Webb Simpson leads the RBC Heritage, but big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau is lurking. Here’s where things stand at Harbour Town through two rounds:
Leaderboard: Webb Simpson (-12), Bryson DeChambeau (-11), Corey Conners (-11), Ryan Palmer (-10)
What it means: Playing alongside DeChambeau, Simpson racked up nine birdies as part of a second-round, 6-under 65. The slew of birdies made up for a few hiccups, including at the 16th hole, where Simpson hit his tee shot into the left waste area. His caddie, Paul Tesori, then stepped on the ball, and though that wasn’t a penalty in itself, Simpson did have to take an unplayable and ended up making bogey. Simpson recovered nicely, however, making more than 186 feet of putts. Simpson has fared well at Harbour Town in the past, finishing runner-up in 2013 and showing T-16 or better in each of the past three editions, including a T-5 performance in 2018. DeChambeau, who has had to dial back his game off the tee this week because of Harbour Town’s tight corridors, birdied six of his first eight holes before carding 64. The pair will again play together on Saturday, as it will again be a matchup of two contrasting playing styles.
Rounds of the day: Connors went out in 5-under 30 before finishing off a bogey-free, 8-under 63 to rise into contention and join DeChambeau in a tie for second. Conners began a streak of six straight top-20s in the fall, but he also had missed three of four cuts before tying for 19th in the Tour’s return to competition last week at Colonial. Jhonattan Vegas and Tyler Duncan also carded 63s on Friday.
Other headlines: Arguably overshadowing the play, Nick Watney became the first Tour player to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Watney was forced to withdraw and will be unable compete for 14 days, which essentially takes him out of the next two tournaments. … Despite a closing bogey, Brooks Koepka shot 66 and joined a group at 9 under. … After some uninspired play at Seminole and then missing the cut at Colonial, Dustin Johnson sits at 8 under thanks to a 5-under 66. … World No. 1 Rory McIlroy bounced back from an opening 72 to shoot 65 and make the weekend. … Spieth’s first-round 65 was followed by a three-birdie 70. He is six off Simpson’s lead.
Biggest disappointment: Rickie Fowler birdied his penultimate hole, the par-3 17th, but that was his only one of the round. He shot 72 and missed his second straight cut. The last time Fowler missed consecutive cuts was in 2016, when he missed weekends at The Players, Memorial and U.S. Open.
Shot of the day: With Harbour Town’s tight fairways, shots like this one by Simpson are required frequently (and he pulled it off nicely for a third straight birdie):
Quote of the day: “I didn’t use it at all today. I didn’t let the Kraken out today.” – DeChambeau, talking about his full-go driver