Byrd (63) takes 1-shot lead at Timberlake
LAS VEGAS – Jonathan Byrd shot an 8-under 63 on Friday at rain-softened TPC Summerlin to take the second-round lead at 13 under in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
Byrd, seeking his fourth PGA Tour title, had nine birdies and a bogey in perfect scoring conditions in the fourth of five Fall Series events.
“This golf course, when it’s not firm, it takes a lot of teeth out of the golf course,” Byrd said. “And the hole location and the way the greens are shaped and everything. But the ball is not going quite as far. I’ve hit it very well the last two days. I’ve given myself a lot of options, and I’ve putted well.”
Ryuji Imada was a stroke back after a 62. He had an eagle, eight birdies and a bogey.
“It helps me to have softer greens, because I’m not a longer hitter,” Imada said. “And you know, it usually helps me quite a bit.”
Defending champion Martin Laird (62), Alex Prugh (64), John Senden (67), George McNeill (66) and Nicholas Thompson (66) were two strokes back at 11 under. Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler (64) topped a group at 10 under, and U.S. teammate Hunter Mahan was 7 under after a 68.
“Obviously, making the cut is kind of the first step to winning a tournament,” Fowler said. “So, we’re in good position going into the weekend. It would have been nice to play the par 5s a little bit better today but, all in all, a good run.”
Byrd, 117th on the money list, was upset about his bogey on the par-4 11th.
“I let it get to me just for a minute,” Byrd said. “I pulled it a little bit (off the tee) and I had a pretty easy shot; just kind of bumped – run it up from 100 yards on the green. I hit it over the green, bad chip, bad putt to make a bogey. And I came back with a great birdie on the next hole.
“I was starting to think, ‘Man, I gave one back.’ But then I came back with a birdie on the next hole and kind of got rid of that. That helped a lot.”
Imada, the 2008 AT&T Classic winner, is 101st on the money list, with the top 125 after the Children’s Miracle Network Classic next month in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., earning full status next year.
“I’ve been working hard to get my second PGA Tour victory, and you never know when that next chance comes around,” Imada said. “And this looks like it, so I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Laird, from Scotland, won in a playoff last year, beating George McNeill with a birdie on the third extra hole after Chad Campbell was eliminated on the second hole.
“It’s definitely the type of tournament you just have to keep firing, and even when you’re 5, 6 under par, you know that’s not good enough,” Laird said. “You’ve got to keep going at pins, and that’s what I did.”
The cut was at 4-under 138.