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Bubba Watson struggles in windy conditions at Shriners Open

Bubba Watson spent several minutes signing autographs after his second round Friday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. He shot 1-under 71 and is at 1-over 143.

The round was suspended by darkness with 28 golfers still on the course and will be completed Saturday morning, after which the cut will be determined.

“It’s been tough conditions,” Watson said. “I wish I could’ve played better. I think my game is in a great spot, even though my score doesn’t show how good I’m playing. I feel really good about my game right now. A couple balls bounced one way or the other, giving me tough lies or difficult shots.

“The wind is what was impacting it. I haven’t played here for 10 years, so getting used to the wind and getting used to how the ball reacts on this kind of grass and this course was difficult. I hit a lot of good shots that didn’t do what I thought they would, and it cost me a bogey and double bogey.”

Off the course, Watson enjoyed his gallery interactions.

“It’s been amazing, and everybody has been cheerful,” Watson said. “They’ve been very excited I was here. It always means a lot when they feel the same way I feel about them. There have been a lot of basic comments like, ‘thanks for coming, thanks for your support, thanks for showing love to our city.’

Watson has found time to take in some local sights and entertainment.

“I have just been going to shows,” he said. “So far, I’ve seen Penn and Teller, Terry Fator and then I checked out the new UFC training facility.”

Eye on sponsor exemptions

— Maverick McNealy, who shares the Stanford golf individual win total of 11 with Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers, is the latest professional to move to Las Vegas.

The Shriners was McNealy’s second start as a professional, but he played in several tour events as an amateur. He finished at 7 over and will miss the cut.

“Believe it or not with the score I shot, that was the best putting week I’ve had on the PGA Tour per round,” McNealy said. “I am really excited about that, and I finally putted like I used to in a college event.”

— Alex Kang, the brother of LPGA Championship winner Danielle Kang, has lived in Las Vegas for about four years and is playing in the Shriners for the first time. He followed his 1-under 70 with a 73.

Kang won $63,243 on the Web.com Tour this season to finish 78th on the money list, not high enough to advance to the PGA Tour.

“I am driving the ball well, just not hitting my irons close enough to give myself birdie opportunities,” Kang said. “It means a lot (getting a sponsor exemption), because it’s my home course. I usually play well out here, but the last two days I haven’t. I usually read the greens pretty well, but it’s pretty windy and the greens are a lot faster than normal play.”

— Former UNLV player A.J. McInerney was at 1 under through 14 holes when play was suspended.

Local flavor

Other players with Las Vegas ties: Charley Hoffman, 3 under; Ryan Moore, 2 under; Alex Cejka, 2 under; Scott Piercy and Chad Campbell, 1 over; Andres Gonzales 4 over.

Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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