November 30, 2018

Round 2 Recap: New and Old Names Top the leaderboard

A first-time tournament participant and a two-time runner up share the lead at the halfway mark of the 2018 Hero World Challenge. Jon Rahm and Henrik Stenson binged on birdies Friday to vault to 10-under par and take a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay heading into the weekend at Albany, Bahamas.

Rahm, the No. 8 player in the Official World Golf Rankings who is making his Hero World Challenge debut, followed up his 1-under par 71 opening round with a bogey-free 9-under in Round 2. The two-time PGA TOUR winner closed out his front nine by birdieing three of the last four holes, then remained hot in his finishing nine, with five birdies. A long birdie putt from the edge of the 10th green pushed his round into overdrive.

“I hit it so solid off the tee, I was always in the fairway with a short club in,” Rahm said. “Besides that, I followed with some good iron play. I capitalized on the easier holes today, played really good. It didn’t seem like much could go wrong. After that putt on 10 I got a lot of confidence and was swinging really aggressively at the pin.”

Stenson had runner-up finishes at the Hero in 2014 and 2016, and put himself in position to make a run at his first victory in the Hero World Challenge as play enters the weekend. Friday, he opened with birdies on three of his first five holes, and after a bogey on No. 10, rolled in three straight birdies on holes 14-16.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Stenson said. “Putting’s been really solid these first couple of days. Short game as well, a lot of good up and downs.  A couple of wishy-washy shots, but all in all, in good shape.”

Johnson had four straight birdies on his back nine capping a 5-under-par day, and Cantlay stayed steady to remain within a stroke of the lead. Long-hitting Tony Finau, another first-time participant in the Hero World Challenge, made a run up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth, following his even-par opening round with an 8-under-par effort Friday – highlighted by a chip-in eagle from the sand on No. 9.

Patrick Reed, who shared the top spot with Cantlay after the first round, struggled to a 5-over-par round due to bogeys on his first two holes, a double on the seventh and an absence of birdies.

Round three of the Hero World Challenge continues tomorrow with exclusive lead-in coverage on Golf Channel from noon to 2:30 p.m. followed by the live broadcast on NBC from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.