Beau Hossler fired a second-round 4-under 68 and will take a one-stroke lead into the weekend at the Houston Open.
The former University of Texas star offset his lone bogey with five birdies, highlighted by three-straight gains on Nos. 8-10, en route to a two-day total of 11-under par 133.
“It’s been great. I’ve taken advantage of a lot of easy holes out here and I’ve played the tough ones pretty well, so I think I managed only one bogey thus far,” said Hossler, whose best career finish is a T7 in Las Vegas last fall at the Shriners.
“I’ve hit a lot of quality shots and feel like my game’s in a good place.”
Hossler is one-shot ahead of Rickie Fowler, Sam Ryder, Abraham Ancer and Nicholas Lindheim.
Following an opening-round 66, Fowler shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to reach 10-under par. The 29-year old star held a share of the lead until a final-hole bogey dropped him back to T2, alongside Ryder (68), Ancer (66) and Lindheim (66).
“Definitely happy with where we’re heading,” said Fowler, who has yet to miss a cut in seven starts at the Houston Open.
“I know I can clean some stuff up over the next two days. But yeah, good solid start, and like I said, I know we can get some stuff cleaned up the next two days and next week.”
One further back at 9-under par was Jordan Spieth, who posted a second-day 67 to sit T6.
Spieth was cruising along bogey-free at 6 under par through 15 holes, but a bogey on the par-3 16th left a blemish on an otherwise perfect round.
“I thought today was a step forward from yesterday. It’s a round that could have been really special, but I don’t have to have an 8 or 9 under round,” said Spieth.
“I feel like my game’s in form and that’s really cool. I’m having a lot of fun out there.”
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson posted a second-consecutive 68 and is tied with Matt Kuchar at 8-under par. The duo sit T11 alongside Bud Cauley (69), Luke List (68), Chesson Hadley (68), Shane Lowry (68), and Grayson Murray (68), among others.
After a first-round 73, Ian Poulter shot a low-round 64 on Friday to move into contention at 7-under par. Poulter is one of several high-profile players who need a win in Houston to get into the Masters.
“Yesterday was a frustrating day on the golf course, didn’t really get anything going when it was flat calm conditions. And then obviously today contrast, we had a completely different wind to what we had yesterday and I rolled the ball real nice,” said Poulter, who finished bogey-free with eight birdies.
“I mean, I started to hole a few putts. I rolled a 30-footer, 25-footer, 18-footer, 15-footer.
“So when you’re doing that and hitting good shots to take advantage of a couple par 5s then without any mistakes, you can actually post a decent out here.
“64’s a good number, back in the mix and hopefully I have a really good weekend.”
The Englishman sits T23 along with compatriot Justin Rose (69) and Argentinian Emiliano Grillo (68).
Despite a triple bogey on the 18th hole, Phil Mickelson carded a 1-under 71 on Friday. The 47-year old legend headlines a logjam of 15 players at 5 under, one-shot clear of defending champion Russell Henley (71) and Brandt Snedeker at 4-under par.
1 Beau Hossler -11
2 Rickie Fowler -10
2 Abraham Ancer -10
2 Nicholas Lindheim -10
2 Sam Ryder -10
6 Paul Dunne -9
6 Bronson Burgoon -9
6 Jordan Spieth -9
6 Kevin Tway -9
6 Julian Suri -9
11 Matt Kuchar -8
11 Henrik Stenson -8
23 Justin Rose -7
23 Ian Poulter -7
30 Jason Dufner -6
30 Charles Howell III -6
42 Phil Mickelson -5
42 Lee Westwood -5
42 Keegan Bradley -5
57 Brandt Snedeker -4
57 Russell Henley -4
57 Tony Finau -4
57 Padraig Harrington -4
57 Bill Haas -4
Driving: Keith Mitchell – 311.8 yards
Fairways: Fabian Gomez – 96.4% (27/28)
Greens: Troy Merritt – 88.9% (32/36)
Putts GIR: Ryan Armour – 1.593
“It’s been an interesting week. I’ve had two really poor warmup sessions and it’s kind of ironic because I played some of my best golf like that. I think it kind of gets you focused because you know you’ve got to go and be really dialed in on every shot because you don’t feel totally comfortable. I’ve gone on the golf course and made really committed swings.”
– Beau Hossler
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images