By the looks of the gallery following high school senior Scottie Scheffler, Friday must have been senior skip day at Highland Park High School.
While tournament co-leader Paul Casey did the golf limbo by going as low as any player on the back 9 in PGA history, the three-time high school Class 4A state champion Scheffler put together a solid 2-under- par 68 on Friday.
The nation’s top-ranked amateur player made the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship with a 36-hole total of 1-under 139.
Scheffler had four birdies in a five-hole span on his front side, which, combined with the first round, amounted to seven birdies in his past 12 holes. Thursday and Friday combined, he played the front 9 at the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas at 5 under par.
Scheffler finished his second round in 25 putts, two fewer than Casey, who turned in a tournament-low 63.
“My putter was going well,” said Scheffler, though his driver was not. He has missed 15 of 28 fairways through two rounds. “I was really putting well and I hit some good shots, too.”
Three bogeys on the back, including back-to-back on Nos. 15-16, sent Scheffler, who has signed to play golf at Texas, into retreat. His 200-yard approach shot on the par-4 fell short of the green on 15 and his third shot on the par-5 16 found a greenside trap.
“I’ve never played the weekend before, maybe I’ll be less comfortable out there,” Scheffler said. “Not really sure. It should be fun.”
The iron’s hot
Martin Kaymer, who is among eight players two shots back of leader Brendon Todd, can understand why players take a week off after winning, what with the mental and physical exhaustion of being the chased.
“I think you should keep playing because obviously you hit the ball good,” said Kaymer, winner last week at The Players Championship. “In 2010, I pretty much won three tournaments in a row, and I think there was just momentum.”
Kaymer was asked if he could see someone winning 11 in a row, as Byron Nelson did in 1945.
“It’s possible,” Kaymer said, “but it’s not possible.”
It’s in the hole … not
Todd’s 6-under 64 was almost even better than that.
His tee shot on the 198-yard, par-3 No. 17 slid just past the pin, finding rest about 6 feet from the hole.
He rolled it in for birdie to retake a then-one-stroke lead.
“The glare made it difficult to see the ball land on the green, but I did see it looked like it was closing in for a second,” said Todd, a lanky Pittsburghnative on what he saw from the tee box.
“I definitely knew I wasn’t disappointed with it.”
OK State rules
Morgan Hoffmann and Charles Howell III plugged an Oklahoma State flag into the leader board Friday.
The former Cowboys standouts each turned in bogey-free rounds to get to 6 under for the tournament.
Hoffmann, 24, seems to have his game headed in the right direction after a 17th-place finish at The Players Championship last week. He also had a fifth-place finish here a year ago, his best of three top-10 finishes.
His inspiration for staying loose on Friday?
“Ryan and I are trying to have as much fun as possible,” Hoffmann said of his caddie. “We were singing reggae songs and being as stupid as possible.”
Magic number: 3
Jordan Spieth got to 3 under and five shots back of Brendon Todd by sticking his approach from 178 yards three feet from the pin on 18.
The 20-year-old Dallas native has been 3 under after 36 holes in all four of his Nelson starts.
“I guess I haven’t improved since I was 16,” joked Spieth, who first played as an amateur while a student at Dallas Jesuit.