Fort Wayne, IN – Regular season money leader Michael Putnam fired a course record 9-under 63 on Friday to move into a share of the lead of the inaugural Hotel Fitness Championship, the first event of the Web.com Tour Finals.
Patrick Cantlay carded a 7-under 65 and Trevor Immelman shot a 6-under 66 to join Putnam at 11-under-par 133.
"Starting the second round I was battling to make the cut and now I'm in the lead," Putnam said. "There are 180,000 reasons to win this week."
Scott Harrington (69), Bud Cauley (69) and Arron Oberholser (68) share fourth place at 10-under, while Troy Matteson (70) sits alone in seventh at 9-under 135.
Scott Gardiner (67), Len Mattiace (69) and Will Claxton (69) share eighth place at Sycamore Hills Golf Club at minus-8.
The finals consist the top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 on the PGA Tour's FedExCup points list, as well as some exemptions, competing for 25 PGA Tour cards.
Immelman was the first of the co-leaders to head out on the course and he quickly got on the board with birdies at the 12th and 14th.
He moved to 8-under for the tournament with a gain at the 17th before making it two in a row at the 18th.
The 2008 Masters champion capped his bogey-free round with seven pars and a pair of birdies during an inward 34 to claim the clubhouse lead.
"You've got to put your foot on the gas," said Immelman. "Over the last few years, golfers have gotten so good all over the world, on every tour. Gone are the days of shooting even-par on the last day and winning, even at the majors. Guys are not afraid to go low."
Putnam went out with afternoon wave and also started on the back nine. He raced out of the gate with birdies at the 10th, 11th and 13th around an eagle at the 12th to quickly move to 7-under.
He added gains at Nos. 15 and 18 to make the turn at 9-under and looked to be in contention for the Web.com Tour's third 59 of the season, but Putnam could only manage two more birdies during his round -- at the fourth and ninth -- and parred his other seven holes to fall well short of that goal.
"That's the best start I ever had, especially on those holes. They're not easy," stated Putnam. "I was thinking to myself walking to the 10th hole, I still have to shoot 30 on this nine (to shoot 59) and that was too much to ask. I really didn't think about it the rest of the way."
Cantlay opened his round with a par at the 10th before tripping to a bogey at the 11th.
He would not drop another shot for the rest of the day, however, and he quickly got that stroke back with a birdie at the 12th.
The 21-year-old converted back-to-back birdie chances at the 15th and 16th to make the turn at 6-under.
After a birdie at the second, Cantlay rolled in three straight birdies from the fifth to move within a stroke of the lead, and closed with a birdie at the last to place himself in prime position to earn his second career win on the Web.com Tour.
Jeff Klauk joined the leaders when he followed an eagle at the second with a birdie at the third, which were his 11th and 12th holes, but he bogeyed the fourth and later recorded a quadruple-bogey seven at the seventh to fall well off the pace.
NOTES: Scott McCarron, who held the first-round lead by setting the old course record with a 64 on Thursday, struggled to a 3-over 75 during his second round to fall into a tie for 34th place at 5-under 139 ... Matt Bettencourt withdrew during the second round due to a back injury and Brett Stegmaier withdrew during the second round due to a wrist injury ... Doug LaBelle II recorded a hole-in-one at the fourth hole, but failed to make the cut ... Oberholser made a cut for the first time since the 2009 Frys.com Open ... Putnam is seeking his fourth career victory on the Web.com Tour and third this season, while Immelman is seeking his first career victory on the Web.com Tour. Immelman is trying to regain his PGA Tour card after placing outside the top 125 in the PGA Tour's FedExCup points list.