Bubba Watson’s mother knew best.
Only playing the Zurich Classic of New Orleans because his mother, Molly, talked him into it because she wanted to watch him play, Watson shot a 4-under-par 68 yesterday to take a one-stroke lead over Josh Teater after the second round in Avondale, La.
“Mom knew I was going to play pretty good the first two rounds,’’ said Watson, playing a four-hour drive from his hometown of Bagdad, Fla. “We’ve got two more to go, but she’s right so far.’’
The long-hitting Watson eagled the par-5 11th — his second hole of the round — for the second time, holing a 20-footer to get to 8 under. He added a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 13 and a 13-footer on No. 14, but bogeyed No. 18 when he hit his third shot over the green from a bunker. Watson finished with a 10-under 134 total.
Teater shot a 66, dropping two strokes with a double bogey on the par-5 18th. His approach shot with a 6-iron from 177 yards sailed right and bounced into the water guarding the green. His fifth shot ran 22 feet past the hole and he two-putted for the double bogey.
Dean Wilson matched the course record with a 64 to join John Senden (67), Jason Dufner (69), Matt Jones (71), and Webb Simpson (69) at 7 under. Simpson counted the Hornets’ Chris Paul among his gallery.
LPGA — Sandra Gal birdied five of the final eight holes for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke lead over Amy Yang in the
Gal bogeyed Nos. 9 and 10 to fall to 2 under for the tournament and even par, then birdied Nos. 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17 to top the leaderboard. Gal had a 7-under 137 total.
Yang shot a 68. She bogeyed No. 1 and had eight straight pars before birdieing Nos. 10, 12, 14, 16 and 17.
European/Asian — Lee Westwood, the world’s No. 1, shot a 4-under 68 in the second round of the Ballantine’s Championship, bouncing back from a rough first day to stay six strokes off the pace in Seoul. Brett Rumford posted a 63 to get to 10 under, putting him three strokes clear of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Soren Kjeldsen.
Nationwide — Former Braves pitcher John Smoltz struggled in his tour debut, completing a 12-over 84 that left him in last place after the opening round of the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta.
Smoltz started Thursday and got in only seven holes because of stormy weather. He never found his swing yesterday at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, resigning himself to missing the cut, but hoping he could put up a decent score in the second round today.
Brett Wetterich, Cliff Kresge, and Mark Anderson were tied at the top at 4-under 140, although second-round play was suspended by darkness.