Beau Hossler fired a second-round 4-under 68 and will take a one-stroke lead into the weekend at the Houston Open.
The former University of Texas star offset his lone bogey with five birdies, highlighted by three-straight gains on Nos. 8-10, en route to a two-day total of 11-under par 133.
“It’s been great. I’ve taken advantage of a lot of easy holes out here and I’ve played the tough ones pretty well, so I think I managed only one bogey thus far,” said Hossler, whose best career finish is a T7 in Las Vegas last fall at the Shriners.
“I’ve hit a lot of quality shots and feel like my game’s in a good place.”
Hossler is one-shot ahead of Rickie Fowler, Sam Ryder, Abraham Ancer and Nicholas Lindheim.
Following an opening-round 66, Fowler shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to reach 10-under par. The 29-year old star held a share of the lead until a final-hole bogey dropped him back to T2, alongside Ryder (68), Ancer (66) and Lindheim (66).
“Definitely happy with where we’re heading,” said Fowler, who has yet to miss a cut in seven starts at the Houston Open.
“I know I can clean some stuff up over the next two days. But yeah, good solid start, and like I said, I know we can get some stuff cleaned up the next two days and next week.”
One further back at 9-under par was Jordan Spieth, who posted a second-day 67 to sit T6.
Spieth was cruising along bogey-free at 6 under par through 15 holes, but a bogey on the par-3 16th left a blemish on an otherwise perfect round.
“I thought today was a step forward from yesterday. It’s a round that could have been really special, but I don’t have to have an 8 or 9 under round,” said Spieth.
“I feel like my game’s in form and that’s really cool. I’m having a lot of fun out there.”
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson posted a second-consecutive 68 and is tied with Matt Kuchar at 8-under par. The duo sit T11 alongside Bud Cauley (69), Luke List (68), Chesson Hadley (68), Shane Lowry (68), and Grayson Murray (68), among others.
After a first-round 73, Ian Poulter shot a low-round 64 on Friday to move into contention at 7-under par. Poulter is one of several high-profile players who need a win in Houston to get into the Masters.
“Yesterday was a frustrating day on the golf course, didn’t really get anything going when it was flat calm conditions. And then obviously today contrast, we had a completely different wind to what we had yesterday and I rolled the ball real nice,” said Poulter, who finished bogey-free with eight birdies.
“I mean, I started to hole a few putts. I rolled a 30-footer, 25-footer, 18-footer, 15-footer.
“So when you’re doing that and hitting good shots to take advantage of a couple par 5s then without any mistakes, you can actually post a decent out here.
“64’s a good number, back in the mix and hopefully I have a really good weekend.”
The Englishman sits T23 along with compatriot Justin Rose (69) and Argentinian Emiliano Grillo (68).
Despite a triple bogey on the 18th hole, Phil Mickelson carded a 1-under 71 on Friday. The 47-year old legend headlines a logjam of 15 players at 5 under, one-shot clear of defending champion Russell Henley (71) and Brandt Snedeker at 4-under par.
1 Beau Hossler -11
2 Rickie Fowler -10
2 Abraham Ancer -10
2 Nicholas Lindheim -10
2 Sam Ryder -10
6 Paul Dunne -9
6 Bronson Burgoon -9
6 Jordan Spieth -9
6 Kevin Tway -9
6 Julian Suri -9
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