Even the weather couldn’t prevent Lee Hodges from keeping his place.
Hodges, the first-round leader in the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities, came back from a 90-minute delay because of lightning and rain, to finish off a bogey-free, 7-under-par 64 and take a four-stroke lead over Tyler Duncan midway through the tournament.
Many players in the field are jockeying for position in the FedEx Cup point standings, because after next week’s Wyndham Championship, the top 70 players in points will qualify for the opener of the PGA Tour playoffs, the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Play was suspended for the night with 11 players still on the course and they will return to finish round three on Saturday morning before the third round begins.
“I’ve got a great attitude out there,” said Hodges, who has missed three cuts in his last four outings. “Me and my caddie (Andrew Medley), we’re 70-something on the points list, like what do we have to lose, you know? We’ve committed to every shot we’ve hit so far, which has been great. We’ll continue to do it, because what do we have to lose.”
The 28-year-old Hodges, whose only professional victory came in the 2020 WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Korn Ferry Tour and opened with a bogey-free 63, had three birdies on the front nine in round two and then birdied four of the last six holes to record a 36-hole total of 15-under-par 127.
Duncan, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 RSM Classic when he beat Webb Simpson with a birdie on the second playoff hole, made four birdies in his bogey-free 67 after opening with a flawless 64.
“You never know when it’s coming, but I’ve been putting in the work and you always hope it shows up,” said Duncan, who has missed the cut in six of his last eight tournaments and 17 of 27 this season. “But it doesn’t always show up when you want it to.”
Defending champion Tony Finau collected eight birdies in a second straight 66 and is five shots behind in a tie for third with J.T. Poston, who birdied three of his first eight holes en route to a bogey-free 66, Brand Snedeker, who started bogey-double bogey but then collected seven birdies in a 68, and Kevin Streelman, who played bogey-free in another 68.
David Lipsky of Los Angeles sank a two-foot eagle putt after a brilliant approach shot from 264 yards on the sixth hole and added six birdies in a 64 and is six behind in a tie for seventh with Billy Horschel, who carded a bogey-free 67, and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who had four birdies and one bogey in a 68.
J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State holed out from 55 feet for an eagle on the last hole to cap a 68 and is seven strokes back in a tie for 10th with Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion from Japan, who had three birdies and two bogeys in a 70, Keith Mitchell, who made seven birdies in a 66, and Callum Tarren of England, who birdied the last three holes for a 68.
Two-time major champion Justin Thomas, the 2017 FedEx Cup champion, made two double bogeys and finished at 69-71—140 to miss the cut by two strokes in a tie for 89th that also included Cameron Young, the 2021-22 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, who wound at 71-69—140.
Thomas started the tournament at 75th in the standings and now is in real danger of missing the playoffs.
For complete results, the FedEx Cup standings and third-round tee times, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.