Russell Henley fired his second straight round of 8-under 63 to build a three-shot lead at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on Friday in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
For the second straight day, Henley piled up eight birdies without a bogey. At 16-under 126, he established a cushion over Sam Ryder (65) and Will Gordon (67), who were tied for second at 13 under.
Henley started his round at El Camaleon Golf Club on the back nine and made four birdies on each side. He rolled in three in a row at Nos. 11-13 and Nos. 6-8.
“It starts off the tee,” Henley said. “There’s some intimidating tee shots for me and I just am trying to just commit to what I’m doing and commit to trying a great shot. Just being in a good head space for those tee shots is a good start.”
Gordon was the leader after an opening-round 62. He had a bogey-free card but just four birdies Friday.
Ryder, meanwhile, shot a 7-under 29 on the front nine with seven birdies but ran out of steam, bogeying Nos. 10 and 16 on the way to his 65.
“I came out and just didn’t really miss much on the front, was playing really solid, driving it well, making some putts is always nice, had one chip-in, pretty simple,” Ryder said. “Then kind of just got a little loose on the back and this place kind of, with a little bit more wind, it can be a little bit nervier off the tee. So I think I just, I kind of got a little out of sync there, but I managed it pretty well.
“And it was kind of the tale of two nines for me, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with the way I got it around and just going to kind of continue to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Ryder and Gordon are searching for their first wins on the PGA Tour.
Patton Kizzire shot his second straight 65 to get to fourth place at 12 under. Sweden’s David Lingmerth (66) is in fifth at 11 under.
Harry Higgs shot the round of the day, a 9-under 62, to leap into a tie for sixth at 10 under with Brian Harman (66) and Scotland’s Martin Laird (67). Higgs stayed bogey-free and holed out from 86 yards for eagle at the par-4 third to go with seven birdies.
“I thought it was going to be really good, so I said — all I said was ‘in,’ and that’s usually the curse,” Higgs said. “It either will like fly in the hole and come out or it will lip out. Fortunately, I called for it early and it fell in the hole.”
World No. 9 Collin Morikawa shot a bogey-free 63, including four straight birdies at Nos. 4-7, to move away from the cut line and up to a tie for 14th at 8 under.
“This golf course, the way it’s playing, you can post two really good low ones on the weekend,” Morikawa said. “I’m definitely going to need that if I’m going to be in contention, but after today I’m feeling pretty good.”
Sixty-eight players made the cut of at least 4 under. Notable names to miss the cut included Tony Finau (3 under), Jason Dufner (3 under) and England’s Justin Rose (1 under).
–Field Level Media