Patrick Rodgers of Stanford has never won on the PGA Tour, but has put himself in position to do so for the first time.
The 30-year-old Rodgers birdied five of the last six holes to cap a five-under par 67 and take a three-stroke lead over Corey Conners of Canada and Roberto Diaz of Mexico in the second round of the 93rd Valero Texas Open, which has halted by darkness for the second straight day on the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio on San Antonio Texas.
There will be 48 players returning early Saturday morning to complete round two before the cut is made and the third round begins.
“(Winning) is something I’ve always dreamt of, it’s the reason why I’m out here,” said Rodgers, who is playing in his 235th event on the PGAA Tour. “I love this job because I love to compete and I do my best to win a golf tournament every time I tee it up. I’m excited for the chance. This is, like I said, why I play. It’s going to be a really fun next couple of days.
“It’s a very demanding golf course. I think experience definitely makes me more comfortable around here. It’s demanding mentally because you know that on both sides of every hole there’s some pretty thick forest and some places you don’t want to be. It’s just been helpful to focus on where I’m trying to hit it and manage the golf course well and I’ve done a great job of that for two days.
“I love to make the rounds feel pretty seamless and easy.”
Rodgers, who tied Tiger Woods with 11 career victories at Stanford but whose only pro victory came in the 2015 Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship on what his now the Korn Ferry Tour, followed his opening 66 with a 67 and recorded a 36-hole score of 11-under 133.
Conners, who held the first-round lead with a bogey-free 64, made two bogeys and a double-bogey 5 on the 16th hole with a four-putt from inside four feet while shooting a disappointing 72 in the second round.
“A little mindless,” said Conners, who won this tournament in 2019, of his four-putt. “That was an unfortunate blemish on the scorecard. Certainly would like to have that over. But that’s how it goes. It was just really windy there. I just caught a bit of a gust on the first putt, a little mindless trying to knock in my bogey putt and it got away from me as well,
“ … It happens, but I feel like I’m rolling it well. I feel like I’ve hit a lot of really good putts throughout the first couple rounds and before that, so I just try to think more about those than I really dwell on the couple misses I had there.
“As usual, it all come down to what you do on the weekend.”
Diaz made four birdies in his flawless first 10 holes in the second round and is eight-under while playing No. 2 after starting on the back nine.
Michael Thompson collected five birdies in a 68 and is four shots behind in a tie for fourth with Brendon Todd, who was a bogey-free five-under through 15 holes for a total of eight-under.
Veteran Matt Kuchar, who opened with a 68, followed that with a 70 that included three birdies on the back nine and is five down in a tie for sixth with Eric Cole, who shot a bogey-free 67, and Thomas Detry of Belgium, who bounced back from an early bogey to card another 67 with birdies on the last two holes.
Nico Echavarria of Colombia collected six birdies in a bogey-free 66 and is five strokes behind in a tie for ninth with Michael Kim of San Diego and Cal, who finished at 71, Peter Malnati, who had two late birdies in a 72, and Chris Kirk, who made one birdie and one bogey in another 72.’
Luke List was four-under through 15 holes in round two and also in the tie for ninth at five-under for the tournament along with Augusto Nunez of Argentina, who was three-under through 11, and Harry Higgs, who was two-under after 10 holes.
Defending champion J.T. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State shot 73 and was in a tie for 49th.
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