Nate Lashley, who got into the Rocket Mortgage Classic as an alternate, showed that his opening 63 was no fluke.
The 36-year-old Lashley, who held the outright overnight lead for the first time on the PGA Tour, followed that up with a 4-under-par 67 and maintained a one-stroke lead over rookie Cameron Champ at Detroit Golf Club http://www.detroitgolfclub.org.
“It was a real good day; I hit a lot of fairways and greens,” said Lashley, who has won 10 times as a pro, but not on the big tour. “I had a lot of opportunities on the greens, made some and missed some, but it was another good day and I’m pleased with my round.
“The wind came up for a few holes but then it died down again. Overall, it’s been two nice days out there. I just want to keep playing the way I am, continue to hit it straight down the fairways and to the green, and make some putts. That’s the name of the game.”
Lashley made his only bogey in the tournament so far on the 11th hole, but carded three birdies on each nine and posted a 36-hole score of 14-under 130, again the first time he has led after 36 holes on the PGA Tour.
Champ, a native of Sacramento, birdied five straight holes through No. 6 before sinking a seven-foot eagle putt on the seventh hole, and would have been tied for the lead had he not made a bogey on No. 17 while shooting 65.
“I got things going, had some good looks and got the putter going,” said Champ, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship early this season but has struggled at times since. “I hit some quality shots and made a great eagle on 7. When you get on a run like that, you want to keep it together. On the backside, I shot 1-over but didn’t think I didn’t played that bad, had some good looks, but didn’t make them.
“Golf has a lot of highs and a lot more lows. I won early and got a lot of attention that was new to me. I wish I could have handled it better mentally, but it was a good learning experience and that will help me get over it. I’ve been working hard and it’s nice to see it pay off.”
Charles Howell III, who ended an 11-year victory drought by winning the RSM Classic earlier this season, had four birdies on the front nine in a 67 and is two shots back in third, while J.T. Poston collected 10 birdies in a 63 and is one more down in a tie for fourth with Ryan Armour, who had two late bogeys in a 69.
Joaquin Niemann, 20, of Chile, made four birdies on each nine in a 66 and is four strokes behind in a tie for sixth with Byeong Hun An of South Korea, who made a nine-foot eagle putt on the seventh hole in another 66, Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia, who had five early birdies but settled for a 69, Harris English, who came in at 68, and Peter Malnati, who made six birdies on the back nine in yet another 66.
Rickie Fowler of Murrieta shot a second 68 and is tied for 21st, but several of the big names in the field won’t be around for the weekend.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson finished at 71 and Gary Woodland, coming off his victory in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, had a 69, but both missed the cut by three strokes.
Chez Reavie, who won the Travelers Championship last week, stumbled to a 78 and Bubba Watson had a 71, both missing the weekend by four shots.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html