Kraft shoots 63, leads by 1 at Greenbrier

Kelly Kraft didn’t shoot 61, but 63 was good enough to lead on this day.

The 29-year-old Kraft carded eight birdies and followed an opening 6-under-par 64 with his 63 to take a one-stroke lead over Webb Simpson and Anirban Lahiri of India, who both have 61s this week, midway through the Military Tribune at the Greenbrier on the TPC Old White at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

“I made a lot of putts,” said Kraft, whose only professional victory came in the 2015 Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Tour. “I gave myself a lot of good looks and made a bunch of them. Any time you shoot 63, you have to do that. I just kept giving myself chances and they kept going in.

“I changed my attitude last week after missing the cut. I didn’t play that badly, just had a couple of bad breaks. I just want to keep playing good golf. It’s great any time you have the lead out here on the PGA Tour because these are the best players in the world.

“I’m just looking for two more low ones on the weekend.”

Kraft, who captured the 2011 U.S. Amateur, overcame his only bogey on the 12th hole with three late birdies to record a 36-hole score of 13-under 127.

Lahiri, who has 18 pro victories but none on the PGA Tour, matched Simpson’s first-round 61 with five birdies on the front nine and four more early on the back nine before finishing his second straight bogey-free round with four birdies.

“It was nice, it was a perfect day to go out there and play,” said Lahiri, who is coming off his two best finishes of the season, a tie for ninth in the Travelers Championship and a tie for 13th in the Quicken Loans National. “The greens were pure. Being out early, it was good to take advantage of the conditions.

“I’m just happy with the way I’m playing. I need to keep grinding. You can really be aggressive on the greens. If I keep myself in play I like the way the golf course sets up.

I’ve been feeling good the last two weeks. I’ve seen the improvement on the golf course

“More than anything else, I haven’t dropped a shot (this week).”

Simpson started on the front nine and went double bogey-bogey on the 12th and 13th holes, but rebounded with four birdies down the stretch to shoot 67.

Jason Kokrak had three birdies on each nine in a bogey-free 64 and is two shots back in fourth, while Harold Varner III also put up a flawless 64 and is one more down in a tie for fifth with Whee Kim of South Korea, who made three late birdies in a 68.

Sam Saunders carded a bogey-free 63 and is four behind in solo seventh, while Kevin Na of Diamond Bar did the same and is five back in a tie for eighth with defending champion Xander Schauffele (68) of La Jolla and San Diego State, Tyler Duncan (64), Ollie Schneiderjans (66), Billy Hurley III (66), Joaquin Niemann of Chile (69), Austin Cook (66) and Joel Dahmen (65).

Phil Mickelson shot 69 and is tied for 33rd.

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