Sweden’s Jonas Blixt shot his second straight seven-under 64 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
De Jonge followed his opening 62 with a 66 to match Blixt at 14-under 128 after two rounds in perfect conditions in the Fall Series opener.
“It’s a lot of things that makes me play well this week,” Blixt said. “I got my family in town, my brother and my sister, a couple friends from overseas, which makes it really relaxed. We’re renting a house together and just having a good time. I don’t think about golf at all coming off the golf course. Just hang out with them. It’s easy to think about something else when you’re in Las Vegas, right?”
Blixt and De Jonge are winless on the PGA Tour.
“I’ve been working a lot on my ball-striking the last few weeks when I’ve been off,” Blixt said. “It’s not really there yet, but I got a hot putter and it’s been helping me out a lot the last two days.”
Blixt birdied Nos. 15 and 16, made a double bogey on the par-three 17th, and finished with a birdie on 18. He also had an eagle on the par-four seventh hole.
“First of all, I don’t know why they always put water on 17, on the par-threes,” Blixt said. “Every single week, we play on par-threes ... It’s a great hole, but if I miss it’s left, so that’s why I don’t really appreciate it, but I just got a little fast and that’s why I missed. Tried to hit a little soft 6-iron in there.”
Ryan Moore, the Las Vegas resident who matched the TPC Summerlin record on Thursday with a 61, was a stroke back after a 68.
“It was a good, solid round,” Moore said. “I definitely would have liked to have seen a few more of those putts drop, but I hit good putts all day. They were just burning the edges, lipping out. All in all, I like my position going into the weekend.”
Daniel Summerhays and Tim Herron were 11-under. Summerhays had a 63, and Herron shot 68.
John Daly was 10-under after a 63, his lowest score of the year. At 132nd on the money list, the two-time major champion is trying to move into the top 125 to secure full playing privileges for next season.
Daly had eight birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to match Summerhays for the best round of the day.
“Today, I hit the ball really well and I putted good the last two days, which is good for me,” Daly said. “The greens are rolling really good, so it gives you an opportunity. If you make some putts you can play really well. This course gives you a lot more opportunities than most courses.”
Vijay Singh, Nick Watney, Chris Kirk and John Huh also were 10-under. Singh and Watney shot 66, Kirk had a 68 and Huh a 69.
Watney also lives in the area.
“It’s fun. It’s nice to play well at home,” Watney said. “I got a lot of friends and family out, so I’m looking forward to trying to put together a nice weekend.”
Defending champion Kevin Na was eight-under after a 66.
Casey Martin missed the cut with rounds of 71 and 74. Martin, playing on a sponsor exemption, is allowed to use a cart in competition because of a rare circulatory disorder in his right leg.
AP, CARY, North Carolina
Russ Cochran topped the SAS Championship leaderboard on Friday on his return to the Champions Tour from a back injury, hitting all hit all 18 greens in regulation and shooting a six-under 66.
Cochran, the 2010 tournament winner, is making his first start since the US Senior Open in July.
Steve Pate, Andrew Magee, Fred Funk and Jay Don Blake were a stroke back. Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May, missed a birdie putt on 18 by inches that would have given him a share of the lead.
“I had a really efficient front nine,” said Funk, who made the turn with a 30. “I got everything out of that front nine. Obviously, shooting five-under’s great. I’m playing really good. I’m playing solid, close to playing really, really good, and it’s more — it’s fun just to play.”
Magee extended his streak without a three-putt to 190 holes, the third-longest run on the Champions Tour this year.
Defending champion Kenny Perry and Bernard Langer topped a group at 68.