Joaquin Niemann, Kyle Stanley share lead at Memorial

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Joaquin Niemann, Kyle Stanley share lead at Memorial

PGA Tour

Joaquin Niemann, Kyle Stanley share lead at Memorial

Here is a recap of Friday’s second round at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio:

LEADING: Most 19-year-olds would struggle in this position. But Joaquin Niemann isn’t most 19-year-olds.

Niemann began Friday tied for the lead and ended it there, too, as he buried an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th to close out a 4-under 68 and his first 36 holes at 11 under. He shares the spot at the top with Kyle Stanley, who made eight birdies on his way to a second-round 66.

Both did it despite during their rounds dealing with an afternoon delay (due to inclement weather) that lasted nearly 90 minutes.

Stanley, 30, made a name for himself in 2012 when he triple bogeyed the 72nd hole at the Farmers Insurance Open to turn a sure victory (a three-shot lead at the last) into defeat (a playoff loss) and somehow came back the very next week and won the Waste Management Phoenix Open for his first PGA Tour title.

A young star in the making, Stanley then underwent a five-year win drought. He snapped it at the 2017 Quicken Loans National. But his play immediately afterward didn’t stack up, as his best finish the rest of the season was a T-20.

His 2017-18 has been better, as he’s already posted three top 10s.

Niemann is the ultra-talented teenager who is a former World Amateur No. 1. The Chilean turned pro right after this year’s Masters and continued to wow when he closed in a pair of 67s to finish sixth in his pro debut at the Valero Texas Open.

He missed his next two cuts, but Niemann then tied for eighth at Colonial. In just his fifth PGA Tour start as a pro, he’s already chasing special temporary status and would get it with a solo seventh or a three-way tie for sixth at Memorial.

Of course, a win this week would earn him way more than that. We’ll get a look at how the teenager will deal with sleeping on a lead heading into the weekend of a big-time PGA Tour event.

CHASING: Byeong Hun An is solo third at 9 under while five players are tied for fourth at 8 under. That group consists of Jason Day (who considers Muirfield Village his home course), Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau, J.B. Holmes and Wesley Bryan. Beau Hossler doubled bogeyed his final hole but is still tied for ninth at 7 under. Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are also at 7 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Tiger Woods holed out for eagle on Friday. So yeah…

QUOTABLE: “I did not putt well today. It could have been easily a nice little 62 or 63. I turned it into a 67.” – Woods, on his second round at Memorial

SHORT SHOTS: Dustin Johnson fires a 66 to jump 33 spots to a tie for 14th at 6 under. … Woods misses five putts inside 8 feet and is -3.686 in strokes gained: putting on the day and yet fires a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for 24th at 5 under overall. It was a bit of a wacky day from the 14-time major champion. … Phil Mickelson plays his final nine (the front nine) in 30 for a second-round 66. He’s T-35 at 4 under. … Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler are both T-44 at 3 under. … Rory McIlroy fires a 70 to make the cut on the number at Even par. … Jordan Spieth goes 75-72 to comfortably miss the cut at 3 over. … The defending champion also misses the weekend, as Jason Dufner finishes his week at 4 over.

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