Harry Hall of England realizes the position he is in but hopes to keep an even keel.
The 25-year-old Hall, a rookie seeking his first PGA Tour victory, shot four-under-par 66 to take a three-stroke lead over Harris English midway through the 77th Charles Schwab Challenge at famed Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
“You have to manage nerves for the rest of your life,” said Hall, who admitted he had butterflies on the front nine after taking a three-shot lead with an opening 62. “They never go away. All the little tools that I’ve created in the last few years of professional golf, they’ll probably be escalated and there will be new challenges tomorrow, and you’ve got to accept that.
“I just was trying to stay in the moment out there and taking one shot at a time, and I did that really well. I’m happy with the composure I had and the patience I had and the acceptance I had. I got off to a tricky start, one-over through the first five, and managed to in the middle of my round to make four birdies in a row, so that was really nice. I kind of did it without knowing I did it really.
“I don’t think I’ve played my best golf this year on the PGA Tour yet, but I think it’s arrived this week, and hopefully I can keep it going for the next two days.”
Hall, whose only professional victory came in the 2022 NV5 Old National Bank Invitational on the Korn Ferry, reeled off four straight of his six birdies through the run and en route to a 36-hole score of 12-under-par 128.
English hit the shot of the day when he made a hole in one with a nine iron from 170 yards, the ball bouncing once before landing in the hole, and he added two birdies in a bogey-free 66, after opening with 65.
“I told my caddie. I don’t think anyone’s beating us through the first two days on No. 8,” said English, who claimed the last of his four PGA Tour victories in the 2021 Travelers Championship but is coming back from hip surgery. “It was just a really good number today. Just one of those shots where I had to hit a 9-iron really full, and it came off just like I wanted to and luckily went in the hole
“I just feel like my game’s trending in the right direction. I like golf courses like this where par is a good score. With the greens firming up, it’s getting pretty tough to control your ball, and I like it when it gets tough. I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens. When I did get in trouble off the tee or around the green, I got up and down. I made a really nice par save on No. 9.
“I’m excited for the weekend.”
Emiliano Grillo of Argentina collected five birdies on the back nine in a 65 that was the low score of the day and his four shots behind in solo third, while Byeong Hun An of South Korea had five birdies and is single bogey in a 66 and is five down in tie for fourth with Adam Schenk, who made five birdies in a 67, and Robby Shelton, who played bogey-free in another 67.
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler holed out from 27 feet for a birdie at No. 17 and added two other birdies but seemingly couldn’t make a put in his bogey-free 67 and is six down in a tie for seventh with Andrew Novak, who made three birdies on the front nine in a bogey-free 66.
Justin Rose of England made three birdies down the stretch in a bogey-free 66 and is seven shots behind in a tie for ninth with Austin Eckroat, who four of his first seven holes in another 66, and Carson Young, who had three birdies on each nine in another 66.
Seventh-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal birdied the last hole for a 69 and is tied for 12th, while defending champion Sam Burns is tied for 19th after making four birdies on the front nine in a 70, and sixth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway sank a 23-foot eagle putt on the first hole en route to a 68 and is tied for 39th.
Media darling Michael Block, Head Teaching Professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, finished his two-week run on the PGA Tour by shooting four-over par 74 to finish last and missed the cut by 14 strokes after an opening 81.
The 46-year-old Block, who made a hole in one and tied for 15th in PGA Championship last week, had no regrets.
“Appreciation for everybody is beyond for me,” said Block, a nine-time SCPGA Player of the Year. “I appreciate everybody that’s shown their support. The people here, the pros here, the members here, the volunteers here, and the fans have been amazing.
“I think I felt the wrath of the golf gods this week, which I get it,” Block said. “I completely get it, and I don’t blame them for it because they gave me a lot of positive things last week.”
Block will be back teaching on the range on Monday.
For complete results and tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard