Paul Casey shoots Byron back nine in 27 to share early lead

Pádraig Harrington two behin don four under after a second 68 at TPC Four Seasons Resort

 Martin Kaymer of Germany hits a tee shot during the second round at  TPC Four Seasons Resort  in Irving, Texas. Photograph:   Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Martin Kaymer of Germany hits a tee shot during the second round at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas. Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Fri, May 16, 2014, 21:34

Paul Casey came within one stroke of the PGA Tour scoring record for nine holes when he stormed home in 27 shots to vault into an early share of the lead in the Byron Nelson Championship second round in Irving, Texas.

Casey was in danger of missing the cut after a mediocre front nine, but he turned on the afterburners at the turn and picked up eight strokes on the inward half, thanks to an eagle and six birdies at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.

“I’m loving my golf right now,” Casey told Golf Channel after shooting a seven-under-par 63 for a six-under total of 134. Only American Corey Pavin, who shot an eight-under 26 on the front nine at Brown Deer Park during the 2006 US Bank Championship in Milwaukee, has posted a better nine-hole score on the PGA Tour.

Casey’s 27 matches the tour record for a back nine, emulating Nick Watney (2011 AT&T National), Brandt Snedeker (2007 Buick Invitational), Billy Mayfair (2001 Buick Open), Andy North (1975 BC Open) and Mike Souchak (1955 Texas Open).

He shared the early lead at the TPC Four Seasons Resort with German Martin Kaymer (67), Canadians Mike Weir (66) and Graham DeLaet (66) and American Morgan Hoffman (66) with half the field back in the clubhouse.

Pádraig Harrington survived two penalty drops to card a 68 and lie two shots off their scores.

The Dubliner found water on the third and the 18th but avoided dropping shots at the last to sign for a second 68.

At the third he took a double-bogey having found water off the tee but he recovered well to birdie the next, the sixth and ninth to turn in 34.

At the par-four 11th, he dropped his approach within five feet of the hole and took a fourth birdie.

He looked in trouble on 18 when he again found water off the tee, but after taking a drop his approach was precise once more and from 15 feet he saved par.

Kaymer showed no signs of a victory hangover following his Players Championship win on Sunday, though he did reveal that he did not sleep well overnight.

“Today there’s not much wind and especially in the morning we had lovely greens, and I could take advantage of a couple of long putts here and there,” Kaymer said. “I played very solid and didn’t make many mistakes. I like to play brave and if you hit a bad shot here and there, it’s OK.”

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