Molinari leads by a shot at Wells Fargo; Johnson makes cut

Molinari leads by a shot at Wells Fargo; Johnson makes cut

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Francesco Molinari returned to slightly calmer wind and didn’t miss a shot until his final hole Saturday morning, finishing off an even-par 72 for a one-shot lead after 36 holes of the Wells Fargo Championship.

A three-hour rain delay kept the second round from finishing until Saturday morning at Eagle Point. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., was two shots back after a 69.

Dustin Johnson went the other direction. Instead of making up ground, he made the cut with no shots to spare.

In his first tournament since a slip down the stairs knocked Johnson out of the Masters, the world’s No. 1 player made a 20-foot birdie on the 15th hole, only to hit a drive into the pine trees for bogey on No. 16, and a wedge into a bunker for another bogey on the 17th. He wound up with a 75, ending his streak of 13 consecutive rounds at par or better.

All was not lost.

Molinari, who dropped a shot on his closing hole by missing a 5-foot putt, was at 6-under 138. The cut was at 1-over 145, leaving an extraordinarily small gap between the lead and making the cut. The gap typically is about 10 shots at most PGA Tour events, so all 79 players who made the cut were still very much in the game.

Because more than 78 players made the cut, a 54-hole cut to the top 70 and ties loomed in the afternoon. Saturday also figured to a long way toward seeing if anyone could get some separation at Eagle Point Golf Club, which is being used because Quail Hollow Club is preparing to host the PGA Championship in August.

Molinari hit a pair of wedges to short range on the par-5 sixth and No. 8 to reach 7 under. His approach into the wind on No. 9 was off to the right, and his pitch came up short leading to bogey.

John Peterson birdied the 18th hole for a 69 and joined Billy Hurley III and Seamus Power at 5-under 139.

The leading 12 players going into the third round were separated by just two shots. Phil Mickelson, who made a double bogey on his last hole Friday, was five shots behind.

“The leaderboard is really bunched up,” Molinari said. “I need to play as if I was two, three shots behind and keeping hitting good shots.”

Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., was at 2-under 142 after a 72. Ottawa’s Brad Fritsch shot a 71 to sit even at 144.

Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

Fitness and health programming drew more than 12,000 participants in Saanich

New report also finds a gender split in programming

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read