WASHINGTON (AFP) – Michael Thompson, the 2012 US Open runner-up, fired a five-under par 66 to share the lead with fellow American Richy Werenski after Friday’s second round of the US PGA’s 3M Open.
Thompson, whose lone tour title in 228 starts came at the 2013 Honda Classic, matched Werenski on 12-under 130 after 36 holes at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota.
“I feel comfortable with the sight lines and visuals and that helps off the tee,” said Thompson, who shared second to countryman Webb Simpson in his best major showing.
Werenski, ranked 30 spots below Thompson at 248th in the world, made his best 36-hole US PGA start, one stroke lower than his first two rounds at the 2018 Mayakoba Classic.
Americans Tony Finau and Talor Gooch shared third on 131, one stroke back, with China’s Zhang Xinjun fifth on 132 after a second-round 67.
“You can always build off that going into the weekend,” Finau said of his 65-66 start. “I’ve given myself a chance to win out here.”
United States (US) defending champion Matthew Wolff and Australian Cameron Davis shared sixth on 133. Wolff is trying to match Daniel Berger from 2016 and 2017 in Memphis by winning his first two US PGA titles at the same event.
Thompson sank three birdie putts in a row on the front side, making a 12-footer at the par-three fourth, a 13-footer at the par-four fifth and rolling in from eight feet at the par-five sixth.
He followed a birdie at 11 with his lone bogey at the par-five 12th, finding a greenside bunker on his approach.
Thompson answered at 14 with a stunning 60-foot chip in for birdie and added another on a 20-foot putt at the par-three 17th.
Werenski, seeking his first US PGA title, had five birdies in a round of 67, closing with back-to-back birdie putts from 12 and 21 feet at 17 and 18.
Gooch, also seeking his first PGA title, had a bogey-free 65, with birdies on four of the last six holes including putts of 26 feet on the par-three 13th, 16 feet at the par-four 14th and 13 feet at the par-four 15th.
“I kept the ball low and made a bunch of fairways,” Gooch said. “Made a couple good swings yesterday and it started to click.”
Finau, whose lone US PGA win came at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, holed his 81-yard approach shot at the par-five sixth for an eagle on a brisk and breezy day.
“Really clean round with the conditions,” he said. “So much of the water was in play out there because of the wind.”
The 33-year-old Zhang, of Shanxi, made five birdies against one bogey, in shooting 67, sinking birdie putts from just inside 20 feet at the par-four first and 15th holes.