in 2012 for his only PGA Tour victory, briefly joined the leaders at 7 under with a birdie on No. 4 but gave it up with a bogey on the next hole. His birdie on No. 9 -- also his last hole -- thrust him back in the mix.
"It was challenging, but happy with the day," he said.
Bubba Watson, the defending and two-time Travelers champion, is four shots off the lead and tied for 24th at 137 after Friday's 70.
However, fans of the sixth-ranked American had other events in mind as they cheered him on Friday.
Watson, who will represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was showered with chants of "USA!" throughout the course.
"What an honor knowing how close we are to getting to Rio, how close we are to being what we call Olympians," Watson said. "For golfers to be called Olympians, what a thrill, what a privilege, what an honor."
Watson's fans might have their sights set on Rio, but the 37-year-old's focus lies in Cromwell.
"(I'm) trying to win Travelers first," he said. "(I) would love to take a trophy with (me) down there."
Opening at the 10th tee, Watson found trouble with a trio of bogeys at Nos. 12, 13 and 15.
However, he recovered with a bogey-free final 12 holes, adding birdies on Nos. 6-7.
It was only Watson's eighth round of par-or-worse in 36 career Travelers Championship rounds.
"I'm not far out of it," Watson said.
Loupe and 2011 Travelers winner Freddie Jacobson (141) were among those who missed the 1-under cut.
Branden Grace of South Africa (141), who tied for fourth at last week's PGA Championship, also saw his weekend cut short.
Saturday's forecast of afternoon thunderstorms led to tournament officials scheduling third-round tee times from 7 to 9 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10, with golfers remaining in threesomes.
NOTES: Bubba Watson chose to defend his 2015 Travelers Championship title instead of attending the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "It would've been a thrill of a lifetime to be (there)," Watson said, "but being defending champ, knowing this course as well as I do, why would I not come here and try to (defend) ... ?" Six players from the field of 156 will compete at the Olympics: Watson, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed (United States); Padraig Harrington (Ireland); Alex Cejka (Germany); Soren Kjeldsen (Denmark). ... ... Si Woo Kim of South Korea made his first career hole-in-one Thursday, with a four iron on the 215-yard, par-3 No. 5. It was the first hole-in-one on No. 5 at TPC River Highlands since 2011. ... Lucas Glover withdrew from the tournament Thursday for an undisclosed reason and was replaced by alternate Lucas Lee

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