Marc Leishman apparently has not heard that it’s supposed to be difficult to back up a great round with even a real good one.
One day after posting a career-best 61, the 34-year-old Aussie came back with a 5-under-par 66 and leads by one stroke over rookie Aaron Wise midway through the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.
“The course was a bit tougher today, it was a little more windy and the pins were harder to reach,” said Leishman, who has three victories on the PGA Tour, including two last season. “However, you could still score out there. Everybody in our group was at 66 or better, so you can feed on that, let them drag you along.
“I just want to keep hitting fairways and putt the way I have the first two days. There’s a lot of golf left to be played.”
Leishman, who birdied four of the first five holes while finishing on the front nine, carded a 36-hole score of 15-under 127.
Wise, 21, the 2016 NCAA champion for Oregon from Lake Elsinore in Southern California, sank an 18-foot eagle putt on the 14th hole and added six birdies in a bogey-free 63 after tying for second in his last start two weeks ago the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I knew it was going to play tougher today with the wind up and no trees here to block it,” said Wise, who won three times on development pro tours in the last two years. “But I hit some real nice shots and got some putts to drop.
“I’m in a good spot going to the weekend. This is my second straight tournament where I’m playing in the final group on Saturday, and that’s good experience.”
Brian Gay collected 10 birdies, including six on the back nine in a 62 and is two shots back in solo third, while Kevin Na of Diamond Bar had three straight birdies through No. 3 while finishing a 65 on the front nine and is four behind in a tie for fourth with Jimmy Walker, who shot 67, and Eric Axley, who posted a bogey-free 65.
Adam Scott of Australia, who won the Byron Nelson in 2008, also had a flawless 65 and is another stroke down in a tie for seventh with Martin Piller (63), Vaughn Taylor (64), Kevin Tway (65) and Matt Jones (65) of Australia.
Third-ranked Jordan Spieth recorded a 65 that included four straight birdies at one stage and is in a tie for 20th that includes ninth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who moved up 100 spots with a brilliant 63, while defending champion Billy Horschel is tied for 41st after a 69.
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