After 36 holes of play at the Quicken Loans National, Beau Hossler shares the lead with veterans Ryan Armour and Brian Gay, who both made final-hole birdies to join the rookie at 9-under par.
The 22-year old Hossler, who’s been trending towards the winner’s circle, got off to a somewhat slow start on Friday, offsetting two birdies with a pair of bogeys to sit level par through 13 holes. But the former University of Texas star reeled off four birdies over his final five holes to finish with a 4-under 66.
“I’m seeing the lines pretty well and the greens are very true. It’s a struggle to get the speed, probably made a few of those putts just comebacks,” said Hossler, who has made 207 feet of putts in the opening two rounds.
“I was hitting it too far this morning, greens sped up a lot since yesterday. So I was able to make a pretty good adjustment there on the back nine and, like you said, make some pretty good putts.”
Gay, meanwhile, continues to impress in what seems like a throwback season for the four-time Tour winner. After a second-day 6-under par 64, the 46-year old veteran is tied for the lead, and seems well on his way to posting his tenth top 25 this season, more than he compiled in the previous four seasons combined.
“It’s been pretty good the last month or two. Got up there in contention in Dallas and Memphis and had a good U.S. Open,” said Gay.
“Putting’s my strong suit and my putting’s been down, which has killed me on weeks when I’ve hit it good. I’ve had the odd good putting day, I usually have the odd bad putting day, so it was nice to get a little move today.”
The third player in the lead group was Armour, who signed for a clean 65, highlighted by three birdies in his final six holes, including two over the last three.
After a 2-under 68, Billy Horschel was T4 alongside Francesco Molinari, who followed up an opening-round 67 with a bogey-free 65. The 35-year old Italian has carded just one bogey over his first 36 holes.
A second-day 66 moved Zac Blair into solo-6th at 7-under par, one clear of Kevin Streelman, who posted a tournament-low 62 to jump 82 spots up the leaderboard to sit T7 at 6-under par.
One further back was tournament host and headliner Tiger Woods, who recorded a seven-birdie 65 to sit T11 at 5-under par.
“I tried to clean up my ball-striking a little bit, continue doing what I was doing on the greens yesterday I hit a lot of good putts, they just didn’t go in. I started on my line with the right pace and today I did that and a lot of them fell,” said Woods.
The field’s top-ranked player, world No. 7 Rickie Fowler, shot a second-round 66 and sits T21 at 4-under par.
Saturday’s final pairing will have Armour alongside Hossler, while Gay will be paired with Molinari in the petulant group. Tiger will play with little-known Joel Dahmen in the 12:25 tee time.
THE TOP 10
1. Beau Hossler -9 (65-66)
1. Brian Gay -9 (67-64)
1. Ryan Armour -9 (66-65)
4. Francesco Molinari -8 (67-65)
4. Billy Horschel -8 (64-68)
6. Zac Blair -7 (67-66)
7. C.T. Pan -6 (67-67)
7. Kevin Streelman -6 (72-62)
7. John Huh -6 (70-64)
7. Marc Leishman -6 (67-67)
11. Tiger Woods -5 (70-65)
11. Joaquin Niemann -5 (68-67)
21. Rickie Fowler -4 (70-66)
28. Stewart Cink -3 (68-69)
28. Charles Howell III -3 (70-67)
36. Gary Woodland -2 (69-69)
36. Kyle Stanley -2 (71-67)
45. Kiradech Aphibarnrat -1 (70-69)
66. Jimmy Walker +1 (74-67)
NOTABLES MISSING CUT
88. Siwoo Kim +3 (70-73)
88. J.B. Holmes +3 (73-70)
88. Billy Hurley III +3 (69-74)
1. Tom Lovelady – 325.3 (T45)
2. Nick Watney – 324.2 (T66)
3. Robert Garrigus – 312.5 (T45)
1. Stewart Cink – 24/28, 85.7% (T28)
1. Kyle Stanley – 24/28, 85.7% (T36)
3. Francesco Molinari – 23/28, 82.1% (T4)
3. Brian Gay – 23/28, 82.1% (T1)
3. Kevin Streelman – 23/28, 82.1% (T7)
3. Kiradech Aphibarnrat – 23/28, 82.1% (T45)
1. Francesco Molinari – 33/36, 91.7% (T4)
2. Billy Horschel – 32/36, 88.9% (T4)
3. Beau Hossler – 30/36, 83.3% (T1)
3. Kevin Streelman – 30/36, 83.3% (T7)
3. Andrew Landry – 30/36, 83.3% (T11)
VIDEO: SHOT OF THE DAY
Tiger Woods chips in for a birdie on the par-4 18th hole. From the bowl area on the right side of the green, Woods hit what he calls a “cut spinner.”
“I think if you get it in the fairway you can attack certain hole locations, but the key for me, you know, and Brian Gay, who I played with, we have to drive it in the fairway because we’re not the longest players on Tour. If we hit in the fairway, we can execute our iron shots pretty close to the hole.”
– Ryan Armour