A second straight round of 64 vaulted hometown favorite Scottie Scheffler into the lead at the AT&T Byron Nelson on Friday in McKinney, Texas.
The world No. 2 is a Dallas native and the highest-ranked player in the field by a long shot. At 14-under 128, Scheffler enters the weekend with a one-shot lead over Canadian Mackenzie Hughes, who also shot a 64 Friday, and Ryan Palmer (65). Si Woo Kim of South Korea is in fourth at 11 under after shooting a 66 Friday, and Richy Werenski (68) is fifth at 10 under.
Harrison Endycott of Australia matched Scheffler and Hughes for the round of the day with a 64; he joined a large tie for sixth at 9 under that included countryman Jason Day (69) and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan (67) among others.
After Scheffler posted two eagles Thursday, he picked up where he left off by starting his round with two birdies on the back nine of TPC Craig Ranch, each putt inside 10 feet. He soon added a 34-footer for birdie at the par-4 16th.
Birdies at Nos. 18, 3, 5 and 6 vaulted him to 7 under for his round. He made his lone misstep of the day with a bogey at No. 8, but he got it back at his closing hole, birdieing the par-5 ninth.
“I want to win a lot of tournaments. This one being in the hometown, it would definitely be a lot of fun with the crowd behind me this weekend,” Scheffler said.
“But that’s not stuff that occupies too many of my thoughts. I don’t want to place too many emphasis on one tournament. I just want to go out and do my best and see where that puts me.”
Scheffler isn’t the only one making the most of his hometown event. Palmer, a 46-year-old Texan who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs, posted seven birdies with just one bogey on Friday.
“It’s nice to shoot a good round after a really good round on Thursday. It’s hard to do,” Palmer said. “I hit the ball well today. I really feel like my ball-striking was a little better today than it was yesterday. Never really got in trouble, which was the key.”
Palmer — who hasn’t won a non-team event on tour since 2010 — would become eligible for next week’s PGA Championship with a win this week, but making the major was not his priority.
“I’d win this tournament and stay home next week, to be honest with you,” Palmer said. “That means more to me. If I get in next week, great, but winning on Tour, it’s the hardest thing to do … I wouldn’t have a problem winning and staying home and celebrating.”
Hughes has stayed bogey-free for two rounds, with seven birdies on Friday setting up his 64. He stuck his approach into the short par-4 sixth 3 feet of the cup, but he saved most of his fireworks for the end of the round.
At the par-4 16th, Hughes holed out for birdie from 50 yards off the green. He followed that on the par-3 17th with a 22-foot birdie putt.
“I kind of blocked my tee shot (at No. 16) and I had kind of a pathway to get it left of the green there, and that was kind of my best option,” Hughes said of his pitch-in. “Put it in a great spot and kind of had the whole length of the green to work with, so I felt like it was a good spot to get up-and-down for par and did one better.”
First-round leader S.Y. Noh of South Korea, who shot a 60 on Thursday, posted a 3-over 74 to fall into a tie for 14th at 8 under.
Stewart Cink, 49, shot a 6-under 65 to make the cut on the number at 4 under par. Two-time defending champion K.H. Lee of South Korea carded a 68 to make the cut at 4 under as well.
–Field Level Media