Kyle Stanley looked hungry during the second round of the Barracuda Championship on Friday. He wasn’t alone.
Stanley, along with a giant black bear, stole the show at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood golf course near Truckee, California.
The Clemson product and two-time PGA Tour winner grabbed the lead after the second round with +22 points. Matthias Schwab, Robert Streb, Branden Grace were tied for second with, each with +20 points in the Modified Stableford scoring system.
Stanley scored 14 points on Friday and had an eagle on No. 12. He also had an eagle on Thursday.
“It’s kind of weird, the format out here, you’re kind of focusing more on points than you are what your score is,: Stanley, 32, said. “I’ve been driving it well. It’s kind of fun with this altitude, you can kind of swing away. We have some shorter par-4s out here so you can make a go at some of those, a little bit of risk-reward, and just kind of kept the ball in front of me and a pretty clean round of golf.”
Maverick McNealy and Troy Merritt were next at +19 points.
The projected cut was +6 with the top 65 players plus ties making it.
But there are not just sand traps and water hazards at Old Greenwood. A bear strolled across the fairway on No. 18 about 10 a.m. Friday morning, then wandered over to a pond on No. 10.
Kevin Tway, Pat Perez and Brendan Steele were on the fairway when the bear crossed.
The rules of golf allow for a pause and hold in play if there is a threat, which they did.
(Insert bear-a-cuda joke here) https://t.co/0h3OK74Pos
— Golfweek (@golfweek) July 31, 2020
Hard lead to hang on to
Not many first-round first-round leaders hold on to win the Barracuda.
There have been four in the first 21 years of the tournament, previously known as the Reno-Tahoe Open.
The most recent was Matt Bettencourt, in 2010.
There have been three first-round leaders/co-leaders to win on the PGA Tour in 2019-20 The most recent was Collin Morikawa, who won the Workday Charity Open. He won the Barracuda in 2019 and is playing in the WGC this week in Memphis.
Tournament takes on different form
It’s not a stretch to say this has been a year of disruptions and changes for the Barracuda Championship tournament staff.
Last summer, it was learned the PGA Tour would not return to its home for the first 21 years, at Montreux Golf & Country Club in south Reno.
They eventually moved to a new location, Old Greenwood golf course near Truckee, where the tournament continues through Sunday.
Then the COVID-10 pandemic hit, postponing all sports and eventually changing the date of the Barracuda and all PGA Tour stops.
Then, it was announced it late June that no spectators would be allowed, also due to the pandemic.
Barracuda tournament director Chris Hoff said the date change was actually a good thing, as it gave him and his staff more time to prepare for the 22nd version of the PGA Tour stop in the region.
There is usually a quiet buzz and hum of electricity at PGA Tour events, even with the course officials telling everyone to be quiet
It is much different this year.
Hoff not having spectators this year is a big drain financially for professional golf.
He could not go into details, but said the financial hit is significant.
He said fans, pro-ams and hospitality tents are the main revenue stream for the Barracuda Championship.
The pandemic caused a dramatic shift in planning for the tournament.
“Everything now that we do planning-wise, we have to take Covid into consideration,” Hoff said. “Everything from the portable restrooms we have out here and cleaning those on a regular basis, to shuttles for the volunteers. They have to be less than 50 percent occupancy, so we have to get more of those. Literally every decision we have had to make, Covid was the first question.”
He said there are about half the usual number of volunteers they have had in previous years.
Last year, there were about 400 volunteers.
He said Barracuda officials worked with the state and county to come up with the plan to hold the tournament.
Hoff said they learned from watching the first seven PGA Tour stops this summer and adjusted on the fly.
“Everyone asks what it’s like and it’s, it’s weird,” Hoff said. “We’re still very, very busy, but it’s a different busy.”