Capitals

Ogilvy shoots 69 at Australian PGA

Ogilvy shoots 69 at Australian PGA

COOLUM, Australia (AP) Daniel Popovic maintained a share of the lead after the second day of the Australian PGA on Friday while Geoff Ogilvy posted another solid round.

Popovic, who nearly gave up golf earlier this year to care for his ill father, followed his opening-round 64 with a 2-under 70, including a double-bogey seven on the par-5 15th.

The Tour rookie is tied with Zhang Xinjun (67) at 10 under, two shots clear of the field at the Palmer Coolum resort course.

Zhang had a one-stroke lead twice in the closing holes, but bogeys on two of his final three holes dropped him into a tie with Popovic going into the weekend.

Ogilvy (69) and Matthew Griffin (67) were tied for third. Fellow Australians Mathew Goggin (66), Steven Bowditch (67) and Brad Kennedy (68) were another stroke back at 7 under.

Last week's Australian Open champion Peter Senior shot a 70 and was tied for eighth, four strokes behind the leaders. Former British Open champion Darren Clarke had a 69 and was another stroke back, while South African Rory Sabbatini shot 68 after an opening 76 to make the cut with a few strokes to spare.

Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, is aiming to finish in the top 50 in the year-end world rankings, which would guarantee him a spot in next year's Masters. Current projections show Ogilvy would have to finish third or better at Coolum.

``I don't know if it has to be first to get into the top 50, but it probably has to be first two or three,'' Ogilvy said. ``I don't study world rankings that much. But that would be a bonus, winning the tournament would be the best part, but if that was a side bonus that would be good.

``I feel like I am in a good place. It's nice I will be in one of the last few groups tomorrow and if I can have a good score, maybe get right up there after tomorrow and give it a crack on Sunday.''

Popovic found out earlier this year that his father, Radi, is suffering from a form of incurable bone cancer. The Australasian PGA Tour rookie said his father, in the hospital undergoing blood tests, was in tears after his opening round, and expected more of the same on Friday.

He misjudged the wind on 15, leading to the double bogey.

``Then we didn't have the best lie, there was a lot of into the grain, the grass growing into the ball and then I just completely stuffed it up,'' he said.

Zhang, who needed only 22 putts Friday and has preferred his hybrid club to his driver off the tee on all but three occasions for two rounds, said through a translator that he's becoming more confident as he plays the course more. Last year, he watched the PGA at Coolum on television from China.

``I felt good today, I am getting used to this layout and to the wind,'' Zhang said.

Asked how he communicates with his non-Mandarin speaking Australian caddie Drew Garland, who was provided by the tournament office, Zhang said: ``I've learned some English, mostly related to golf, like `How do you think this breaks?'''

Bowditch grew up in the area and his family still lives at nearby Peregian Beach. He said he's taken plenty of confidence from securing his PGA Tour card for next year at the recent qualifying school in California.

``Q School is one of the most demanding golf events I have ever had to play,'' Bowditch said.

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

capture_vegas.png
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

Quick Links

Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

preston_smith_camp_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler