Tyrrell Hatton of England had the best day of them all.
Hatton (pictured) birdied four of his first six holes and then sank four long putts coming home en route to a six-under-par 65 and is tied for the lead with Nate Lashley and Wyndham Clark midway through the 19th Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
“They’re not the type of putts that you hole consistently, so to finish the round that way, I’m obviously very pleased with that,” said the 31-year-ols Hatton, who has won 10 times as a professional. “It’s always nice to see some putts go in.
“I have no idea (why I play well on difficult golf courses). I mean, I guess with my mental approach from the outside looking in, you’d suggest that they wouldn’t be great for me, but I always try my best and yeah, this week it’s a tough golf course.
“Tomorrow’s a new day. You have new feels, you try and get comfortable again and go out there and try our best. To be honest, I won’t really think about it until we start hitting balls 40 minutes before our tee time tomorrow.”
Hatton, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational, finished on the front nine, capping his round with four straight putts of 25 feet or more, two for birdies, one for a par and the other for a 26-foot eagle at No. 7.
Clark, who is seeking his first pro victory, posted a second straight 67 and highlighted his round with a 27-foot eagle putt on the seventh hole, while Lashley birdied three of the first seven holes in a bogey-free 66.
“The shot there (into No. 7 to set up the eagle) was very lucky and unbelievable,” said Clark, who lost to Brian Gay in a playoff at the 2020 Bermuda Championship. “We were trying to hit it left of it. I was trying obviously to hit a cut, but I was not trying to go for the green. It kept cutting and kept cutting and kind of knuckled on me, and ended up on the green. Then, yeah, I hit that putt firm, so glad it hit the hole.”
Said Lashley, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic: “I drove the ball in the fairway, hit some solid iron shots, in addition to getting up-and-down for par when I need to, and made some putts. Any time you get a round at Quail Hollow with no bogeys, it’s a great round.”
Fifth-seeded Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, mad two birdies down the stretch in a 69 and is one stroke back in a big tie for fourth with J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State, whose fifth birdie of the day at No. 18 gave him a 67; Justin Thomas, who won the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, and on this day had three birdies on each nine in a 67; 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia, who birdied his last hole for a 68; Sungjae Im of South Korea, who made three birdies on each nine in a 66, and Adam Svensson of Canada, who holed out a 56-yard shot from a greenside bunker for an eagle at No. 7 in a 67.
Tommy Fleetwood of England, the first-round leader a 65, could manage only two birdies in a 71 and is two shots behind in a tie for 10th with Michael Kim of San Diego and Cal, who had seven birdies in a second straight 68, and K.H. Lee of South Korea, who had two birdies on his back nine to salvage a 70.
Seventh-ranked Mx Homa of Valencia and Cal, the defending champion, had four straight birdies down the stretch in a 67 and is tied for 13th, fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA is tied for 20th after a 71, and sixth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England made three birdies on the back nine in a 70 and is tied for 29th.
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland struggled to a 73 with only two birdies and is tied for 55th, making the cut right on the number, while 10th-ranked Jordan Spieth stumbled to a 77 with only two birdies and missed he weekend by eight strokes.
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