Cromwell, Connecticut. ( Associated Press) — Xander Schauffele scored his second consecutive 7-under-63 on Friday to take a five-stroke lead in the Travelers’ Championship.
The Olympic champion shot 31 nines from the front at the TPC River Highlands with four reeds, then shot 32 from behind for birdies of 11, 14 and 17.
He hit 33 of 36 greens in regulation time and is the only player in the tournament without a ghost. The next call came close to the 16th par-3 where he hit the tee and hit the rough behind the bunker on the green.
“It’s very interesting when the wind blows there,” Schauffele said. “It was my least perfect hit in a week and I was very happy to get up and down there and keep parity.”
Kevin Kisner (64), Nick Hardy (64), reigning champion Harris English (65), Cam Davis (66) and Patrick Cantley (67) tied for second in the U9 rankings. First-round leaders Rory McIlroy and J.T. Poston followed the opening 62 to 70, six strokes behind.
Kantley, who scored 60 as an amateur at the TPC River Highlands in 2011, played in the same morning group as English.
“(I’m) still here at this tournament and looking forward to the weekend,” Cantlay said. “I love a challenge and that’s all you can do in golf is give yourself as many chances as possible.”
English, who won on the eighth playoff hole last year, is playing in his third tournament since returning from Valentine’s Day surgery in May to repair a torn upper lip on his right thigh.
“The hardest part is walking and playing,” English said. “I mean, I feel like at home I can hit a bunch of balls at the shooting range, but up and down these hills and being on my feet for five or six hours is the hardest part. The game is getting better and better and I feel like the more I play competitive rounds here, the stronger it gets.”
Hardy, who started in the back nine, made four consecutive reeds on 16, 17, 18 and 1. He is also recovering from an injury from a tendon injury in his left wrist in April.
“I was just in a great rhythm,” Hardy said. “It’s kind of the name of the game for me since I’m back. Just be in a good rhythm. I think I swing the stick well and my mind is in good shape.”
Kisner got lucky on the 15th when his tee shot went to the left and rolled into the field’s characteristic lake before snagging on a mic cable inches from the water. In the end, he saved steam.
“Five shots are not insurmountable, but I need (Schauffele) to slow down a bit,” Kisner said.
Schauffele played one group ahead of McIlroy, who was still 13 short of the lead, before having problems on the 12th hole.
McAilory teeed to the left and out of bounds into the woods, then found a deep rough on the right with his next shot. From there, he sent the ball into a bunker on the side of the green, then bounced off the green and back onto the rough before finishing with a quad spook.
He left the hole three strokes behind, and then on the 15th put out more problems. He went straight off the tee, finding tall grass, then ran a third hit across the lawn, down the hill, and into the water. He finished this hole with 6.
But he made a birdie on 16, finishing tied at par 70 when his 18 putt ended.
“I have to be closer to the leader,” he said. “It seems like I let a lot of guys into the golf tournament because of this.”
The last player to make a quad bogey and win a PGA Tour tournament was Adam Scott at the 2016 Honda Classic. Scott hit the water twice on the 15th par-3 hole.
The cut was 2 fewer, with 2017 winner Jordan Spieth (1 more) out and Sam Burns (equal par), Zach Johnson (4 more) and Jason Day (6 more). ___
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