Golf Links: Friday, June 9 news and updates

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Golf Links connects you to Friday morning’s major golf news stories and events.

The ProGolfNow Golf Links column provides a quick way to get your Friday morning golf news and stay on top of the game, wherever it’s being played.

Today is cut day at the PGA TOUR’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, the LPGA’s Manulife LPGA Classic, and the European Tour’s Lyoness Open.

Going into Cut Day

In Memphis, there’s a real clog at the top of the leaderboard. Matt Every, Stewart Cink, Scott Brown, and Sebastian Muñoz slept on a shared 6-under par overnight lead but that’s not likely to last through the second round.

Playing conditions are great and there’s lots of energy being generated. Mickelson is in fine form and he goes off early Friday morning.

Our Golf Links hero of last week, Zac Blair, isn’t doing so well. He’s starting the second round at 4-over par. He needs a bunch of birdies if he’s going to survive today’s round. I wonder what shoes he’s wearing.

Although Golf Channel doesn’t begin coverage of the St. Jude Classic second round until 4pm ET, PGA TOUR Live begins streaming at 8am ET so if you’re sitting at your desk you can catch the action while you pretend to work.

Suzann Pettersen and Mi Hyang Lee grabbed control of the Manulife LPGA Classic leaderboard but to the delight of the gallery Canadian Olympian Alena Sharp is lurking two shots back.

Lexi Thompson, Angel Yin, and In Gee Chun are in hot pursuit as well. For Monday qualifier Allie White, who started with a discouraging double bogey, the day turned out pretty good. She’s at 1-under par going into the second round.

Friday could turn out to be something more than a struggle to make the cut. It has all the makings of an old-fashioned slugfest. Follow the action live on Golf Channel beginning at 1:30pm ET.

In Austria, Filipe Aguilar grabbed the Lyoness Open lead with a first round 65 – the first time he’s held a solo lead – but he’s not safe at the top of the leaderboard.

Jaco Van Zyl delivered a bogey-free 5-under round on the Diamond Course, which is in beautiful playing condition. Tournament ambassador and local favorite Bernd Wiesberger has some work to do. He’s starting Friday at 2-under par and trailing Aguilar by 5 shots – not such a big gap on Friday as it might be on Sunday.

Catch the Lyoness Open second round action live on Golf Channel beginning at 6am ET and running through the morning, with an hour break for Morning Drive beginning at 7am.

Playing by the Rules

More from Pro Golf Now

The Lexi Thompson penalty for not returning her ball to it’s marked position at the ANA Inspiration has sparked an ongoing conversation about rules violations among the pros that just doesn’t seem to stop. There’s a disturbing article in Golf Digest about cheaters on the pro circuits – they’re hard to catch, even though everybody knows who they are. Humm. That’s sort of like my women’s league. We have cheaters. Let’s face it, not every golfer is wedded to the honorable. How do the pros deal with the problem, peer-to-peer? About the same way we do in our women’s league. I don’t know if this makes me feel better or worse about cheating on the golf course.

But then the Dustin Johnson rules violation debate at the 2016 U.S. Open is still being rehashed as an example of how not to handle the problem of rules decisions. Let’s hope that the USGA rules officials have established a protocol for avoiding the chaos and tension that was created among the players at Oakmont while officials dithered through the final round.

U.S. Open

The USGA has published the first and second round pairings for the 117th U.S. Open. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Martin Kaymer are paired for the first and second rounds – a grouping of champions! I’ll bet the oddsmakers are hard at work on that one. And Rory McIlroy, who says he’s ready for the Erin Hills test, Jason Day, and Justin Rose – another dazzling group of champions – are also first and second round playing partners. Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, and Jon Rahm, who could each emerge as a dark horse winner at Erin Hills, are also first and second round playing partners. Lefty still hasn’t officially withdrawn and the ever-hopeful alternates are being allowed to play practice rounds this week.

Next: U.S. Open betting odds (updated)

Golf Links will help you stay on top of golf world news through the weekend, alerting you to breaking stories and giving you snapshot updates of tournaments in progress.