17 January 2020: Anirban Lahiri was two-under in the first round, but after a prolific day, his 70 was only enough for T74. The cut at The American Express is at 54 holes, and Lahiri found himself needing to scramble back into the field on the heels of a missed cut at the Sony Open. The 32-year-old showed great commitment on Friday as he made seven birdies in the second round. Unfortunately though, Lahiri also conceded double bogeys at the par-3 sixth hole and the 18th hole to score a second straight 70 at the La Quinta Country Club. Rickie Fowler shot eight-under 64 as he took a three-stroke lead over Bud Cauley, who also shot 64 on the same course.
Playing on the PGA West Stadium Course, venue of another iconic island green designed by the departed Pete Dye, Lahiri was two-under through the fifth after starting with a birdie on the first. At the par-3 sixth, he took four strokes to reach the green before two-putting to fall back to even terms for the day.
An unfazed Lahiri worked his way back with a birdie at the 7th and four in six holes from the 12th. That streak on the back nine was punctuated by a bogey at the par-4 15th hole, but he suffered his biggest let down on the final hole. He sailed right off the tee and kept scrambling from the rough, before missing a six footer for bogey. That dropped him to T79 at 4-under through 36 holes.
Fowler started the day just one back from Zach Blair and Grayson Murray, after making a 65 in the opening round. Playing off the tenth tee of the Nicklaus Tournament course, Fowler got off to a relatively sedate start from the 10th. But he caught fire at the first hole and raced ahead with a ferocious string of gained strokes.
In fact Fowler took five strokes between the first and the fifth, including an eagle at the par-5 fourth hole. He took just 30 strokes for his second stretch (Hole 1-9) to build a cushion at the top. Andrew Landry was inching near Fowler, seven-under through twelve holes, just two strokes behind the clubhouse leader.
Joining Cauley in T3, Scottie Scheffler moved to 12-under through 13 holes of the Nicklaus Tournament course, starting off the tenth tee. Sepp Straka and Maverick McNealy shot 65 each while Brian Harman made 67 to tie the other two at 10-under through 36 holes.