Local favourite Jimmy Walker surges one ahead in San Antonio

Shane Lowry well down the leaderboard after 74 in second round

 Phil Mickelson takes his second shot on the 18th hole during round two of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio  in Texas. Photograph: Marianna Massey/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson takes his second shot on the 18th hole during round two of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio in Texas. Photograph: Marianna Massey/Getty Images

 

San Antonio resident Jimmy Walker took advantage of greatly improved weather conditions at his home tournament to seize an early one-shot lead in the second round of the Texas Open on Friday.

The 36-year-old fired a sparkling five-under-par 67 on a challenging layout at the TPC San Antonio with three consecutive birdies in his last four holes propelling him to the top of the leaderboard.

Walker, a four-times winner on the PGA Tour, picked up shots at the sixth, seventh and eighth before ending his round with a comfortable par at the ninth to post a six-under total of 138.

Australian Aaron Baddeley (71) and American Charley Hoffman (72) were tied at five under, a stroke better than world number six Jordan Spieth (69) and fellow American Kevin Na (68).

“Just made a couple of putts,” Walker told Golf Channel about his strong finish. “I hit a couple of good shots in there and just kept trying to build on each hole there at the end.

“There should be a lot of support from friends and family out so it’s going to be fun,” Walker said of his thoughts heading into the weekend. “I look forward to the challenge. It’s nice to be right there at the top and have a chance.”

Ireland’s Shane Lowry was well down the field after a second successive two-over-par round of 74 left him on four over, with the projected cut at six over.

The players had struggled in strong gusts up to 40 mph on Thursday when the average score was just under 77, but on Friday the wind died down and switched direction.

“It played completely different,” said Spieth, who won the Valspar Championship 12 days ago in his most recent PGA Tour start.

“Yesterday was a whipping north wind and today was kind of a little calmer out of the south-west. I’m very happy. I made some good clutch par saves. I needed them today and yesterday.

“To be at four under on a course that’s this challenging and be two back, you couldn’t ask for much more right now. Just going to need to stay patient, and hope the birdies come over the weekend.”

Five-times Major champion Phil Mickelson, who has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2013 British Open, was among a group of five players at two under after shooting a 72.

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