(Reuters) – Bryson DeChambeau fired a PGA Tour career best round of nine-under-par 62 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend at the inaugural 3M Open.
The 25-year-old American bagged nine birdies to vault up the leaderboard and was 14-under after 36 bogey-free holes at the TPC Twin Cities course in Minnesota.
“Whenever I can roll in a couple putts in from 20 feet or more, that gives you a lot of confidence with the game,” the world number eight said after his 62 tied the course record.
“And then when you’re striking it well and driving it where you’re looking, that’s very positive. You kind of get into a rhythm, into a zone, and it feels good.”
Canada’s Adam Hadwin came through back-to-back bogeys early in his round with a strong showing on the back nine to add a 66 to the 64 he shot in the first round.
The 31-year-old is 12-under for the tournament, two back of DeChambeau and in sole possession of second place.
Americans Scott Piercy, Sam Saunders, Brian Harman and Sam Burns were tied for third at 10-under.
DeChambeau, who is playing the course for the first time, said that going into the tournament he thought his current score would be good enough to walk away as a winner.
“When I got onto the course I thought 15 or 14 would be the number for the week but I’ve got to re-evaluate that now,” said the former U.S. Amateur champion, who is hunting for his sixth career PGA Tour title.
The shot of the day belonged to Charles Howell III, whose approach from 80 yards at the par-four seventh sailed over the flag before rolling back into the hole for his second eagle in a round of 66.
Howell, who was grouped with DeChambeau and Keegan Bradley, finished the day in a tie for 11th at eight-under.
World number one Brooks Koepka was at three-under after a 72 to just make the cut but five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic winner Nate Lashley were among whose tournament came to an early end.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney)