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Halfway check-in at CIMB Classic: Garrigus at -14

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Back-to-back rounds of 64 have earned Robert Garrigus a two-shot lead at 14-under at the halfway mark of the CIMB Classic, but 18 players still stand within seven-strokes of Garrigus on a course very susceptible to low scores.

The first round yielded a stroke average of 68.76, while wet conditions allowed ball-in-hand and an even lower scoring average of 68.43 in the second round. Tiger Woods, who has carded rounds of 66 and 67, is just five shots back and is looking for a big weekend in Malaysia — a country he returns to for the first time since winning both the individual and team titles at the 1999 World Cup.

“The golf course can be had, especially if we have ball in hand like we did today,” Woods said after Round 2.

Woods has given back four shots through two rounds, with both of Friday’s bogeys coming after wild tee shots to the right on Nos. 4 and 12. However, Woods has capitalized on the Mines Resort’s easiest holes, birdieing all three par-5s and the drivable par-4 15th each of the first two days.

While Woods is certainly in contention at this point, he’ll have to step on it through the weekend, especially if Garrigus gets to the number he’s shooting for.

“I’m going to try to get to 30 (under) if I can,” Garrigus said after Round 2. “I just need to do it on the weekend when it counts.”

Meanwhile, Jbe’ Kruger sits two strokes behind Garrigus, as he backed up an opening-round 66 with a 7-under 64. Kruger’s round may not have been the lowest of day two – -fellow South African Trevor Immelman shot an 8-under 63 to grab a share of 11th place at 7-under — but it had to be the most impressive, as he played with Woods for the first time.

In a situation where many have crumbled through the years, Kruger’s play bested the World No. 2 by three shots, making eight birdies to just one bogey. Kruger gained entry to the CIMB Classic by ranking inside the top 10 of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. In February, he won the Avantha Masters, an event sanctioned by both the European Tour and Asian Tour.

“I think playing with him (Woods) definitely made me concentrate a bit harder,” Kruger stated. “That is the one thing I’ve been lacking the last couple of months, so I think I want to play with him everyday.”

First-round leader Troy Matteson, who carded an 8-under 63 on Thursday, shot 2-under 69 in round two and joins Australian Greg Chalmers tied for third at 10-under for the tournament.

Brendon de Jonge and Kevin Na are tied for fifth with Woods at 9-under through 36 holes, while 2010 champion Ben Crane, 2011 runner-up Jeff Overton and Brian Harman all sit in a tie for eighth at 8-under.

Eight players accompany Immelman at 7-under in a tie for 11th, including defending champion Bo Van Pelt and his fellow Americans Bill Haas, Chris Kirk, Kevin Stadler, Pat Perez and Tom Gillis. Charlie Wi, a late replacement for Rickie Fowler, and Martin Laird are also at 7-under, seven back of Garrigus.

Meanwhile, Asian Tour and Malaysian qualifiers have shown the ability to post scores, but may not have the consistency to contend this week.

Asian Tour player Gaganjeet Bhullar found himself just two shots back following his opening round 65, but carded a 1-over 72 on Thursday to lose pace. Malaysian qualifier Danny Chia posted a quality round of 66 on day one, but fell well back after a second-round 75.

Through two rounds, Thaworn Wiratchant and  hold the best standing of their contingent, at 5-under for the tournament and tied for 23rd. Wiratchant, who is in his ninth-straight week of competition, rallied Friday with a 7-under 65, bouncing back after opening the event with a 2-over 72. 25-year-old Lahiri carded a bogey-free second round of 5-under 66, after an even-par opening round.

Garrigus has reached 14-under for the tournament thanks to an eagle and 15 birdies to just three bogeys. The 35-year-old has had a strong 2012 PGA Tour season, earning seven top-10 finishes, two of which came in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“If I keep putting like this on the weekend, its going to be hard to catch me,” Garrigus said. “I do have a very high confidence level right now. I feel like I can beat anybody, doesn’t matter who I’m playing.”

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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