With 31 holes at the World Wide Technology Championship in Mayakoba, Matthew Wolff was five strokes on the field, making it easy to imagine a second PGA Tour career title for the 22-year-old.
Scottie Scheffler then dumped his fifth straight birdie on his back nine, reducing it to four.
Wolff stumbled just a little when he got home with bogeys at 16 and 18, but his 64 in the second round, a day after his top 61, gives him a two-stroke head start on the weekend at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
This week Wolff holds the solo lead after 18 and 36 holes for the first time in his career.
“No. 16 is just not well set up for me, I won’t get the driver there and 3-wood works off the fairway,” he said after his round. “You know, like I said, it was a tough finish, but I was really happy with the way I played today. “
One of the keys to Wolff is keeping the ball in play.
“I haven’t knocked a ball out of the game yet. I don’t want to bewitch myself, but like I said, I feel really safe in every part of my game. My 2-iron and 3-wood are really strong right now. I feel like I’m not even going to give up that much distance because the balls don’t really roll on the fairway. “
Wolff won his fourth start on the PGA Tour for the first time. He was barely 21 when he took the trophy at the 3M Open. Now he is aiming for victory number 2 in his 52nd career start.
As for his plans for Friday dinner?
“I’m actually going to go to Saffron in Banyan Tree here. It’s a Thai place that a lot of people say is really good, ”he said.
Scheffler made things interesting by putting himself on the leaderboard late in the day. It only took him 15 strokes over five holes to card those five straight birdies and jump into the solo second. He is aiming for his first Tour win.
“It’s not necessarily just one bomb driver every time, and that’s what I appreciate about this course,” he said. “You really just have to get the ball into position, there’s really no getting around it.”
Carlos Ortiz and Viktor Hovland, who each shot 65 on Friday, are tied in third place. Hovland, who wanted to become the event’s first repeat champion, had a bad break on Friday.
“I was 3 under par when I was on my front nine and back nine. Then I come to the first hole, hit it in the left rough and I didn’t have to go very far in and I pushed it a little and landed literally four steps to the right of the pin, hit a sprinkler head and walked past the green in the trees “, said Hovland. “That was obvious, that’s a bad break, but it’s not like I cut it OB or anything. I knew I was good at golf so I just had to back out and was glad I made five birdies. “
Hovland also overcame a broken driver incident on the driving range on Thursday that prompted him to go to the backup.
“Yes. It’s honestly, yes, I think from an accuracy standpoint I think the driver might be better,” he said.
Ortiz, who first won the tour at the Houston Open 368 days ago, sounds confident.
“Yeah, I know I can do it, so at the end of the day I want to fight for the final nine holes of the tournament and that’s pretty much my goal. I just have to keep playing good golf and have fun. “
Celebrities who missed the cut
The cut was 4 under and Brooks Koepka is one of those who won’t be playing this weekend. Koepka shot 71-71 to be leveled and split 108th place. Lucas Herbert, who won in Bermuda a week ago, failed to recover from his first round of 75 and finished 1 over.
The tour takes place in the US next week for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open.