Harman driven by Presidents Cup omission

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HONOLULU, Hawaii – Brian Harman loves being the underdog. He loves being driven to succeed. And missing last year’s Presidents Cup team has a fire burning under his feet. Harman had a stellar 2016-17 season – winning the Wells Fargo Championship for his second PGA TOUR title and making it to the TOUR Championship for the first time before ultimately finishing 25th in the FedExCup. He was inside the automatic pick zone for the Presidents Cup for a large chunk of the season before falling to 12th on the list, leaving him hoping for a captain’s pick. Steve Stricker went for experience instead, picking Phil Mickelson. The omission has ensured Harman has hit the ground running in season 2017-18. Consider his starts so far: T5 at THE CJ CUP & NINE BRIDGES; 8th at the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions; T4 at the RSM Classic and 3rd last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. And now, with rounds of 64-63 he leads at the halfway mark of the Sony Open. “Missing out on the Presidents Cup hurt. I didn’t feel like I deserved a pick by any means and I would’ve been happy with one but I didn’t feel like I played well enough to make it where it was a snub by any means,” Harman said Friday. “But I’m definitely motivated by that. I was really disappointed with the way I finished the year and the Playoffs because I wanted very badly to make that team and I didn’t get it done.” Harman’s FedExCup Playoff run was CUT, T65, T40 and T24 last season and he believes he might just have played a little too much. The TOUR Championship was his 30th event. “Part is knowing when to rest. I think someone tweeted in the middle of last year that I had more starts the last five years than any other player,” Harman added. He has played 185 tournaments since the start of 2012. The most of anyone in that span and nine more than the next player in John Huh. “I didn’t realize I was playing that much golf. I’ve got to be a little more strategic about where I play and where I rest. That’ll help. “I always felt like I could find a way when I really needed to and I couldn’t find a way in the Playoffs.” Harman currently sits in sixth place in the U.S. Team standings for this year’s Ryder Cup team in Paris. The top eight earn automatic berths after August 12th before captain Jim Furyk will need to pick four others on September 9th. OBSERVATIONS SPONSORLESS PETERSON MAKES WAVES: To the new golf fan at Waialae Country Club, John Peterson must have looked like an amateur amongst the pros but his game was anything but amateurish. Playing on a major medical exemption, Peterson backed up his opening round 66 with a very tidy 6-under 64 to move to 10-under for the tournament, just three back of the lead. With just eight starts to make 273.76 FedExCup or $375,165 to secure his TOUR card after returning from a left hand injury, Peterson needs to make waves quickly. Currently without a sponsor, Peterson had his 10-year-old LSU Tigers golf bag and was wearing Nike shoes, Under Armour clothes and a Shady Oaks hat. “I’m all confused,” he joked of his attire. But his game was far from confused as he opened with four straight birdies at Waialae on Friday and turned in 29. Combined with his 30 on the front side on Thursday, he’s played those holes in just 59 shots. But the back nine has been tougher, playing those 1-over through two rounds. “I was thinking 59 after I birdied my fourth hole of the day,” Peterson admitted post round. “I was like, man, I could shoot 59 today. I made like a 50-footer on 4, and then I hit it to eight feet on 5. And then I just didn’t make anything after that. But it was a fun day. “I kind of cooled off on the back unfortunately, but I’m happy with where I am.” Peterson admits he’s playing with freedom because he’s accepted his fate. With a new three-month-old baby the 29-year-old is currently content to be a dad and doesn’t envisage himself being a “FaceTime Dad”. If he makes the necessary points to get his card back he will play on – and if he doesn’t… “I’ll do real estate in Ft. Worth. I’ve already kind of planned for both. So we’ll see what happens. “If it doesn’t work out these eight events, I’ll probably be done. That’s why I don’t have a sponsor and all that. But if it works out, I’ll keep going. “Right now I’d like to keep playing golf, but if I don’t, it’s great. I’ve got a little farm. I’ve got a little boy. I’ve got a great wife. I’m in a good spot.” If his great play continues this weekend, you can be sure he’ll have a sponsor before he tees it up at the CareerBuilder Challenge next week. ZACH CHASES LUCKY 13: Zach Johnson is within striking distance of a 13th PGA TOUR win and first since the 2015 Open Championship after a 3-under 67 pushed him to 10-under. Johnson rescued an average round with a birdie and eagle across his last three holes Friday. “I’m very satisfied. Had a lot of opportunity. I missed a bunch of putts from like five to eight feet and you’re going to have that at some point. So hopefully, that’s behind me, and 67’s nothing terrible either. So I’m encouraged.” KIZZIRE CONTINUES FORM: Patton Kizzire lost the top spot in the FedExCup last week, dropping to third, but the OHL Classic at Mayakoba champion is in with a shot to take it back after opening with rounds of 67-64 at Waialae. At 9-under, Kizzire is just four off the pace at the halfway mark. “I had a few nice streaks there, good birdie streaks, and I was a little more aggressive on the greens,” he said. “All in all, it was a pretty good day. Everything was clicking pretty well.” NOTABLES Justin Thomas – A second straight 3-under 67 has the defending champion at 6-under and needing to go deep on the weekend. Jordan Spieth – A birdie on the final hole ensured he jumped off the cutline with a 2-under 68. He sits 3-under, 10 shots back. Chris Kirk – The overnight co-leader shot a 3-under 67 to push to 10-under and a tie for second. Jimmy Walker – The two-time Sony Open winner – who continues his climb back from Lyme disease – bounced back from an opening 4-over 74 with a 4-under 66 but will still miss the cut. J.J. Henry – In his 500th PGA TOUR start Henry shot 73-70 to miss the weekend. Patrick Rodgers – After an opening round 74, Rodgers withdrew from the tournament due to the flu. QUOTABLES I’m just going to show up tomorrow and try to hit the first tee shot best you can and go from there. There’s no magic formula. There’s no reason to change. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.If I’m not going to have a sponsor, I might as well be comfortable, not travel with a huge 60-pound bag everywhere.You’ve still got to put a number up here at Waialae because guys are so good, and I think slightly widening the fairways and the greens holding, you’ve got to be aggressive.I’m 2 over on 17. I blame both bogeys on Justin (Thomas) still. So tomorrow, I told him, if I don’t make birdie, I’m going to have to come after him.  SUPERLATIVES Low round: 7-under 63 – Brian Harman shot to the lead with an eagle, six birdies and just one bogey. Longest drive: 371 yards – Jason Kokrak on the par-4 6th hole, leaving 87 yards to the hole. He made par. Longest putt: 90 feet, eight inches – Jordan Spieth made the longest putt of his career for birdie on the par-4 5th hole. Easiest hole: Par-5 9th – Almost a stroke under par at 4.105 with 21 eagles, 91 birdies, 26 pars and five bogeys. Hardest hole: Par-4 13th – Played at 4.336 with just seven birdies, 83 pars, 51 bogeys and two double bogeys. CALL OF THE DAY

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