Bryson DeChambeau lying way down on the leader board after the first round moved into sole lead with a round of 8-under 64 despite a double bogey. His round built on the five birdies in a six hole stretch around the turn put him one shot ahead of the ever-impressive Collin Morikawa, who followed his first round 68 with a second round 66.
Significant for DeChambeau was that he was one clear of a group that included Brooks Koepka (67-67), who had inflicted on him a massive 5 and 3 defeat in a one-on-one 12 hole ‘Made for TV ‘ match. A win here would be some consolation for that loss.
DeChambeau didn’t speak after his round, but when asked about a possible pairing with Koepka in the final round, the former told the Golf Channel “That would be sweet.”
Koepka with six birdies in his second straight 67, on the other hand said, “I already proved everything.” That was a reference to the one-on-one match he won.
The trio one shot behind DeChambeau also included Tony Finau who does not often enough for the number of times he puts himself into contention.
DeChambeau was 11-under while Koepka, Morikawa and Finau were 10-under.
Daniel Berger, one of the three co-leaders after 18 holes stayed in the frame with 3-under 69 and was 9-under and two behind DeChambeau.
Making a good move up was Sam Burns, whose 65 was the next best score to DeChambeau. Tied with Burns for sixth was Tyrrell Hatton (67).
Rory McIlroy (66-71) made a rare score of over 70 and slipped down the leader board to T-8 in a 3-man group alongside Viktor Hovland (68-69) and Patrick Reed (68-69).
DeChambeau was looking set for a bigger lead – at one stage he was three clear of Morikawa. After finding 15 straight greens in regulation he missed the one on 16 and that led to a double bogey. Yet he showed his determination by landing the next ball from the tee to three feet on Par-3 17th for a birdie and stay ahead.
Bryson’s bull charge began with a birdie on the par-5 sixth, and then went on a birdie binge,. The only hole he didn't birdie over the next hour was the par-3 12th. On the reachable par-4 14th he almost made to the green. He picked a birdie there.
McIlroy was unable to find that rhythm he needed to keep in the lead pack. He was within range of the leaders until the double bogey on the 14th. He recovered back with two birdies, only to drop a shot on the 18th for a 71.
McIlroy plays with Reed with the former looking to revenge for the loss in the Ryder Cup singles match at Hazeltine and at the Masters, which was also won by Reed.
Morikawa was three-under for the front nine and added one more on 11th before dropping a bogey on 12th. Then he went on a run with birdies on 13th and 14th and an eagle on Par-5 15th. He reached 11-under, but was unable to find birdies on 16th and 17th and dropped a shot on 18th.
A victory on Sunday would make Morikawa World No. 1 before he reaches 25 but he will hold that position only for one week before Jon Rahm reclaims it without playing because of a two-year rolling formula. Yet an ascent to No. 1 would be another feather in Morikawa’s cap.
The live telecast of the event brought to you by Hero MotoCorp, can be seen on Eurosport India. The timings are:
Round 3: Dec 4/5: 10.30 pm to 3 am
Round 4: Dec 5/6: 10 pm to 3 am
The scores – after Round 2 at the Par-72 Albany Golf Club course
133: DeChambeau (69-64)
134: Morikawa (68-66); Finau (68-66); Koepka (67-67)
135: Berger (66-69)
136: Burns (71-65), Hatton (69-67)
137: Hovland (68-69), Reed (68-69) ; McIlroy (66-71)
139: Scheffler (7j1-68), Thomas (67-72); Simpson (67-72); Ancer (66-73)
140: Schauffele (70-70)
141: Rose (71-70); Fitzpatrick (71-70)
143: Spieth (71-72)
145: English (75-70)
146: Stenson (72-75
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