Bryson DeChambeau soars into 3M Open lead after lowest round of PGA Tour career
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 06/07/19 7:16am
Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed a career-best day as he opened up a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the inaugural 3M Open in Minnesota.
DeChambeau fired a superb nine-under 62 and completed 36 holes without a single bogey on his scorecard to hit the front on 14-under par and put himself on course for his first PGA Tour win of 2019, while world No 1 Brooks Koepka almost suffered a surprise early exit.
World No 8 DeChambeau posted an early clubhouse target that was not threatened for the remainder of the round, although Adam Hadwin did get within two late in the day when he birdied two of the last three holes to cap a 66.
But DeChambeau will be a strong favourite heading into the weekend as he found a good rhythm in all departments of his game, following an early birdie at the long 12th with 20-foot putts for further gains at 13 and 15.
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The American holed from similar range for a three at the first before his precise approach play set up close-range birdie putts at two of the next three holes and, after a routine birdie at the long sixth, his red-hot putting continued as he nailed two more attempts from outside 20 feet on the next two greens.
A cast-iron four at his final hole wrapped up the lowest score of his PGA Tour career, and DeChambeau is looking forward to producing more of the same over the weekend.
"Doing that inspires me to even do better over the weekend," said DeChambeau. "I know I can do it. I know I still left a couple out there, lipped out on a couple short putts. Although I made a lot of putts, I'm not going to take that for granted.
"Whenever I can roll a couple of putts in from 20 feet or more, that gives you a lot of confidence for the game, and when you're striking it well and driving it where you're looking, that's obviously very positive.
"I know it's cliche to say that, but it's just what it is unfortunately. I kind of got into a rhythm a little bit, in the zone, and it just feels good sometimes."
Hadwin did well to claim outright second on 12 under as the Canadian recovered from a shaky start to his second round, starting the back nine with three consecutive birdies before picking up further shots at 16 and 18.
Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer who admitted he hit "rock bottom" after a poor finish at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago following five straight missed cuts, goes into the weekend in a share of third place on 10 under after he added a 67 to his opening 65.
Koepka will get to play the weekend despite slipping to three under after a 72 which was blighted by an ugly triple-bogey eight at the 18th that looked likely to end his tournament.
The four-time major champion arrived on the 18th tee on a high after knocking a towering mid-iron to three feet for his first birdie of the round at the short 17th - his eighth - but he then blocked his drive at 18 into water and compounded the error with a duffed chip as he needed six shots just to find the green.
Facing an early exit less than two weeks before The Open, Koepka rallied with birdies at the second and fourth and parred in to sneak inside the cut line along with Jason Day, who needed three closing birdies to avoid a weekend off.
Koepka and Day were packing their bags until Day's fellow Aussie Cameron Davis, playing in the final group of the day, made a mess of a bunker escape at his final hole and ran up a triple-bogey seven to miss the cut himself - his late mistakes handing reprieves to 16 players on three under.
Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, crashed out on five-over par after managing only one birdie in a 73, which included bogey-sixes at the sixth and 18th holes where he found water on each - the first from just six feet after an attempt to hack his ball into play from deep rough close to the hazard went horribly wrong.