Recap of the day
Morning wave: Jhonattan Vegas thrashed a brilliant 9-under-par 62 to hurtle three swings clear of the field on 13-under 129. Those sharing second in the clubhouse on 10-under were Harold Varner III, who carded a 65, and Russell Henley, who needed 68 blows in his second circuit. First round leader Robert Diaz could only add a 73 to his Thursday 62.
Afternoon wave: Andrew Landry closed on the leader and actually caught him only for a late birdie to leave him one short on 12-under after a second 65 of the week and Lucas Glover tucked into solo third with a 64 for 11-under. Daniel Berger joined the duo already at 10-under after carding a 66. Late on Cameron Tringale (66) and Adam Schenck (65) followed suit.
Low round of the day: The 62 of Vegas
Cut: 3-under 139
Revised outright betting: Vegas 4/1, Landry 13/2, Glover 7/1, Tringale 11/1, Berger 11/1, Varner III 18/1
Saturday weather forecast
A beautiful day with temperatures in the high 70s, nothing but a breath of wind, low humidity and clear skies.
Leaders at 36 holes
Jhonattan Vegas (62, 129) – Amazing to think he made a double bogey-6 in round one, otherwise he has been sensational. Gaining over five shots on the field both Putting and Tee to Green (and over three with his Approaches).
Andrew Landry (65, 130) – Another who has made only one mistake through 36 holes, in his case a bogey-5 in round two. He’s gaining over six strokes Tee to Green and over three on the greens.
Lucas Glover (64, 131) – A straightforward highlight of the day: When his 255-yard approach to the 573-yard par-5 tenth found the hole for a double eagle. It transformed a round that had seen him make the turn in 1-under. He’s gaining over six strokes on the field Tee to Green.
Fate of the favorites
Viktor Hovland (69, 138) – Struggled to find the birdies all week (just five), but another cut made and he's enjoyed his weekends since turning professional.
Collin Morikawa (66, 136) – Opened with 12 greens in regulation and a 70, then found 17 putting surfaces in round two and improved to a cut-confirming 66.
Joaquin Niemann (69, 135) – A frustrating day which saw him make an early birdie, then stumble with three bogeys, only to then hole out from 96-yards for an eagle-2 at the 13th and from 29’8” for an eagle-3 at the 17th.
Sungjae Im (67, 135) – Opened with two birdies and then got stuck, adding eight pars before he added to his eventual tally of five par breakers. Landed 16-of-18 greens in regulation after 11 in round one.
Jhonattan Vegas (62) – “Probably the best I've felt all year, to be honest. I hit the ball extremely well, kind of what I've been struggling with the past few months. I was able to kind of figure out something yesterday on the range after I got done playing, and I was able to carry it through today and literally it felt really good, in control the whole time with the ball-striking, which is my type of game.”
Andrew Landry (65) – “I've been hitting the ball very, very well all year long. I'm top ten in Driving Accuracy right now, and that's a good stat to be in. Like I said, the putter has just kind of been letting me down all year long, and it seems to be working pretty good the last two days.”
Harold Varner III (65) – “I seriously have no clue what it is about this place. I wish I could tell you. I come here and I play well and I enjoy being here.”
Russell Henley (68) – “Just need to keep my head down and keep grinding. It's so hard; everybody out here is so good. Just maybe get a little practice in later today and just try to stay aggressive with my targets.”
Vaughn Taylor (68) – “Out here you can get some wedges in your hands and reach the par-5s, so you need to make some birdies.”
Road to victory at TPC Deere Run
2018 Michael Kim – R1: 2nd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2017 Bryson DeChambeau – R1: 7th, R2: 2nd, R3: 5th
2016 Ryan Moore – R1: 3rd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2015 Jordan Spieth – R1: 101st, R2: 16th, R3: 1st
2014 Brian Harman – R1: 1st, R2: 3rd, R3: 1st
Notes: In all 5-of-19 winners were outside the top ten at halfway so it is entirely possible for golfers to make a run at the win over the weekend. They just need to go low – each of the last ten winners went lower than 66 in at least one of the final two laps.
Fate of the second-round leaders at TPC Deere Run – where did they finish?
2018 Michael Kim 1st
2017 Patrick Rodgers 2nd
2016 Ryan Moore 1st
2015 Wesley Bryan 8th
2014 Justin Thomas 5th
Notes: There have been 19 editions of this tournament and 24 men have held or shared the halfway lead. In all that time five have gone on to claim the win.
Focus on – Jhonattan Vegas
This is the Venezuelan’s fifth visit to TPC Deere Run and whilst he was T3 in 2014, he failed to make the top 40 in his three other appearances. What was the difference that week? His short game. He ranked second for Scrambling that year (80%) but never better than 40th otherwise – and he ranked 11th for Putting Average (1.62) against a best in his other starts of 36th. This year is on course to repeat that being top ten for Scrambling and top 20 for Putting Average.
Focus on – Harold Varner III
After a tricky debut at TPC Deere Run (when he missed the cut with laps of 72-72) the 28-year-old has caught fire. He shot 67-65-66-68 to finish T6 last year and with laps of 67-65 to open this campaign he is 28-under for his last six laps having been 2-over for this first two.
Focus on – Vaughn Taylor
Is the 43-year-old bubbling? When he finished T18 at the Valspar Championship it was his third top 20 of the season, but he followed it with three missed cuts since when he has offered hope in every start: top 20s in the Wells Fargo Championship and Byron Nelson Championship, a fine recovery from a poor first round in the Charles Schwab Challenge, a fast start at the Memorial and T4 in the Travelers Championship. Only last time out in the Rocket Mortgage Classic did he struggle with T46. This weekend he gets the chance to land a fifth career top 20 at TPC Deere Run and improve on his best of T6 (in 2010).