Masters champion Jordan Spieth rebounded spectacularly from his three over par opening round with a stunning, career low 62 in the second round of the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
A nine under par effort propelled the 21-year-old into a share for seventh on six under par, six shots behind Tory Merritt, who shot a 61 in benign conditions at Harbour Town Golf Links to lead by two shots on 12 under from Matt Kuchar (66) and John Merrick (65).
Graeme McDowell is tied for fourth, five shots behind Merritt on seven under after adding a 69 to his opening 66.
Spieth's 62 was just a shot off the tournament single-round record 61 set by David Frost in 1994 and matched by Merritt.
“(I) found something in my ball position on the range this morning, and it made a significant difference in my ball-striking and in my putting,” Spieth said.
McDowell started with a birdie at the 10th but holed little and bogeyed the 14th and 18th to slip back.
But he still played well and had more luck on the front nine with birdie fours at the second and fifth and a bogey at the sixth followed by satisfying closing birdies at the eighth and ninth.
"We were talking before we came in that Jordan looked like a kid who had aged 10 years yesterday," McDowell said. "He looked tired. The few days following a major championship win are a whirlwind experience with the media demands and the things that happen. And the fact that every caddie and player and official wants to shake your hand and tell you what he thought of your performance, which is so amazing but also so mentally tiring.
"Fair play to Jordan today. I saw him this morning early for breakfast and he said, if I can just shoot a few under par, I can sneak in for the weekend and get a nap this afternoon. He did a little but more than that. Being 21 you have alit more bounce back in the system.
"It's great to have him here and amazing to have him on the leaderboard as well."
As for his own performance, McDowell said: "Those two birdies to finish were very nice. I played some good golf today and hit some great putts the first nine holes but couldn't get the ball in the hole and 14 and 18 are tough holes.
"It was nice to place steady on the front nine, my back nine and whole I three putted six, which was disappointing, I had a storming finish on eight and nine."
Winner of the total in 2013. McDowell simply enjoys the relaxed nature of the week following the stresses of the Masters.
"I am looking forward to it," he said of the weekend. "There are some great names on the leaderboard after some very benign condition this morning. Jordan with a 62. It was there to be got if you had everything firing in your game. Let's be honest, he's got everything firing right now."
El Bosque Mexico Championship
West Waterford's Seamus Power double bogeyed his final hole to miss the cut by a stroke in the El Bosque Mexico Championship.
The Web.com Tour rookie had opened with a three over 75 but having fought back from four over through 20 holes to level with one to go, he took six at the ninth and missed out.
Peter Malnati and Casey Wittenberg shot 68s to lead by one stroke on 11 under par from Kevin Tway.
European Tour - Shenzhen International
Bubba Watson and Michael Hoey made the cut as Peter Uihlein bettered Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s round of 69 by one stroke to move a shot clear on nine under par on a breezy second day at the Shenzhen International.
Watson added a 74 to his opening 70 to survive for the weekend with two shots to spare on level par 144 with Hoey a shot further back after rounds of 74 and 71.
Damien McGrane (73-75/148) missed by two with Peter Lawrie (74-75/149) and Kevin Phelan (74-76/150) also cut.
“It was tricky today, the wind was swirling quite a bit," Uihlein said. "I got the back nine out of the way pretty quickly. I played very solid. I felt like getting anything under par on the back nine was nice, and I played a pretty stress-free front nine, which is always good.
“I don’t really have too much going on in my head, I just do my own thing and stick to my own game plan. I don’t really change things very often. It worked the first couple days so I’ll see how it goes from here.”
New European Tour CEO
The Board of the PGA European Tour yesterday announce the appointment of Canadian Keith Pelley, 51, as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective this summer. This follows the announcement in November 2014 that George O’Grady would be stepping down from the role.
Pelley is currently President of Rogers Media, a media conglomerate in Canada with responsibility for all lines of the media business, including 51 radio stations, 56 publications, 12 national TV stations plus 42 local stations, 300 digital properties as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s only Major League Baseball team.
While at Rogers, Pelley helped orchestrate the largest sports rights deal in Canadian history, the first of its kind worldwide, with the acquisition of a $5.2 billion National Hockey League rights deal for 12 years to include all media platforms.
Thomas Bjørn, Chairman of The European Tour’s Tournament Committee said: “You only need to look at what he has achieved in sports and business to date to see that his record speaks for itself."
Date of birth: 11 January 1964 (Age: 51)
Family: Married to Joan with two children Jason and Hope
Currently a member of Lambton Golf and Country Club, and Goodwood Golf Club in Canada. Handicap 5 (Index 4.1)
Golfweek's Alastair Tait lays out Pelley's task here, but it equates to the same things that agents such as Chubby Chandler have been saying for years — Europe needs at least three major Swings per year: the Gulf, around the BMW PGA and/or the Open, and after the FedEx Cup.