Carson Young stretches lead in PGA's Puerto Rico Open
PGA Tour rookie Carson Young relied on his short game on Friday to post a 5-under 67 and build a four-shot lead going into the weekend at the Puerto Rico Open.
The 28-year-old didn't quite have the theatrics as his opening round of three eagles that carried him to a 63, but he still put himself in great position as he goes after his first tour win.
"I didn't quite have it like I did yesterday, but it was still good," Young said. "My tee shots weren't quite the way I wanted them today, I got into trouble a good bit, but my short game really saved me today."
What stood out was holing a bunker shot for birdie on the par-3 sixth hole - his 15th of the day at Grand Reserve Golf Club - and another birdie on the par-3 eighth hole that gave him a cushion. He finished with a bogey on No. 9.
Young was at 14-under 130.
Another tour rookie, Nico Echavarria of Colombia, had a 67 and was four shots back along with Paul Haley II (66).
Ryan Gerard had a 67 and was six shots behind in a tie for sixth. Gerard earned the last spot in the field at the Honda Classic last week in a Monday qualifier, and then finished fourth to earn a spot in Puerto Rico.
Now he has a late tee time on the weekend in pursuit of a win that would change his career trajectory in a hurry. If he finishes in the top 10 again, he would get into the field at the Valspar Championship in two weeks.
"I feel like the last week-and-a-half has been just a rollercoaster," Gerard said. "Just not really knowing what I'm getting into, playing well, quick turnaround, flying, it's been really cool."
Young also has some momentum. He shared the 18-hole lead in the Honda Classic before falling back, though his tie for 29th was his best finish of his rookie season.
Australia's Geoff Ogilvy rose to tied 11th after his second-round 68. He is at seven under for the tournament, among a group of six.
The 45-year-old would have got much closer to the lead had it not been for a double bogey on the par-4 12th and another dropped shot on the 5th, to go with six birdies.
Compatriot Greg Chalmers had a disappointing 74 to go with his opening 69, to make the one-under cut on the line.
The Puerto Rico Open is held opposite the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which has attracted every PGA Tour member from the top 50 in the world.
The winner won't get an invitation to the Masters, but it secures a spot in the PGA Championship and a two-year tour exemption.