22 February 2020: There is a four-way tie at the top of the Puerto Rico Open, as Kyle Stanley, Josh Teater, Emiliano Grillo and Viktor Hovland jostle for victory in the opposite field event, held in the same week as the top-tier WGC Mexico Championship. Arjun Atwal bounced back from an opening 73 with a brilliant 67 on Friday. Anirban Lahiri shot a second straight 70 as both men reached the weekend in T33. The four men in front are at 10-under with Sam Ryder trailing by one.
Arjun Atwal shows courage and skills
Atwal was having a spectacular day, firing his cylinders with a birdie at the 11th before going past the turn on a pair of birdies at the 17th and 18th holes. He cushioned his card with birdies at the 2nd and 4th before suffering the lone blemish at the 8th hole. He made immediate amends though as ended the day with a sixth birdie at the 9th hole.
The veteran Indian was in spectacular form, with a driving accuracy of nearly 86%, helping him make 72% of the greens in regulation. His putting average was 1.54.
Anirban Lahiri plays some resolute golf
Meanwhile, Lahiri continued to tread cautiously as he works diligently to steer his PGA TOUR career forward with grim determination. As was the case in the opening round, he suffered an early lapse. Only this time it was worse. Anirban conceded a double bogey five at the 11th hole and a birdie at the 17th was only enough to mitigate some of that damage as he made the turn at 1-over for the round.
Anirban made three birdies in the last five holes as he coasted home to another 70 for a halfway score of 4-under 140. The 32-year-old was averaging 1.82 putts and making just 61% of the greens in regulation, as he continued to scramble respectable scores.
David Lingmerth climbed 46 places to T6 with a second round 65 while Sam Ryder gained 26 spots with a similar score. Hovland moved into a tie for the lead with his 66, while Ben Martin leapt 25 spots into T6 with a 66.
Stanley added a 70 to his opening 64 to retain a share of the lead while Teater and Grillo joined the party with a 68.
PGA TOUR NOTES
Viktor Hovland (T1/-10)
- First lead after any round on the PGA TOUR; previous-best 36-hole position: T12/2019 THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES
- Shot a season-best front-nine 31 (previous-best: 32/R2/ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP)
- Ranks for the week: T1 in Par-3 Scoring Average (2.63), T1 in Par-4 Scoring Average (3.75), T49 in Par-5 Scoring Average (4.75)
- Fourth-highest ranked player in the field by the Official World Golf Ranking (No. 102); the other four players ranked in the top 125 that were in the field all missed the cut (Tom Lewis/57, Andrea Pavan/90, Alex Noren/96, Lucas Bjerregaard/106)
- The last five players to win at age 22: Collin Morikawa (2019 Barracuda Championship), Jon Rahm (2017 Farmers Insurance Open), Jordan Spieth (three wins at 22), Justin Thomas (2015 CIMB Classic) and Hideki Matsuyama (2014 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide)
- Made PGA TOUR history earlier in the season by recording 19 consecutive rounds in the 60s; the streak lasted from the final round of the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic until the third round of 2019 THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES
- In 2019, became the first player since Matt Kuchar in 1998 to be the low amateur at the Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open in the same season
- Won the 2018 U.S. Amateur, ascended to the No. 1 position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and was a two-time first-team All-American at Oklahoma State
Kyle Stanley (T1/-10)
- Fifth career 36-hole lead/co-lead in individual stroke-play events; 0-for-4 in previous attempts (2011 The Honda Classic, 2012 Farmers Insurance Open, 2017 THE PLAYERS Championship, 2018 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide)
- 36-hole position in two career PGA TOUR victories: 5th/2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open, T23/2017 Quicken Loans National
- Co-leads the field in Par-4 Scoring Average (3.75); entered the week tied for 138th on TOUR in that category (4.03)
- Best result in 11 starts during the 2019-20 season: T21/Houston Open
- Two previous starts in the Puerto Rico Open: T28/2011, MC/2016
Emiliano Grillo (T1/-10)
- First career 36-hole lead/co-lead in individual stroke-play events; previous-best 36-hole position: 2nd/2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational (finished T7), 2nd/2018 Charles Schwab Challenge (finished thid)
- 36-hole position in win at the 2015 Safeway Open: T19
- Finished T2 at the 2015 Puerto Rico Open
- Best result in 10 starts during the 2019-20 season: T21/Sony Open in Hawaii
Josh Teater (T1/-10)
- First career lead/co-lead after any round in individual stroke-play events; previous-best 36-hole position: 2nd/2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans (finished T16)
- Only player in the field with multiple eagles through two rounds (both came on par-5 No. 2)
- Best result in eight starts during the 2019-20 season: T11/Bermuda Championship
- Making fifth start at the Puerto Rico Open (previous best result: T38/2015)
- Best finish in PGA TOUR career: T2/2013 Farmers Insurance Open
- Adam Schenk’s front-nine 29 tied his career-best nine-hole score; Schenk became the fourth player with multiple nine-hole scores of 29 or better since the start of the 2019 Barbasol Championship (others: Austin Cook, Denny McCarthy, Brendon Todd)
- This is the second time during the 2019-20 season that four or more players have been tied for the lead after 36 holes, with the first coming at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (4); Kevin Na went on to win in a playoff over fellow 36-hole co-leader Patrick Cantlay
R1 (7): Emiliano Grillo (66), Henrik Norlander (66), Chris Couch (66), Julian Etulain (67), Robby Shelton (68), Tim Wilkinson (69), Matthew NeSmith (70)
R2 (13): David Lingmerth (65), Sam Ryder (65), Sangmoon Bae (67), Tyler McCumber (68), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (69), Martin Laird (69), Andrew Loupe (69), Parker McLachlin (69), D.J. Trahan (69), George McNeill (69), Alex Cejka (70), Carlos Franco (70), Ted Potter, Jr. (70)