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UNLV standouts move on to the weekend at Shriners

Good friends and former UNLV teammates Harry Hall and Taylor Montgomery will be around for the weekend at the Shriners Children’s Open, but they took completely different paths to finish 36 holes at 6-under 136.

Hall followed up an impressive opening round 66 with a shaky 70 on Friday, while Montgomery turned the tables on his first-round struggles, making seven birdies during a second-round 66.

Starting out below the expected cut line, Montgomery put that issue to bed immediately on Friday, making birdie on his first three holes and five of his first seven to reach a comfortable position on the leaderboard.

Hall, on the other hand, made three birdies and two bogeys on a day that left him disappointed and a little frustrated.

“I didn’t stiff any approach shots today,” Hall said of the difference between the two rounds. “I left myself a lot of 25- and 30-footers.”

Justin Suh, the third member of the group and a fellow Las Vegas resident, said playing with Hall and Montgomery was a relaxing experience even if the crowds were weighted in the UNLV alums’ favor.

“Definitely my cheers were a little softer,” Suh said, “but I could still feel a home course feel.”

Suh won’t be playing the weekend, finishing his two rounds at 2 under. Balls in the water on consecutive holes — Nos. 16 and 17 — erased a good start for Suh.

Weekend prep

When you’re a longtime tour veteran like Kevin Streelman, getting into contention doesn’t lead to any anxiety or extra preparation for the weekend. Instead, the 43-year-old was looking forward to a night on the Strip on Friday.

“My kids came in on Wednesday,” said of his immediate plans. “They’ve been watching YouTube Michael Jackson videos, because we’re going to the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson show tonight. We’re going to Joe’s Stone Crab, which is like our family tradition, and we’re going to see that Cirque du Soleil show tonight. They’re so fired up. It’s kind of family time for me now.”

Streelman is playing the Shriners for the 13th time in his career. He had a close call in 2014, finishing second by two shots to Ben Martin.

Down on the course

While most players have been effusive in the changes that took place this summer at TPC Summerlin, don’t count former champion Patrick Cantlay in that camp.

“It’s in a lot worse condition, and you can see that with the scores,” Cantlay complained on Friday. “The greens haven’t quite settled, so you get all sorts of bounces out there. Every green and every little spot is a different firmness. It’s hard to predict and hard to get it close because of that, but it’s the same way for everybody.”

TPC Summerlin changed all of the grass types in the fairways and greens to make it a better fit for drought conditions. It didn’t open for play until Monday, making the PGA Tour players the first to experience the conditions.

Cantlay said he’ll just plug away this weekend.

”I’ll just do my best to hit it as close as I can and make as many birdies as I can,” he said.

Whirlwind round

How quickly can things change during a golf tournament? Just look at Stephen Jaeger on Friday at the Shriners.

On the sixth hole of his second round, Jaeger made his third birdie of the day to move to the top of the leaderboard. Two hours later, he birdied his final hole, a putt he needed to simply make the cut at 4 under.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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