(Reuters) – Scottie Scheffler shot an eight-under-par 64, despite chalking up a double bogey at his ninth hole, to tie Rickie Fowler for the second-round lead of The American Express in La Quinta, California, on Friday.
Scheffler narrowly missed an eagle at his last hole, the ninth, to match Fowler’s score as they completed the Nicklaus Tournament Course at 15-under 129.
The round of the day, however, belonged to Tony Finau, who birdied seven of his final nine holes, and 10 in total, for a sizzling 10-under 62 on the Nicklaus course.
That moved him into fourth place at 13-under 131, a stroke behind Andrew Landry (64) and two behind Fowler and Scheffler.
Landry’s round, which featured nine birdies and a bogey, came on the tougher La Quinta course.
Scheffler, who started his round at the 10th, needed a solid second shot at his last hole to help him catch Fowler and he got it, the ball almost rolling in for an eagle.
“I got off to a pretty hot start today, then kept playing pretty solid even after that double at the 18th,” the 23-year-old told PGA Tour Radio.
He got back on track with another birdie at the fourth hole (his 13th) and made up more ground with an eagle at the seventh.
Tournament favorite Fowler also started on the 10th and after picking up two birdies on his front nine collected four more and an eagle after the turn to post an early lead.
“I just did a really good job of picking my way around to the green and making some putts on top of that,” said the five-time PGA Tour winner, who is competing at La Quinta for the first time in six years.
First round co-leaders Zac Blair (70) and Grayson Murray (71) were unable to match their opening 64s.
Tournament host and two-time winner Phil Mickelson, who shot 70 on Thursday, recorded two bogeys and a pair of birdies for a 72 that left him at two-under 142, 13 strokes off the lead.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)