Supporting Mexico, Toledo leads tourney
MADISON, Wis. — Wearing a green shirt in a nod to Mexico’s soccer team, Esteban Toledo birdied four of the last six holes Saturday for a 6-under 66 and the lead in the American Family Insurance Championship.
Five strokes behind tournament host Steve Stricker after an opening 69 in rain Friday at University Ridge, the 55-year-old Mexican player had six birdies in a bogey-free round to reach 9-under 135.
“I wear this shirt three days ago and I wash it myself last night so I can wear green today,” Toledo said. “It worked. I wish I can wear this tomorrow, but tomorrow I’m coming in black and white.”
In Russia on Saturday in the World Cup, Mexico beat South Korea 2-1 to improve to 2-0 and close in on a spot in the round of 16. Toledo won the last of his four PGA Tour Champions titles in 2016.
“Made a lot of putts, got up-and-down a few times, hit the ball in the fairway pretty much all day long,” Toledo said. “When I looked at the leaderboard on the last hole, I didn’t know I was tied for first. I was shocked a little bit. But you know what, it’s a lot of guys right next to it, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Defending champion Fred Couples (67), David Toms (66), Kent Jones (67) and Billy Mayfair (68) were a stroke back.
“I’m surprised that someone isn’t 11 or 12 under, but the greens picked up a lot of pace today,” Couples said. “I think maybe the scoring was a little easier yesterday because we got to clean the ball in the fairways, but it’s not easy out there.”
Bernhard Langer (69) was 8 under with Madison player Jerry Kelly (69), Scott McCarron (67), Mark Calcavecchia (68), Paul Goydos (68), Joey Sindelar (68), Glen Day (69) and Brad Bryant (72).
“The conditions haven’t been that easy,” Kelly said. “The pins are in some spots where you can’t spin it and you have to hit them firm out of these kind of soft fairways, otherwise you could chunk it. It’s not that easy even though the course is gettable. There’s just a few things going on out there to keep the scoring from going too low like it normally does.”
Stricker followed his opening 64 with a 74, ending his Champions under-par streak at 30 rounds — the fourth-longest streak in tour history.
“It just was one of those days where I didn’t have a lot of energy,” Stricker said. “Nothing — hit very few good shots, really. The couple that I did hit well, I was in bad spots, and a couple bad shots even got worse.”
Lee, Hataoka share lead
ROGERS, Ark. — Minjee Lee wasn’t all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.
Lee and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It’s also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.
“I didn’t particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn’t really hole any putts,” Lee said. “I’d been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.”