White Sulphur Springs, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - Billy Hurley fired a 7-under 63 on Friday to soar into the lead after two rounds of The Greenbrier Classic.
Hurley, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, finished 36 holes at 9-under-par 131. He is coming off a tie for eighth last week at the Quicken Loans National and is searching for his first tour victory.
Kevin Chappell (65) and Chris Stroud (66) are tied for second place at minus-8, while Troy Matteson is one back at 7-under 133 after firing a 9-under 61 in round two on the Old White TPC Course at The Greenbrier.
Steve Stricker shot 2-under 68 and moved into a share of fifth at minus-6. He was joined there by Brice Garnett (66) and Chris Kirk (69).
Bubba Watson (67), Camilo Villegas (67), Pat Perez (69), Jim Renner (70) and David Lingmerth (68) are tied for eighth at 5-under 135.
First-round leader and defending champion Jonas Blixt tripped to a 3-over 73 and fell into a share of 25th at minus-3.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson posted a 2-under 68 to end 36 holes at 1- under-par 139. He made the cut by two strokes.
Hurley opened with four pars in a row from the 10th before rolling in a 7- footer for birdie at the 14th. After kicking in a short birdie try on No. 16, Hurley converted a 17-foot birdie effort at the 17th.
The U.S. Naval Academy grad made another 17-footer for birdie at the first. That moved him to 6-under. After a pair of pars, he then holed a birdie chance from off the fourth green.
Hurley's approach at the fifth stopped within five feet of the hole and he drained that putt for birdie. He rolled in a 6-foot chance at the seventh for his final birdie of the day.
"I drove it really well today, hit a lot of fairways, and when you do that around here, you have a lot of short irons," Hurley said. "I chipped in once today, too, so that was fun. Driving the ball well makes the difference between going at flags and not going at them."
Chappell converted birdie chances of 13 and 18 feet at the third and fifth, respectively. He parred his next four holes before sinking an 8-foot birdie try on the par-4 10th.
After four more pars, Chappell missed the green with his tee shot at the par-3 15th, but he holed out from there for another birdie. Chappell birdied the 17th to get within one of the lead and he ended there after making par at the last to close out a bogey-free round.
Stroud, who played alongside Hurley in the first group out off the 10th tee, flew out of the gate with four birdies in his first five holes from the 10th. That spurt moved him to minus-8, but he gave one back at the par-3 18th, where he missed the green with his tee shot and failed to save par.
He got that stroke back on the front side, as he poured in an 18-footer for birdie on the second. Stroud traded a bogey for a birdie from the sixth to end at minus-8.
"I got off to a nice start," Stroud stated. "I didn't birdie 17, which was a pretty easy hole, and I bogeyed 18, so I lost a little momentum at the turn. "I started getting a little loose with the swing on the second nine."
NOTES: None of the top-3 players on the leaderboard owns a PGA Tour win ... Matteson needed just 19 putts in his round of 61. He was one off the tour record for fewest putts in a round ... The top four players that finish in the top 12 on the leaderboard will get into the Open Championship if not already qualified. If there is a tie, the player with the higher world ranking will gain the spot at Hoylake ... The cut line fell at even-par 140, with 89 players moving on to the weekend ... There will be a second cut to the low 70 and ties after the third round ... Among those that missed the cut were Nick Watney, Chad Campbell, Darren Clarke, FedExCup points leader Jimmy Walker and Nick Faldo.