Patrick Reed watches his tee shot at the 13th hole of La Quinta Country Club Course during the second round of the Humana Challenge on Jan 17. He leads at the halfway point by two strokes. - AFP
PALM SPRINGS (AFP): Patrick Reed matched his PGA career-best round for the second day in a row, firing another nine-under par 63 Friday to grab a two-stroke lead at the $5.7 million PGA Humana Challenge.
The 23-year-old American fired eight birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey at La Quinta Country Club to stand on 18-under 126 after 36 holes in an event played over three courses at the PGA West complex.
"When you go over to La Quinta, the fairways are much more narrow so you're really focusing on small targets," Reed said. "I just got off to a good start hitting it, so I built confidence through the first two holes."
Reed's score is the lowest opening 36-hole total since Pat Perez opened 61-63 at this event in 2009 on the way to his first career title.
Reed opened with a birdie, followed with a bogey, then sandwiched birdies at the fourth and the par-5 sixth around an eagle at the par-5 fifth, hitting his second shot to five feet and sinking the eagle putt.
The first-round leader opened the back nine with a birdie, added another at the par-3 12th and ran off three birdies in a row starting at the par-3 15th to stay on top.
Reed, who had fired 63s only twice before on tour before shooting them twice in as many days, seeks his second PGA title, the first coming last year as a PGA rookie at Greensboro in the final event before the PGA's season-ending playoffs.
He could become only the second wire-to-wire winner in the event's 55-year history, the first being Rik Massengale in 1977.
American Brendon Todd, the only player without a bogey over the first two rounds, fired a PGA career-best 63 at the Arnold Palmer course to stand second on 128 with compatriot Ryan Palmer third another stroke back after a 65 at La Quinta.
Charlie Hoffman, another US standout, was on 130 after a 66 on the Jack Nicklaus course with countrymen Bill Haas and James Driscoll on 131, Charlie Beljan on 132 and Australian Matt Jones plus a pack of seven Americans on 133.
South Koreans Charlie Wi and Noh Seung-Yul were on 134 along with Americans Ben Crane, Jerry Kelly, Cameron Tringale and Martin Flores.
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa was among a dozen players on 135, a pack that also included Scotsmen Martin Laird and Russell Knox, Aussie Stuart Appleby and South African Rory Sabbatini.
American Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, aced the 180-yard, par-3 third hole on the Nicklaus course for the first hole in one of his PGA career.