FILE PHOTO: Mar 5, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Sam Burns watches his drive on the 16th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
November 6, 2020
(Reuters) – Sam Burns used a fast start and steady finish to grab the early second-round clubhouse lead at the Houston Open on Friday, while Phil Mickelson was set to miss the cut in his final start before next week’s Masters.
Burns birdied three of his first four holes at Memorial Park Golf Course en route to a bogey-free five-under-par 65 that left him two shots clear of Australian Jason Day (68) and three ahead of fellow American and first-round leader Brandt Snedeker (71).
“(My caddie) Travis did a great job all day just trying to put us in the right spots and I think we were able to do that for the most part,” said Burns. “That’s the challenging part of this golf course, it takes a lot of discipline around here.
“You get out of position, you just try to get it back to where you can get it up and down or get it in a section of the green where you can lag putt it. Fortunately early we got some good looks and were able to convert, so solid.”
Burns, who is seeking his maiden PGA Tour win, birdied all three par-five holes at Memorial Park, including at the 16th where he drained a 12-foot putt before closing his round with consecutive pars.
World number one Dustin Johnson, in his first event since testing positive for COVID-19 in mid-October, was five shots off the pace after a four-under 66.
“I felt like I played pretty well yesterday, just a little rusty,” said Johnson. “But today (I) did a lot better, hit a lot of really nice iron shots and felt like I managed my game very well, drove it well, hit a lot of quality shots, so very pleased with how I played today.”
Five-times major champion Mickelson was well outside the projected cut after a roller-coaster 73 that included a quintuple-bogey eight at the par-three ninth and a closing eagle at the par-four 18th where he holed out from 193 yards.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)