After 36 holes, Zach Johnson and Ryan Moore are tied at 9 under par and will head into the weekend with a share of the lead at the Valero Texas Open.
Beginning on No. 10, the 42-year old Johnson reeled off four-consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-15 to turn at 31. After a birdie on the 10th and a hole-out eagle on the par-4 5th, the two-time Valero winner was at 8 under with four holes to play, but a finish of par-par-par-bogey saw Johnson sign for a co-low round 65.
“I felt really good coming into the week. I had done some really good work both fundamentally on the range, I did some really good work with everybody at PXG to get me the right stuff in my hands,” said Johnson, who has posted one top 10 this season (RSM Classic in the wrap around).
“Confidence was there, it just wasn’t showing up on the scorecard.”
Looking for his first win since the 2015 Open Championship, Johnson finished his second day in San Antonio with a single blemish offset by six birdies and an eagle.
Moore, meanwhile, closed with birdies on 14, 15, and 17 to post a bogey-free 5-under 67 and join Johnson at 9-under par, one clear of Andrew Landry, who overcame a bogey on his first hole to card six birdies and a second-day 67.
“The irons were great. My iron play really has been great ever since switching to the new set of irons, the PXG GEN2 irons, my distance control’s been incredible,” said Moore, who finished T16 last week at Harbour Town.
“And really, around this golf course that’s what matters is the right distance. You can get in some pretty tough spots if you’re long and short.
“So I kind of hit it the right distance all day and give myself plenty of good birdie opportunities and didn’t stress myself out too much with too many up-and-downs.”
Landry sits T3 at 8 under, alongside first-round leader Grayson Murray, who offset three bogeys with six birdies to sign for a 69.
Ben Crane (66) birdied five of his first eight holes en route to a two-day score of 6-under 138, alongside Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) at T5.
Making his pro debut, former world No. 1 amateur Joaquin Niemann shot a second-round 70 to make the cut at 2-under par. He sits T25.
1 Zach Johnson -9
1 Ryan Moore -9
3 Andrew Landry -8
3 Grayson Murray -8
5 Ben Crane -6
5 Martin Laird -6
5 David Hearn -6
8 Chris Kirk -5
8 Billy Horschel -5
8 Keegan Bradley -5
8 Denny McCarthy -5
8 Chesson Hadley -5
“It’s great equipment. The new irons that they’ve made that we’ve been playing now for a little while are phenomenal, they really are. The new GEN2 irons are incredible and my iron play’s been showing it this year. It’s definitely improved a little bit, my distance control’s improved a little bit and that makes a difference out here. Just being able to be closer to the hole and being the right distance on a golf course like this matters a lot.”
– Ryan Moore on PXG irons (also played by Zach Johnson)
Credit: Getty Images, PGA Tour Media