CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Brendon de Jonge never expected to be playing this weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship after shooting 80 in the first round.
Then again, he never thought he would come back and tie the Quail Hollow Club course record with a 10-under 62 Friday, putting him back in contention.
De Jonge said he feels as if he's stolen a paycheck.
"Yeah, and I'm running with it," De Jonge said with a laugh. "Everything from here on out is a bonus."
The 18-shot turnaround was the second largest from one round to the next on the PGA Tour since Kevin Stadler went 81-61 at the 2008 Frys.com Open. Stadler did not make the cut in that tournament.
De Jonge said he came into Friday's round with no expectations and extremely relaxed, figuring he would use the day to work on his game and gear up for The Players Championship next week.
Instead, he wound up with what he called the craziest two days of his professional career. He had eight birdies and chipped in from 63 yards away on the par-4 14th hole.
"Golf is a strange game," he said.
De Jonge said his play on the greens was the difference. He changed putters after Thursday's round and suddenly started rolling almost everything in, including a birdie on the difficult par-3 17th hole.
The Zimbabwe native who now lives in Charlotte said he knew he had a chance to break the course record set by Rory McIlroy in 2010 when he lined up his final putt on the ninth hole. But the 19-foot birdie attempt went past the right side of the hole.
He tapped in for par and tossed the ball to a young fan as he left the course to screams of "Great round, Brendon!"
"It's just another golf ball," he said with a laugh. "I'm not that superstitious."
JUST CHILLING: Even-keeled Martin Flores has put himself in good position to win his first PGA tournament after going 67-68.
He's never finished better than fourth place since joining the PGA Tour in 2010.
Flores rarely flashes any emotion on the course and stayed true to his personality after holing out for an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 11th hole.
"I'm pretty chill, you know," said Flores, the 226th-ranked player in the world. "I may not be that way on the inside but outwardly it looks like that a lot of the time. Overall, I don't get too up or too down. It's a tough, tough game and you get beat up a lot."
It was that even personality that helped him weather a double-bogey 6 on the first hole Friday and still finish strong.
Flores said now the goal is to put four solid rounds together, something he's not accomplished on Tour.
MICKELSON'S MISERY: So much for not digging himself a hole.
One day after Phil Mickelson's 5-under 67 left him brimming with excitement over not having to come from behind — something he's had to do repeatedly this season — the Hall of Famer shot 75.
Mickelson, in his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters, will have plenty of work to do if he hopes to capture his first Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson doesn't seem overly concerned.
"I'll try to go out and make a run a run tomorrow," Mickelson said. "I'm not that far back and I wasn't that far off. It's not like I've got a lot of work to do. I just need to get a little more dialed in."
PERFECT WEEKEND: It's expected to be a beautiful weekend in Charlotte with temperatures in the mid-70s and no rain in the forecast. Charlotte resident and former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson said he's expecting players to take advantage of what should be prime conditions.
"I think score conditions will be perfect for us," Simpson said. "I think (a score) in the 60s will keep me in it and give me a chance Sunday."
BLOSSOMING: Justin Rose said he's healthy and his game is starting to reflect that. Rose has battled tendinitis in his shoulder, something which kept him out of action earlier this year.
Rose shot 67 Friday and is 8-under at the midway point of the tournament.
"Sometimes it's a lag affect before it show up on the golf course, but I just felt that I needed to string a number of rounds together," Rose said. "I've had a lot of stop-starts this year and I just felt like I needed to get toned and sharp, and that's beginning to show."
DIVOT: Defending Wells Fargo champion Derek Ernst put himself in contention heading into the weekend after a second round 68 left him at 3-under.