Nate Lashley retains Rocket Mortgage Classic lead as big guns miss cut
Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland fail to make it through to the weekend in Detroit
Last Updated: 28/06/19 11:49pm
Nate Lashley added a five-under 67 to his opening 63 to retain the lead after the second round of the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The world No 353, who failed to qualify for the tournament on Monday but was added to the field as first alternate after David Berganio withdrew on Wednesday, continued to rattle in the birdies at Detroit Golf Club as he moved to 14-under 132 at the halfway stage.
The 36-year-old American is one clear of Cameron Champ with Charles Howell III a further shot back in third and Ryan Armour and JT Poston, who fired a 63, sharing fourth place on 11 under.
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Lashley was one of many players to go low in ideal scoring conditions in Michigan, but a number of the star names in the field failed to make an impact and will have the weekend off.
With the cut coming at four under, US Open champion Gary Woodland and world No 2 Dustin Johnson missed out by two shots after rounds of 69 and 71 respectively.
Bubba Watson and Chez Reavie, last week's Travelers Championship winner, struggled to rounds of 75 and 78 respectively to finish one further back on one under.
Lashley started with a birdie at the 10th but then made his first bogey of the week at the 11th before getting back on track with birdies at the 15th and 17th.
He added back-to-back gains at the first and second to join Champ at the top of the leaderboard and another birdie at the seventh secured him the outright lead overnight.
Champ, who has struggled for form in recent months following his Sanderson Farms Championship victory in October, blitzed the front nine with six birdies and an eagle at the seventh to turn in just 28.
But two bogeys and just one more birdie on the back nine gave him a seven-under 65.
"[My game] is coming together great," he said. "I'm putting a lot of good quality shots together. My mistakes are very minimal so I'm just going to keep at the same game plan for the next two days and we will see what happens. I really didn't give myself enough quality looks [on the back nine] but the front nine was definitely a fun nine holes.
"It's been a little bit of a struggle the last month and a half for me but I've been working hard at it. You just have to let things happen and the last few days have been pretty solid."
Rickie Fowler carded a second successive 68 and is six off the lead on eight under, where he is alongside Luke Donald.
Donald's sole blemish in a three-under 69 came at his final hole, the ninth where he missed a short putt, but the Englishman was content with his performance and has his eye on one of the qualifying spots for The Open.
There are two places available for Royal Portrush for the leading two finishers in the top eight who are not already exempt for the major.
Donald said: "I'm driving it pretty solidly out there which is the thing I've been working on a lot in the last few months and it's good to see some progress with that. I hit a lot of greens and could have gone quite a bit lower the last few days, so all good signs there.
"I've got my sights on trying to get in the mix for Sunday and give myself a chance to qualify for The Open. There's a couple of spots here this week and I'd love to be part of that field."