Los Angeles (AFP) – Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam shook off a double-bogey to team for a three-under par 69 on Friday and a one-stroke lead after the foursomes second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The US duo made five birdies as they took their total to 13-under 131 and held a one-stroke lead over compatriots Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown.
Kisner and Brown are out to improve on their runner-up finish last year, when they lost in a playoff to Australian Cameron Smith and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt at TPC Louisiana as the tournament debuted its team play format.
They followed up their first-round 62 with a 70 that left them on 12-under 132.
“We’d love to get a trophy together,” Kisner said. “We grew up together and are longtime friends so it would be fun to win together.”
Brown said the foursomes format was tougher than the best-ball rounds in which each team member plays his own ball.
“You obviously don’t want to hit a bad shot for your partner, but it happens,” he said. “It’s a tough day out there today. The wind is blowing around, and we did a good job of hitting a lot of greens.
“I think we had one bogey for the day, so pretty good in this format.”
Two teams were a stroke back on 133: The US-Aussie duo of Chad Campbell and Matt Jones and Americans Nate Lashley and Rob Oppenheim.
Overnight co-leaders Chez Reavie and Lucas Glover, who fired a 60 on Thursday, struggled in the alternate-shot format with a three-over 75 that included a double-bogey at the par-four fourth.
Things were even worse for the Chinese pair of Zhang Xinjun and Dou Zecheng, who shared the lead with Reavie and Glover after the first round.
The two, the first two players from China to hold PGA Tour membership, combined for an eight-over par 80 that included double-bogeys at the par-four sixth hole and the par-three 17th.
At four-under for the tournament they missed the halfway cut.
Defending champions Smith and Blixt exited early, too, finishing at three-under 141 as the cutline of five-under claimed a string of marquee names.
Jordan Spieth and teammate Ryan Palmer appeared headed for the weekend when they reached the 17th tee at eight-under, but finished with two straight double-bogeys thanks to repeated dunks in the water.
“I had a couple of really bad swings,” said Spieth, who hit his tee shot at the par-three 17th in the water and then dunked their layup shot at the par-five 18th also.
“Bad decision on the layup,” he said. “I cost our team an opportunity, which, you know, really sucks given how hard we fought today. It’s not a good feeling. It’s much worse than if it’s just you.”
Reigning PGA Champion Justin Thomas and teammate Bud Cauley missed the cut, as did Spain’s Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan and the all-Spanish team of Sergio Garcia and Rafael Cabrera Bello.
The week also ended early for US Open champion Brooks Koepka, who was making his first start in 15 weeks after recovering from a partially torn tendon in his left wrist.