The weekend is secure for Arjun Atwal. The 47-year-old produced a few magical moments including an eagle at the 12th hole in a round that consisted of an eagle and three birdies. Matthew Wolff was prolific as he worked his way to a 64, lying just one back from the leader. Chris Kirk is the man in front, at 12-under through 36 holes. Mark Hubbard, Seamus Power, Bryson DeChambeau, Ryan Armour and Richy Werenski are also at 11-under. Kevin Kisner and Sepp Straka are a further stroke behind them. Hudson Swafford, Matt Wallace, Doc Redman, J.J. Spaun, and Brian Stuard are at 9-under.
Webb Simpson continued to roll on like a well oiled machine. He posted a bogey free 64 for a share of the lead with Kirk. Simpson has shot six rounds of 64 this season, from eight starts. He could move to second in the world with a runner-up finish this week at the Detroit Golf Club.
Atwal played yet another good round of golf. At the par-4 12th, he flew 157 yards on a nine-iron for a brilliant eagle two, after starting the day on the tenth tee. He went three-under when he made a birdie on the 16th hole.
But bogeys on 18 and 1 stole the momentum from the irrepressible Indian golfer. He recovered well though, securing birdies at the third and seventh holes for a five under total at the halfway stage of the tournament.
Atwal had the scent of a birdie at the 15th hole, but missed a 7-footer to settle for par. Just as he did in the first round, Atwal was turning his round into a piece of art that combined missing short putts with sinking some monsters. He made it look easy from 25 feet on the 16th for a superb birdie.
The Indian suffered his first losses on the day the 18th, just before making the turn. Atwal worked his way through the fairway bunker, eventually reaching the green in three strokes. he two putted for a bogey five. On the first hole, he nearly wound up following a similar path. Another fairway bunker, green in three and two putts dropped him to one-under for the round.
He stemmed the bleeding with a 10-footer for birdie on the par-4 third hole. Atwal turned it up a notch when he reached the green in two on the par-5 seventh hole, before taking two putts for his third birdie of the round. He came home to a 69, 5-under through 36 holes.
A year ago, Kirk went on an indefinite leave from the PGA TOUR to deal with depression and an addiction to alcohol. The four-time winner seems to have set aside his past, if the round on Friday was an indicator. He played some impeccable golf and despite a bogey on the 18th, it was enough for a 65 and a lead over at least four other men. Kirk made six birdies on the front nine.