With the overnight leaders not able to match their heroics from the opening round, Matt Every fired a nearly flawless 62 to take the lead at nine-under in the 2013 Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
It was an interesting Friday on the course, as the leaderboard became insanely tightly packed. There are five golfers just a shot back and 15 pros within three shots of the lead. It is going to be a wild weekend at Greenbrier.
Have a look at the leaderboard, and then I'll offer up a recap of the day.
View the full leaderboard at visit PGA.com.
|1 ||Mat Every ||-9|
All stats via PGATour.com.
Matt Every Surges
Every fired eight birdies and no bogeys en route to his eight-under 62. He had every facet of his play working in this round. He hit 78.6 percent of his fairways, 88.9 percent of his greens and had a strokes gained-putting average of 4.492.
This puts Every in a strong position to claim his maiden win on the PGA Tour. He is certainly playing well enough to do so. And he had two runner-up finishes last year, so it's not like he's unaccustomed to being in contention.
However, with this many golfers in close contention, it is hard to pick any one player to emerge victorious.
The 2nd-Place Pack
Daniel Summerhays, Bill Lunde, Steven Bowditch, Russell Henley and Johnson Wagner are all locked in second.
Of that group, Henley had the best Friday by shooting a 65. Henley was striking the ball wonderfully, and he only missed one fairway on the day.
As you can see with this 136-yard approach on the par-four fourth hole, he also had his short irons dialed in:
However, Henley suffered a double bogey on the very next hole, which prevented him from having the lead to himself.
Tom Watson Is Amazing
The incomparable Tom Watson qualified for weekend play by breaking 70 in each of his first two rounds. The 63-year-old fired a 68 in his first round and followed that up with a 69 on Friday.
Watson, who started the day on the back side, made a nice charge to close his round with a birdie on two of the last three holes.
The Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman puts his performance in perspective:
Crazy to a think 63 yr old golfer should struggle to contend on Champions tour & Tom Watson's still making PGA TOUR cuts #timeless— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) July 5, 2013
We'll see if he can hold it together for four rounds, but it's pretty clear he has his game in great shape heading into the British Open—where he may never be too old to be counted out.
Phil Mickelson Struggles
Phil Mickelson will not be in contention to win the Greenbrier Classic. I can say this with confidence on Friday because Phil did not make the cut.
Mickelson fired a solid two-under 68 on Friday, but that was not good enough to atone for his opening-round 74.
Teeing off on the backside on Friday, Mickelson got off to a great start by firing a four-under on the opening side without suffering a bogey. However, he came back down to earth on his final nine. He suffered three bogeys and wound up two over for his back side.
This birdie on No. 7 was not enough to save Phil, as he struggled with his distance control all day.
His early exit at Greenbrier is not foreign to him. The Golf Channel explains:
If that extra work at Muirfield pays off, Lefty may just start missing the cut at this event on purpose.