Last week, Webb Simpson ran away with a win at the Players Championship.
This week, Marc Leishman could do the same at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Following an opening-round 61 on Thursday that had him sitting at 10-under par, Leishman continued to pace the field Friday with a five-under 66 that moved him to 15 under through 36 holes.
Americans Aaron Wise and Brian Gay made serious charges by shooting eight and nine under, respectively. However, they're still sitting in trail positions entering moving day at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Texas.
Here's a look at the top of the leaderboard, with complete standings available at PGATour.com:
- 1. Marc Leishman, -15
- 2. Aaron Wise, -14
- 3. Brian Gay, -13
- T-4. Jimmy Walker, -11
- T-4. Eric Axley, -11
- T-4. Kevin Na, -11
- T-7. Martin Piller, -10
- T-7. Adam Scott, -10
- T-7. Matt Jones, -10
- T-7. Kevin Tway, -10
- T-7. Vaughn Taylor, -10
Leishman finished his round with six birdies compared to a single bogey, and he poured in putts from all angles to bolster his standing atop the leaderboard.
Take the par-three 12th, for instance, when Leishman drained a daunting 55-footer to start his day with a bang:
The 34-year-old kept at it on the front nine—he teed off on No. 10—and added a long-range effort from 29 feet to move to four under on the day:
According to Golf Channel's Justin Ray, history suggests Leishman's run of form over the past 48 hours has him in the driver's seat to end the weekend with a trophy in tow:
One player who likely won't be hoisting some hardware on Sunday is Jordan Spieth (-7).
Although Spieth—one of five top-50 OWGR golfers participating in the Byron Nelson—stood out Friday with a five-under 66, he left a couple gimmes on the table that could have allowed him to sit within striking distance of the leader.
Specifically, Spieth missed two putts inside of three feet, including one on No. 9 as he closed out his day with a bogey:
Still, it wasn't all bad. Spieth was in a real groove aside from the short misfires, as Ray noted, and he drained four straight birdies between No. 5 and No. 8 to make a run up the leaderboard:
"I've played so much better than I've scored," Spieth said after his round, according to WFAA's Mike Leslie.
The hometown hero, who is coming off a 41st-place finish at the Players, will attempt to nestle himself into the top 10 Saturday.