Rory McIlroy ten strokes back in tied-57th; defending champion Tiger Woods 12 behind in a share of 66th
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 24/10/20 1:31am
Justin Thomas continued his hot start to the Zozo Championship to grab a one-shot lead after another low-scoring day in California.
Thomas fired seven birdies in a bogey-free 65 at Sherwood Country Club to get to 14 under and edge ahead of a congested leaderboard, where 21 players head into the weekend within four strokes of the lead.
Dylan Frittelli and Lanto Griffin matched Thomas’ score to sit in a share of second, with Patrick Cantlay a further stroke back in tied-fourth alongside Scottie Scheffler and Richy Werenski jumping within three of the lead after a course-record 61.
Tyrrell Hatton leads the European interest after three birdies in the last four holes helped him to a four-under 68, lifting him to tied-sixth, while Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both lost further ground on the lead despite carding rounds of 67 and 66 respectively.
Beginning on the back nine, Thomas made a two-putt gain at the 11th and holed a 20-footer from off the next green, with further birdies over his next two holes followed by another at the par-four 16th.
Thomas birdied the first and made par at the next despite finding water with his approach, before converting a 10-footer at the third and seeing out his bogey-free card by draining clutch 15-foot par-save at the par-three eighth.
“I played well,” Thomas said. “I’m not very pleased with the finish. The last six holes I would have liked to at least have got something. Definitely having a 5-iron and a 5-wood out of the fairway into two par-fives and making two pars is not good.
“I had a great par save there on 8 and I hit a lot of good shots, I just wasn’t near as tight and tidy those last four holes. So just try to go work on that a little bit to where hopefully it’s fixed for the weekend.”
Frittelli also got to 14 under with five birdies in a six-hole stretch but then bogeyed the par-four last, while Griffin held a share of the lead until missing a ten-footer to save par on his final hole of the day.
Scheffler birdied his first five holes of the day on his way to a seven-under 65, with former Masters champions Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed shooting 63s and Matt Fitzpatrick in the group on ten under that also includes Justin Rose.
McIlroy is ten strokes off the pace in tied-57th after mixing eight birdies with three bogeys, while defending champion Woods is in a share of 66th despite his six-under 66 being ten shots better than his score from the opening day.
Watch the Zozo Championship throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday with Featured Groups from 6pm via the red button, ahead of full coverage from 10pm on Sky Sports Golf.