Greenbrier Classic 2018: Kelly Kraft Leads by 1 Stroke Entering Saturday

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 6: Kelly Kraft walks to the 17th green during round two of A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier held at the Old White TPC course on July 6, 2018 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Anirban Lahiri was the star of Friday's second round at the 2018 Greenbrier Classic after shooting a fantastic 61 to push his 36-hole score to 12 under par. 

As impressive as Lahiri was, Kelly Kraft ended the day alone atop the leaderboard at 13 under par thanks to rounds of 64 and 63.           

Lahiri started the day tied for 24th after a respectable 67 in the first round. The 31-year-old is in a tie for second place with Webb Simpson. 

Here's the top of the leaderboard halfway through this year's event at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia:

1. Kelly Kraft (-13)

T-2. Anirban Lahiri (-12)

T-2. Webb Simpson (-12)

4. Jason Kokrak (-11)

T-5. Whee Kim (-10)

T-5. Harold Varner III (-10)

7. Sam Saunders (-9)

T8. Tyler Duncan (-8)

T-8. Kevin Na (-8)

T-8. Joaquin Niemann (-8)

T-8. Austin Cook (-8)

T-8. Xander Schauffele (-8)

T-8. Ollie Schniederjans (-8)

T-8. Billy Hurley III (-8)

T-8. Joel Dahmen (-8)

Full leaderboard via PGATour.com


Kraft had just one major blunder en route to the lead. He was forced to settle for a bogey on the par-five 12th hole but made up for it thanks to eight birdies. 

The 29-year-old Texan has had a rough stretch since finishing third at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in March. He's finished in the top 50 twice in the past 11 tournaments and missed seven cuts during that stretch. 

Lahiri, who started the second round on the back nine, was on a historic pace with four birdies through his first five holes. He settled in with four straight pars to make the turn with a 32. 

The Indian shot a 29 over the final nine holes to complete his masterpiece. His final stats from the round include a perfect greens-in-regulation percentage and an incredible 5.36 strokes gained putting. 

Since turning pro in 2007, Lahiri has 18 wins. However, none of those have come in a PGA Tour event, and his last victory on any circuit was at the Hero Indian Open in February 2015. 

Simpson, who teed off on the 10th hole with Brian Harman and Tony Finau, appeared to be in for a rough outing. Following a birdie and a par to start the round, he gave three shots back with a double bogey on No. 12 and a bogey on the 13th. 

Following that brief hiccup, Simpson rebounded with five birdies over his final 14 holes to finish with a 67. His final birdie on No. 8 put him into a tie with Lahiri. 


.@WebbSimpson1 is making a push for the solo lead late in his second round. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/P2kezetKdI

He remains terrific with his approach shots and with putting the ball close to the hole when he gets on the green:

Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

Webb Simpson leads at Greenbrier after shooting 61-67. He leads the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (+8.1). He's hit 31/36 greens with a field-leading average proximity of 18 feet, 10 inches.

Moving further down the leaderboard, Phil Mickelson (T-33) has been effective through 36 holes thus far. Lefty hasn't put himself in contention at five under par, but with low scores to be had, he can make a significant move Saturday. 

Mickelson salvaged a 69 on Friday despite putting himself in bad positions off the tee and falling 24 spots on the leaderboard. His driving accuracy dropped from 78.6 percent in the first round to 28.6 percent in the second. 

The leader at this year's Greenbrier Classic has nearly matched Xander Schauffele's four-round score when he won the tournament at 14 under par in 2017. Kraft is on pace to post the lowest score in the eight-year history of the event, surpassing Stuart Appleby's 22 under par in 2010. 

Given the high volume of low scores already on the board, as well as a group of 15 players within five shots of the lead, there is no shortage of drama with 36 holes left to play in West Virginia. 


Stats via PGATour.com.