Seventh-ranked Max Homa set a course record with an eight-under-par 62 to take a two-stroke lead after Friday’s second round of the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, the penultimate FedEx Cup playoff event.
The 32-year-old American made 10 birdies against two bogeys at Olympia Fields in suburban Chicago to break the old mark of 63 shared by Fiji’s Vijay Singh and American Rickie Fowler.
“It was fun. It was pretty cool,” Homa said. “It’s rare that you just point and shoot, but that’s how it felt.
“I put a lot of uphill, I did a couple of sidewinders, just did everything well, so it was a very fun day.”
Homa matched his career-low PGA round from last year’s Tour Championship to stand at 10-under 130 after 36 holes, two better than compatriot Chris Kirk with England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, the 2022 US Open champion, and American Brian Harman, last month’s British Open winner, tied for third at 133.
“I know 36 holes is a long way to go, but at the same time I want to enjoy what I did today,” Homa said. “I will take with me that I play very good golf.”
In addition to a $3.6 million top prize, 50 players are seeking a top-30 finish in season points to qualify for next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Homa, who won his sixth career PGA title at Torrey Pines in January, missed just two greens and four fairways and made six birdies in eight holes on the back nine before a closing par.
“I birdied most of the holes on the back nine and it felt pretty good,” Homa said. “I holed a lot of putts, which you have to do to make 10 birdies, but I was very proud of how I drove it. I felt like I was able to attack all day.”
The course was still soft from rain earlier in the week, allowing Homa to be aggressive with susceptible greens and fairways.
“The greens are still really soft, so being on the fairway as often as I was, it felt like I was able to be aggressive when I wanted to,” Homa said.
“The tee ball set everything up. It was a big bonus to make as many putts as I did.”
Homa sank a five-foot birdie putt at the par-5 first hole, a 10-footer at the fourth and a birdie putt from three feet at the fifth. He birdied from within 10 feet on seven after finding a fairway bunker, but bogeyed the par-3 eighth.
His sizzling putts sparked a back-9 charge that included five birdies in the first six holes — on a 13-foot putt at 10, a 22-foot putt at 11, an 18-foot putt at the par-3 13th. 14 to take the solo lead and a six-footer on the par-5 15th to reach 10-under.
Homa missed the green and a 14-foot par putt to bogey the par-3 16th, then responded by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th.
– Rory ‘didn’t convert’ –
Kirk, clinging to an Atlanta berth at 29th in points, fired his second 66.
“I played well all around,” Kirk said. “I hit my irons really great.”
Reigning FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy, co-leader after an opening 65, shot 70 to share fifth place with England’s Justin Rose and Americans Fowler, Harris English and top-ranked Scottie Scheffler.
Second-ranked McIlroy could overtake Scheffler with a win.
“I just didn’t convert anything,” McIlroy said. “Hit a lot of good putts. Hit a lot of edges. Just didn’t really get anything out.”
Fourth-ranked American Patrick Cantlay, the two-time defending champion, shot 68 to finish at 136.
American Lucas Glover, the 2009 US Open champion who won PGA titles the past two weeks, was at 137.
Playoff points leader Jon Rahm, the reigning Masters champion from Spain, shot 74 to stand at 142 after his first round without a birdie outside the majors in five years.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, withdrew with a back injury.