Bryson DeChambeau shot an eight-under 64 second round to take the sole lead in the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course here on Friday.
DeChambeau carded six birdies on the back nine, to compensate for a double bogey on the 16th hole. The American is one shot ahead of nearest rivals Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, and Brooks Koepka.
Morikawa, who will become the top-ranked golfer in the world if he wins this title, shot a steady six-under 66 to stay in the hunt. For the most part, Morikawa hit the fairways on his drives and picked up birdies.
The two-time Major winner is aware of the looming numero uno status, even if he would like to stay in the present. “I saw the scenarios (surrounding the World No.1 status). And I’m going to keep saying it – I just have to focus on trying to win this week,” Morikawa said.
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Finau finished on a high, making a 15-foot putt on the tricky par-4 18th to collect a birdie. “I didn’t hit in the sandy areas too often. I was able to control the ball into the greens, and just put together a solid round of golf,” Finau said.
Koepka, meanwhile, is happy to get back to form. The American’s last top-10 finish came in the British Open in July.
“I was swinging it poorly. But now that I’ve got my swing somewhat under control – it’s not 100 percent, but it’s really, really close – we’re figuring it out and I’m just happy with everything right now. Day by day it’s always getting a little bit better, where it feels I’m getting back to normal,” Koepka said.
Rory McIlroy, who held the joint lead overnight alongside Daniel Berger and Abraham Ancer, shot a one-under 71 to slip to tied-eighth.
Berger and Ancer are fifth and tied-11th respectively.
|SCORES (top five):
133: Bryson DeChambeau (69, 64); 134: Collin Morikawa (68, 66), Tony
Finau (68, 66), Brooks Koepka (68, 66); 135: Daniel Berger (66, 69).
(The writer is in Nassau on invitation from Hero MotoCorp)