On Friday at Congaree Golf Club, Chesson Hadley shot a 5-under par 65, and will enter the weekend at the Palmetto Championship with a two-stroke lead over Dustin Johnson.
The 33-year old North Carolina native signed for a scorecard featuring two bogeys and seven birdies, highlighted by four gains in a five-hole span (Nos. 3, 4, 6, and 7), to set the target at 11 under.
“I definitely didn’t see this coming,” said Hadley, who’d missed 11 cuts in his last 14 starts, including nine in his most recent 11.
“That’s what I was just saying with George, I missed all those cuts in a row, and thank goodness I had three weeks off just to kind of hit the reset switch, get out on the boat, and just kind of forget about some things and spend some time with some family.
“I did try — I changed a few things while I was — during those three weeks. I didn’t feel like I played great on Monday for the U.S. Open qualifier, but even between now and then, I changed a few things.
“So it’s nice to hit some good shots, and the putter’s hot. So if I can just keep riding the putter, she’s a sweet girl. So I’ll just ride her until — you know.”
Johnson, meanwhile, appeared to be heading into the weekend with a share of the lead, but a slip of the club on the 18th led to a double bogey and a 68 to sit 9-under par.
“The first 14 holes played extremely difficult, I thought, and I was playing really well,” said Johnson.
“With the wind, the wind was blowing pretty hard, it was real gusty, so it was just really hard to get a good beat on it. I felt like I did a really good job, though, controlling the golf ball.
“I’m pleased with the way I played. Obviously, it’s an unfortunate finish, just club slip. It happens. Again, got a little unlucky there not to at least have a swing at it.
“I’m still in a really good position leading into the weekend and still a lot of golf to play, but I feel like I’m playing really well. So got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing.”
Tain Lee (68) was next on 7 under, one clear of a six-player logjam tied at 6 under.
2021 Palmetto Championship
Top-5 Leaders: Round 2
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 2)
1. Chesson Hadley -11 (-5)
2. Dustin Johnson -9 (-3)
3. Tain Lee -7 (-3)
4. Harris English -6 (-2)
4. Chez Reavie -6 (-2)
4. Erik van Rooyen -6 (E)
4. Pat Perez -6 (-5)
4. Seamus Power -6 (-5)
4. Wilco Nienaber -6 (-3)
Material from the PGA Tour Media was used to compile this report.