Brendan Steele posted four straight birdies to open his second round at the Honda Classic before darkness forced the suspension of play until Saturday. His eight-under total gives him a two-stroke lead over Patrick Reed heading into the weekend.
Although cuts won't become official until Round 2 is completed, several notable players found themselves below the cut line when play was halted. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson among them.
The second round was delayed twice on Friday due to weather conditions. Some players still have a majority of their round to finish when play resumes tomorrow. Let's check out how the leaderboard shapes up after Day 2, followed by a recap of the action.
Day 2 Recap
Steele started the second round late in the afternoon with full knowledge he'd only be able to complete a handful of holes before the horn blew. He certainly made the most of them, knocking home four straight birdies and a chance to sleep on the lead.
Ron Green Jr. of Global Golf Post highlighted the strong effort:
Even though he watched Steele cruise by, Reed is still in a good position. He was able to complete his second round before the darkness arrived. So he won't be forced to play the extra holes on Saturday, which tend to take a physical and mental toll.
Perhaps that, along with Reed's solid play so far this year, is why Ken Pomeroy's PGA Win Probability meter still favors the player in second place:
Ian Poulter is also firmly in the mix after a terrific effort to open the second round. He was five under par through eight holes when the day's action ended. It was a nice turnaround after finishing over par in the opening round.
Just to confirm, it was a rainy day in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; the Englishman's caddie was forced to chase away a duck:
Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Jamie Donaldson are some of the other notable names inside the top 10.
One player outside that group who had an outstanding Friday was Brooks Koepka. He shot a 78 in the first round and seemed like a long shot to make the cut. Instead, he bounced back in a huge way with a 64 to move safely above the cut line.
He's still 10 stokes off the pace, but it's better than an early exit. A birdie on the 18th was one of the many key moments in his round:
McIlroy was hoping for a similar turnaround after a subpar Round 1, especially by his recent standards. It didn't happen. He was never able to find a rhythm in tricky conditions, and three late bogeys on Friday ended his hopes of making the weekend.
Golf Channel's Justin Ray passed along an interesting stat that speaks to the longtime success of Tiger Woods:
Steve DiMeglio of USA Today provided comments from an obviously frustrated McIlroy after his second round ended.
"Yeah, I'm pissed off," he said. "I don't like missing cuts. I'm not going to be playing this weekend, which is not nice. … I care about my results week-in, week-out, regardless whether that's leading up to a major or not."
He still has plenty of time to get back into top form before the Masters.
While McIlroy and some other big names are heading home, it should be a highly competitive weekend. Some golfers still have up to 15 holes left in the second round, which means there's a lot of time for things to change at the top.
Steele was clearly playing some awesome golf before it got dark. Whether he will be able to replicate that on Saturday is very much a mystery. That's why Reed, who doesn't have to play the extra weekend golf, should feel great about his chances.
More rain is in the forecast for Saturday with an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms before things should clear up on Sunday, per The Weather Channel. It could create constantly changing conditions and a hectic atmosphere over the next two days.
Whichever contending golfer is able to handle it best will take home the title.