Power surges from nowhere to get in the mix in Detroit
If you were to believe the hype, the stage at the Rocket Mortgage Classic should be reserved for those with the X-Factor, those like the hulked-up Bryson DeChambeau or someone like Matthew Wolff, the upcoming young star with the quirky swing.
Add Séamus Power to the mix. The 33-year-old from Co Waterford – a graduate of East Tennessee State who has flitted between the main PGA Tour and the secondary Korn Ferry Tour in recent seasons – played bogey-free golf to shoot a second round 66 for an 11-under-par midway total of 133 to claim a share of the clubhouse lead.
That Messrs DeChambeau, Wolff and the in-form Mark Hubbard represented the company atop the leaderboard was proof of just how well Power had played to get into position to contend for a first PGA Tour title over the weekend.
Power – who had missed the cut in each of his last two events on the secondary Korn Ferry Tour, and with limited opportunities on the main circuit given his status – has, so far, made the most of his chance with strong all-round game, hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation in the second round and getting his putter to more often than not finish the job in claiming six birdies.
“It’s a course, if you can drive it well, you’re going to have plenty of chances, you can reach some Par 5s, you have some wedges [in hand for approach shots],” said Power. “So that was kind of a big focus on Tuesday, Wednesday, trying to make sure the driver’s in as good a spot as possible . . . I probably rate myself as a pretty good course manager. You just have to kind of pick your spots. But the advantage I have, first two rounds that
I’ve been driving it well, so I give myself more opportunities to be aggressive.”
Of backing up his opening round 67 with a 66, he added: “I’m pleased with it. I didn’t quite have my A game, I guess, but I was able to manage it pretty well and hit some good shots at the right time.”
Power got up and running early on when he sank a 45-footer for birdie on the second hole. He backed that up with a four-footer for birdie on the third and rolled in a five-footer on the seventh to turn in 33 strokes.
Power then claimed further birdies on the 10th (from seven feet), the 13th (from six feet) and another on the 14th (from three feet) to move towards the top of the leaderboard.
Having failed to keep his full tour card last season, Power’s form – somewhat out of the blue given his best result so far this season was tied-35th in the Puerto Rico Open before lockdown – has come at a welcome time with the opportunity to tick a number of boxes going forward if he maintains it into the weekend.
A win, indeed, would be life-changing; but even a top-10 would get him into the field again for next week’s Workday tournament in Ohio.
“I’m just delighted to be playing, so I’m just trying to relax and enjoy it,” said Power.
Wolff, the 21-year-old American who secured his breakthrough win in the 3M tournament in this same week a year ago, had six successive birdies – from the 14th to the first – in his round but suffered his only bogey on his finishing hole, on the ninth, after a poor drive into the rough, which saw him drop back into a share of the lead.
I didn’t quite have my A game, I guess, but I was able to manage it pretty well