October 18, 2008–Last night, megastar Justin Timberlake left the stage at Planet Hollywood after headlining a 3-hour plus show that will surely rank as one of the better shows in the history of Las Vegas. Each performer–Rihanna, Timberlake, 50 Cent, The Jonas Brothers, Leona Lewis, Lionel Richie, Boys II Men, and others–rose to the occasion and put on a benefit event that coincided with Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, this year called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Suffice it to say, Timberlake stalked the stage like current leader Matt Kuchar (pictured) has been stalking birdie putts en route to back to back 9-under par rounds of 63.
As mentioned, the best golfers in the world are going low in historic proportions. Leaders Kuchar and Marc Turnesa matched each other with a total of 18-under par after two rounds, while former Masters champ Zach Johnson is in the mix at 17-under par. Former UNLV golfer and US Amateur champ Ryan Moore is lurking at 14-under par and in a tie for seventh. The cut line was 6-under par and matched the lowest cut in the history of the PGA Tour. Kuchar and Turnesa's scores were the second lowest second-round totals in the history of the PGA Tour.
Kuchar, the leader, had extra motivation from his caddie to keep going low, and it all had to do with the Timberlake and friends event. "It's not often that you can follow up a 63 with another 63," said Kuchar. "My caddie was talking midway through the round, and he says, 'Man, you gotta keep making birdies so we can sleep in after the Timberlake concert tonight.' It was fun out there today. I think no bogeys today, that's always a nice thing to not have on your card."
Moore knows that to continue climbing the leaderboard he will have to keep going low and making birdies. "It's a completely different mindset, these kind of conditions compared to a U.S. Open or something," said Moore following his round. "It's just one of the ones where you just try and keep up really. There are so many great players out here, and obviously they're shooting lights out. For me, I'm just going out there and trying to stay as focused as I can on my round and just be patient and know that you can just rattle off five or six birdies real quick in conditions like that."
But the biggest story of the event so far was the Timberlake and Friends concert that had a sold-out crowd at Planet Hollywood on its feet for much of the three hours. Timberlake hit the stage at about 9:45 and the show rocked until well after midnight. To start the show, Timberlake jokngly told the crowd that the PGA Tour players in attendance "make me sick" because of how rediculously low they were scoring during the tournament. Timberlake is a single-digit handicap who loves and respects the game of golf. Click now to check out photos from the performances. Timberlake is in the first of at least a five-year commitment with the Shriners and the PGA Tour.
Timberlake performed with several of the acts during the evening and also made time for a solo set. Timberlake sang with Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and Lionel Richie, who Timberlake welcomed to the stage as "my idol". Timberlake also jammed with rapper 50 cent, and welcomed British sensation Leona Lewis to the stage, saying she has one of the best voices in the business. She proved him right.
Notables spotted in the crowd included Timberlake's girlfriend, Jessica Biel, PGA Tour players John Daly, Charley Hoffman, and Chris Riley, Tournament chairman Gary Davis, TPC Summerlin GM Chuck Bombard, tournament emcee Jack Sheehan, and several of the head Shriners, including Ralph Semb. Timberlake is scheduled to co-host a junior golf clinic with Butch Harmon at TPC Summerlin on Saturday, and then will be presenting the trophy on the 18th green following play on Sunday.
Other golfers with ties to Las Vegas golf courses making the cut included Nick Watney, Dean Wilson, Chad Campbell, Charley Hoffman, John Riegger, and Mike Ruiz. Also making the cut were PGA Tour notbales Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Charles Howell III, David Duval, and Zach Johnson. "It's kind of what I expected," said Johnson, who fired a 7-under par in the second round and starts the third round one shot out of the lead. "I'm not going lie to you. These conditions, which quite frankly feel like you're playing in a dome … it's very benign. It's out there. The greens are perfect and the fairways are rolling nice. I expected that. I didn't expect much."