PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Joe Durant shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to increase his lead to two strokes in the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.
The 45-year-old Durant, a four-time tour winner, had a 12-under 130 total on the Mayakoba Resort’s Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course. He opened with a 64.
“I think the key today is I stayed very patient,” Durant said. “I bogeyed the first hole, but I said, ‘It’s a long day. Let’s be patient and give ourselves some opportunities.’ Birdied 12 and 13, so then I felt like I was rolling again.
“Last year I probably would not have been as patient as I was today.”
J.P. Hayes (67) was second, and Cameron Beckman (68) was another stroke back at 9 under. Tom Pernice Jr. (68) and Brian Stuard (67) were 8 under.
John Daly was tied for 17th at 5 under after a 69. David Duval, second last week at Pebble Beach, followed his opening 71 with a 79 to miss the cut.
Durant birdied his final two holes, the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth.
“The par 5, No. 8, was straight downwind. Made an easy birdie there,” Durant said. “And then nine, hit a good tee shot. Second shot was a little short. Had about probably a 30-footer, but made a really nice putt.”
Finishing in the rain, Hayes also closed with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9.
“The wind, first of all, was from a different direction, then the last four or five holes we got some rain,” Hayes said. “I think it always evens out, because some holes are downwind and some now into the wind. Definitely, I thought it was a little more difficult than yesterday.”
Hayes, a two-time Tour winner, had five birdies and a bogey.
“I managed my game really today. I wouldn’t say I hit it great, I just managed it well,” Hayes said. “Pretty much stayed out of trouble, except for one bad drive. Had to take a penalty shot on No. 5, which is going to happen out here. Overall, pretty good.”
He lives across the border in El Paso, Texas.
“I love Mexico,” he said. “This resort is fabulous. The players that haven’t been here need to come down and check it out, because it’s a great tournament on a great course at a great resort.”