Finau Shoots 62, Builds 4-Stroke Lead Over Rodgers in 75th Houston Open

Tony Finau picked up right where he finished round one, when he was tied for the lead at 65.

Finau, who birdied the last three holes on Thursday, tied his career-low of 8-under-par 62 to take a four-stroke lead over Patrick Rodgers in the second round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, Texas, where play was called late in the afternoon because of inclement weather.

There were 61 players still on the course when play was halted and they will return early Saturday to finish the second round before the cut is made and the third round gets underway.

“They set the tee boxes up to where we had to take advantage,” said Finau, who has claimed two of his four PGA Tour victories this year, but missed the cut last week at Mayakoba. “We got the better draw (in the morning). Thirty-six holes is a lot of golf left, and it’s trickier to score with a North wind. But I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I finished 5-under on my last nine holes yesterday and I just rolled that momentum right into today. I thought I made a huge putt for par on No. 1 and then I was kind of off to the races. I almost made a hole-in-one on No. 2 and just kind of was cruising from there. It was a really nice round of golf.

“I was not very sharp last week. I played some good stretches of golf mixed with a lot of bad stretches of golf, so I just wanted to be a little sharper and play some better golf and within myself. I’ve been able to do that these first couple days.”

Finau, who shot 62 four times previously in his career, started with a birdie at No. 10 and birdied the last three holes of the back nine before adding six more birdies on the front including three in a row at the finish to offset two bogeys while recording a score of 13-under 127.

Rodgers, who tied for third two weeks ago in Bermuda, made a two-foot eagle putt on the second hole after a brilliant approach shot from 234 yards before adding three birdies on each nine against a single bogey while shooting 63.

“It’s a fine line out here,” said Rodgers, who played at Stanford and won the 2015 Colombia Championship on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, but is seeking his first PGA Tour victory. “It takes a lot of patience. I can’t force a win out here on this tour and I can’t control the conditions and the breaks or what anyone else does.

“If I do a good job of focusing on what I can control and getting lost in my process of playing, I back myself every time.”

Rookie Tyler Alexander, who has won five times on lower tours, posted a second straight 66 and was five shots behind in a tie for third with first-round co-leader Alex Noren of Sweden, who was 8-under for the tournament and will have a 41-foot birdie putt waiting for him on the 16th hole when he returns in the morning.   

James Hahn of Alameda and Cal sank a 38-yard shot from the rough for an eagle at No. 3 and added another hole-out from 99 yards on the eighth hole for another eagle in a bogey-free 65 and was six down in a tie for fifth with Carl Yuan of China, who made four birdies on the first eight holes en route to a 66.

Aaron Rai of England sank a 32-foot shot from the left fairway for an eagle at No. 8 and added five birdies plus a single bogey in a 64 and was seven strokes behind in a big tie for seventh with Ben Griffin, who totaled 67, and Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, Wyndham Clark and Ben Taylor, who all finished at 68.

Aaron Wise of Lake Elsinore, who shared the first-round lead with Finau and Noren at 65, and Trey Mullinax both were 6-under for the tournament and part of the tie for seventh through 12 holes when play was stopped.

Second-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who can regain the No. 1 rankings by winning or finishing second, bounced back from an opening 70 with three birdies on his first seven holes after starting on the back nine, holed a 97-foot shot for an eagle on the third hole and was bogey free through 13 holes in a tie for 14th at 5-under when the end came.

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