McIlroy well off pace as Thomas leads low-scoring Zozo

American takes a one-shot lead into third round at Sherwood Country Club

Justin Thomas walks down the eighth hole during the second round of the Zozo Championship @ Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Justin Thomas walks down the eighth hole during the second round of the Zozo Championship @ Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

 

Justin Thomas poured in seven birdies to card his second consecutive round of 65 and take a one-stroke lead at the halfway point of the Zozo Championship at the Sherwood Country Club on Friday.

The world number three was hot out of the gate, with four birdies over his first five holes en route to a bogey-free round that left him 14 under 130 heading into the weekend.

Rory McIlroy improved on his frustrating opening round of 73 with a 67 on Friday which included eight birdies and three bogeys but he remains well off the pace at four under, 10 shots behind Thomas.

“I played well,” said Thomas, who is gunning for his 14th win on the PGA Tour.

“I’m not very pleased with the finish. The last six holes I would have liked to at least have got something.”

Low scores once again prevailed at the course in Thousand Oaks, California, where the tournament is being held instead of Japan due to logistical issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s not very difficult,” said Thomas.

“It’s short and the greens are soft right now. So obviously if they get firmer and they tuck the pins a little bit more, it is going to be harder and the scores will be higher.”

Thomas enjoys a one-stroke lead over fellow American Lanto Griffin, who was the co-leader before suffering a bogey on his final hole, and South African Dylan Frittelli. Both men are 13 under 131.

Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler lurk one stroke further back with eight players tied at 11-under including Tony Finau, who is making his first start since testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.

Tiger Woods bounced back from a horrible opening round 76 to card a 66 on Friday.

Despite eight birdies and two bogeys, the 44-year-old was tied for 66th and his hopes for a record 83rd PGA Tour title will have to wait for another day.

The 77-player field has no cut and will be the last event for many of the players before the rescheduled Masters from November 12th to 15th.

Collated second round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour ZOZO Championship, Sherwood GC, Thousand Oaks, California, USA (USA unless stated, par 72):

130 Justin Thomas 65 65

131 Lanto Griffin 66 65, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 66 65

132 Scottie Scheffler 67 65, Patrick Cantlay 67 65

133 Bubba Watson 70 63, Harris English 66 67, Tony Finau 69 64, Richy Werenski 72 61, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 67 66, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 65 68, Kevin Kisner 66 67, Patrick Reed 70 63

134 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 68 66, Jason Kokrak 69 65, Ryan Palmer 69 65, Brian Harman 66 68, Webb Simpson 69 65, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 67, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 64 70, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 69 65

135 Kevin Na 70 65, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 68, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 71 64, Jon Rahm (Spa) 68 67, Jim Herman 70 65

136 Cameron Smith (Aus) 67 69, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 70 66, Andrew Landry 69 67, Collin Morikawa 71 65, Tyler Duncan 68 68, Sungjae Im (Kor) 68 68, Corey Conners (Can) 69 67, Jordan Spieth 70 66

137 Daniel Berger 69 68, Talor Gooch 74 63, Mark Hubbard 67 70, Carlos Oritz (Mex) 72 65, Takumi Kanaya (a) (Jpn) 70 67

138 Matthew Wolff 69 69, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 68 70, Cameron Champ 70 68, Joel Dahmen 68 70, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 68, Brendon Todd 69 69, Nick Taylor (Can) 70 68, Rickie Fowler 71 67

139 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 73 66, Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 73 66, Jason Day (Aus) 68 71, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 75 64, Harry Higgs 73 66, Billy Horschel 72 67, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 67 72, Matt Kuchar 70 69, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 72 67

140 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 73 67, Russell Henley 68 72, Paul Casey (Eng) 69 71, Gunn Charoenkul (Tha) 73 67

141 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 70 71, Xander Schauffele 69 72, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 68 73, Kevin Streelman 74 67, Tom Hoge 71 70

142 Brendan Steele 72 70, Tiger Woods 76 66, Chan Kim 69 73, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 74 68, Adam Hadwin (Can) 75 67

144 Marc Leishman (Aus) 71 73

146 Phil Mickelson 72 74

148 Danny Lee (Nzl) 72 76, Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn) 74 74

149 Michael Thompson 76 73, Adam Long 77 72

151 Naoki Sekito (Jpn) 71 80

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