Rocket Mortgage Classic 2020: Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk Share Lead After Round 2

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JULY 03: Webb Simpson of the United States plays his shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 03, 2020 at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson sit atop a crowded leaderboard after two rounds at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic. 

Both men are tied at 12 under par and followed by a group of six players one shot behind them after Friday's play. Simpson, Matthew Wolff and Ryan Armour posted the lowest second-round scores of 64 to put themselves in the mix heading into the weekend.       

Here's the top of the leaderboard after 36 holes at Detroit Golf Club, via PGATour.com:

T-1. Chris Kirk (-12)

T-1. Webb Simpson (-12)

T-3. Seamus Power (-11)

T-3. Matthew Wolff (-11)

T-3. Bryson DeChambeau (-11)

T-3. Mark Hubbard (-11)

T-3. Ryan Armour (-11)

T-3. Richy Werenski (-11)

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T-9. Kevin Kisner (-10)

T-9. Sepp Straka (-10)

Kirk and Simpson began the day in excellent positions coming off opening-round scores of 67 and 68, respectively. 

Simpson hit a new level Friday because of his ability to go from the tee to the green in a hurry:

If there's any nitpick about Simpson's performance, it's that he could have fared even better if his putting were on point. The 34-year-old lost 0.233 strokes with his putter in the second round. He was able to save himself from a potential mess on No. 16 with this shot from the bunker for birdie:

Simpson is riding a wave of momentum coming off a victory two weeks ago at the RBC Heritage. He hasn't had an 18-hole score over 69 since the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge, a streak of seven rounds. 

Kirk looked to be on track for one of the best rounds of his career on the front nine. The Tennessee native was firing on all cylinders with a 30, including three consecutive birdies, as he made the turn. 

Per Justin Ray of 15th Club, Kirk's streak of success dates back to his win at the King & Bear Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour two weeks ago:

The back nine did slow Kirk down a bit as he settled for a 35 and capped off the round with his only bogey of the day, but he's still in prime position to get his first PGA Tour victory since 2015.

This is unusual territory for Kirk on Tour in 2020. He hasn't finished higher than 33rd and missed five cuts in eight previous tournaments this season.

Wolff and Armour were two of the biggest movers up the leaderboard Friday. They both rose 43 spots after ending the first round tied for 46th. 

Armour was able to post a 64 thanks in part to an ace on No. 5. He's been steadily building toward this moment, including a sixth-place showing at the Travelers Championship, his first top-10 finish since last October. 

Wolff didn't have a single spectacular moment like Armour's ace, but he did have a run of six straight birdies, starting with his fifth hole. The 21-year-old, who is in his second season on the PGA Tour, hasn't finished higher than 54th in three events since the season resumed June 11. 

The only top-10 finish of Wolff's career came last July, when he won the 3M Open. 

Things remain wide-open for a large portion of the field with 36 holes to play. There are 17 players within three shots of Kirk and Simpson. Twenty-four players shot 67 or better in the second round, an indication there will be a lot more low scores over the next two days.     

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