Recap of the day
There were plenty of low scores in the morning as the wind laid down on day two in Las Vegas. Abraham Ancer matched his opening round 66 to reach 10-under and grab the early clubhouse lead. Other notables included Jhonattan Vegas, Denny McCarthy, Troy Merritt, Sungjae Im, and Ryan Moore who all fired rounds of 65 in the morning. TPC Summerlin was really left defenseless without much wind today.
In the afternoon, the scoring continued. The overnight leader Peter Uihlein kept his name at the top with a 5-under 66 (reaching 13-under at the midpoint). More on him below. Cameron Champ took some fun lines off the tee en route to a 6-under 65. Harris English, Harris English, and Brian Gay also racked up rounds of 65. Ryan Palmer looked to be the man to finally post a new day low as he was 7-under thru 13 but limped home with four pars and a bogey.
There are a whopping 11 golfers who shared the honors of day-low 65.
Round 2 was suspended at 5:52 p.m. local time so the cut line will fall on Saturday morning when play reumes at 8:00 a.m. Five players were stranded, unable to complete their rounds.
Saturday weather forecast
We could be in for a wind-swept Moving Day as the forecast calls for winds around 8-to-14 MPH in the morning, picking up to 15 MPH in the afternoon with gusts reaching 20-to-25 MPH.
It could be a good day for the early starters to get themselves back into the mix while the leaders will battle with Mother Nature.
Leaders after 36 holes
Peter Uihlein (66, 129) – Started off slow after sleeping on his first PGA TOUR lead after any round. Turned it on after the turn, carding an inward 31 to reach 5-under today. That gives him a two-shot lead heading into the weekend.
Robert Streb (66, 131) – Streb had a down year in 2018 but a return to the Web.com Tour Finals kicked him back into gear. LAst week he was T3 after R1 of the Sanderson Farms (T26 at week's end). Now he's sitting in a share of second place here in Las Vegas. Streb ranks 6th in strokes gained approach (+3.606) and 8th in strokes gained around-the-green (+2.372).
Whee Kim (65, 131) – His positioning after each round at last year's Shriners was 1-T6-T8-T2 and he's been T5 and T2. That is six straight rounds inside the top 8 here at TPC Summerlin. Still searching for his first PGA TOUR title but this seems like the perfect venue for him to do that.
Fate of the favorites
Tony Finau (68, 137) – He's gained just over a stroke in both rounds, but hasn't really popped out of his shell yet. He's lost strokes approaching-the-green in both rounds but has still managed 14 GIR on both days. Hovering just outside the top 25, Finau is still very live in terms of making a charge to the top. A windy Saturday might work in his favor.
Rickie Fowler (68, 135) – Twirled a 67 after opening with a 68 but after the round he said he considered Thursday's round more of a success. He couldn't get the putter rolling today but he's in great position heading into the weekend.
Jordan Spieth (68, 134) – Spieth hit 14 greens for the second straight day. After gaining 2.912 strokes putting in R1, he gained another 1.188 strokes today. The ball-striking is rusty as he makes his season debut if it comes around then it's always tough to beat a hot-putting Spieth.
Peter Uihlein (66, 129) – "There are a lot of holes that set up well for my fade. Some good bunker placements. My distance control has been good with the irons. "
Jhonattan Vegas (65, 136) – "Man, this is my fifth major. I would really love to win here. I think that would be such an amazing story. It's so much fun. Winning here in Vegas."
Rickie Fowler (67, 135) – "Yesterday was a little bit more of a success, coming off not playing a whole lot. Today I felt like I left a lot out there. But I'm happy where we're at after two rounds. "
Road to victory at TPC Summerlin
2017 Patrick Cantlay – R1: 6th, R2: 8th, R3: 4th
2016 Rod Pampling – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd
2015 Smylie Kaufman – R1: 26th, R2: 48th, R3: 28th
2014 Ben Martin – R1: 19th, R2: 5th, R3: 1st
2013 Webb Simpson – R1: 6th, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
Notes: Four of the last five winners were T8 or better after 36 holes. It's easy to drop down the leaderboard at TPC Summerlin, but it's not easy to make up ground. That has to do with the easy scoring environment. A windy Saturday might change that a bit. If anyone wants to surge from the back of the pack, tomorrow is the day to do it.
Fate of the R2 leaders at TPC Summerlin
2017 J.J. Spaun 10th
2016 Rod Pampling WIN
2013 Webb Simpson WIN
Notes: We saw yesterday, that a spot at the top in R1 is no guarantee of a strong finish by week's end. The same can be said of position after 36 holes. A majority of 36-hole leaders will stay inside the top 15 by week's end but Aldridge and Putnam are evidence that it's easy to drop far down the board, if you don't keep your foot on the gas at a venue like TPC Summerlin.
Focus on – Local Knowledge
There are quite a few golfers with ties to Las Vegas. Here are some of the notables and how they sit heading into the weekend:
Patrick Rodgers (coach): T31
Ryan Moore (UNLV & resident): T50
Scott Piercy (resident & coach): T31
Nick Watney (resident): T50
Wyndham Clark (resident & coach): T61
Aaron Wise (resident & coach): T61
Alex Prugh (resident): T61
Doug Ghim (resident): T74
Kevin Na (resident): T105
Alex Cejka (resident): T105
I may have missed some but those were the Vegas ties in my notes.
Nobody is really in contention but seven (of 10) are currently set for a weekend tee time with Ghim needing at least one birdie when he returns to the course tomorrow morning. Not bad.
Focus on – Tee Time Waves
On Thursday the morning wave averaged 70.05 while the afternoon wave dipped to 70.61 strokes.
When the Friday morning wave averaged 69.50 strokes it looked like a runaway in terms of weather draw. However, it turned out the lack of wind on Friday held true for both waves. The Friday PM wave thrashed the course to the tune of a 68.65 scoring average.
As it stands the raw scoring averages by wave looks like this:
AM/PM = 70.05+68.65= 138.90
PM/AM (incomplete)= 70.61+69.50= 140.11
This doesn't include any strength-of-wave adjustments but on the surface this looks like a pretty big advantage for anyone that started their week on Friday afternoon. This is just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.