Sergio Garcia, last month’s Masters champion and the defending champ at the AT&T Byron Nelson, is lurking.
And it took a weekend-saving 5-under-par 65 to do it on Friday. After shooting a 3-over 73 to open the tournament on Thursday, Garcia had to shoot under par to make the cut, as the cutline hovered at 1-over par for most of Friday afternoon before ultimately settling at 2 over.
Garcia had moved to 4 over for the tournament after a bogey on No. 12 before his string of birdies got him back in red numbers.
“I just told myself to keep going, to try to hit some good shots, to give myself some looks at birdies,” said Garcia, who at 138 trails tournament leader Jason Kokrak by 10 strokes after Kokrak’s 62 on Friday. “Obviously I was fortunate to make the first three that I had on 13, 15 and 16.”
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Garcia played with Patrick Reed (70-69) and Jason Day (68-69), starting from hole No. 10 Friday. After responding with a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th, Garcia had to scramble from the right rough for his birdie on the par-4 15th.
He played the four par-3s at TPC Four Seasons at 2 under, scoring again with a 17-foot putt up the hill on No. 5.
“[The three birdies on the back nine] kind of settled me down a little bit,” Garcia said. “I was able to hit a lot more greens, hit some shots in good range to make birdies. It’s a golf course that I feel mostly comfortable on.”
Garcia heads into the weekend tied for 25th.
TCU alum on rise
TCU alum J.J. Henry (69-137), whose last win on the PGA Tour came at the 2015 Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev., is tied for 17th at the Nelson.
Henry birdied No. 1 to open Friday before giving two strokes back with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 6. He went out in an even-par 35 before birdying 14 and 16 coming in.
He could have made an even bigger push on the leader board, but his third bogey of the day kept him in a tie for 17th with Jason Day and six others.
“I hit a great shot, right over the flag,” Henry said. “Unfortunately, I kind of misjudged the wind. But I hit the ball great all day. If I made any putts at all, I’d be close to the lead.”
Grayson Murray goes low
Before Kokrak’s second-round 62, Grayson Murray was the name shooting up the leader boarad.
Murray has made news this year for calling out some of his PGA Tour peers as “boring” on Twitter and for firing a caddie in the middle of a Sunday round at the Wells Fargo Championship.
But on Friday he kept it “stress free” by hitting 16 greens in regulation on his way to a bogey-free 7-under 63 to put the North Carolina native in a tie for ninth at 135.
“I can’t even tell you the last time I did that,” Murray said. “It took a lot of pressure off of the rest of my game. I guess it all just clicked [Friday].”
Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667; @MCTinez817