GREENSBORO, NC -- Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey (pictured above, obviously) might strike the average golf fan as a pretty unlikely leader for Wyndham Championship heading into the weekend, but given how nicely the weekend's shaping up in terms of leaderboard cache, having a guy on top with the personality that Gainey brings to Greensboro is a good thing.
Besides the oddity of wearing two gloves -- at all times, even while putting -- Gainey's a little bit country and unafraid of speaking his mind. Or looking down on the 65 he shot Friday at Sedgefield, even if it managed to put him on top of the leaderboard.
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"Well, first of all, let's say I had an early wake up call," Gainey said following his round Friday. "You know, it's -- man, I hit that ball -- I hit it so bad today. Kind of tired right now."
Maybe that's because Gainey didn't hit the ball off the tee well. Or maybe it's because he's dealing with elbow and wrist injuries he sustained in the Canadian Open nearly a month ago. That's led to some odd post-round medical procedures.
"I'm just -- I just got iced up yesterday and that was it," Gainey said. "I didn't hit any balls or nothing. I just got iced and then I left the course, got ready to get something to eat."
OK, maybe it's only "odd" if you can picture Two Gloves sauntering around Sedgefield with a bunch of ice bags stacked on his glove-covered hands. And even in that sort of state, he'd still draw the attention of a Carolina crowd that treats him like a local.
Hailing from Darlington, South Carolina, Gainey's pretty close to being "native" to the area. And as such, he's been pretty thrilled with the love he's received on the course so far.
"Oh no doubt about it, it's awesome," Gainey said of the support from the crowd. "Whenever I'm walking on this golf course, I'm hearing it from a lot of people. It's a great feeling."
Not as good a feeling as winning his first PGA Tour event, something Gainey will be in position to do as he tops the leaderboard going into Saturday. To do so, he'll need to keep scoring low on a course that's begging to be carved up, even if it gets tougher over the weekend.
Fortunately for Gainey, winning is as simple a solution as ball bearings: just make birdies.
"You know, my mindset [going into the weekend] is, when I tee it up I try to win no matter if it's the first day, last day," Gainey said Friday. "I try to make as many birdies as I possibly can.
"That's what this game is all about."
Indeed it is.
But "making a big old pile of birdies" is easier said than done, especially when you're not hitting fairways at Sedgfield, where the Donald Ross designed course features a thick cropping of nasty rough that gets more grip on the ball than even the gloveliest fella out there.
And Gainey knows that too.
"It's just hard to make birdies when you keep putting yourself or putting myself in the rough," he said. "I mean it's not high but it's thick. Just settles straight down and you just got to go after it and the harder you swing at it to get it out, the more shock that goes into the wrist."
That shock on the wrist is particularly painful for someone dealing with injury like Gainey, and it means that if he can't hit more fairways going forward, it's pretty unlikely he'll be able to sustain the success he's had for the first two days here at Greensboro.
He knows how fast leaderboard success can disappear too.
"It doesn't matter," Gainey said when asked if he'd look at the leaderboard once Friday's action ended. "I'll look but it doesn't matter."
Maybe not Friday. But you can bet if Gainey makes it to Sunday in the same spot, he'll be singing a different tune.
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