Published November 20, 2014
Jimmy Walker fired an 8-under 62 on Friday to take the second-round lead of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.
Walker finished two rounds at 12-under 128 and is one stroke clear of defending champion and this year's U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson, who had a 7- under 63 on Friday.
First-round leader Carl Pettersson, who tied for third last week at the PGA Championship, followed his 62 on Thursday with a 68 on Friday. He is tied for third place with Tim Clark (67), Sergio Garcia (63) and Harris English (64) at 10-under par.
There was a weather delay Friday afternoon, but everyone finished on time.
This is the last week to get into the Playoffs, with The Barclays scheduled for next week. The top 125 on the FedExCp list gain entry into the field, so this is the final chance for some.
At No. 125, Rod Pampling shot a 4-under 66 on Friday and moved into a tie for 14th at 6-under par. His spot should be safe next week for The Barclays, but a player like John Daly, who was 137th going into this week, is on the outside looking in.
Daly shot a 2-under 68 on Friday, but at even-par for the tournament, he will miss the cut and The Playoffs.
Walker was in no danger of missing next week. He started this championship in 55th thanks to three top 10s before March, but has since posted only one top 20.
"I felt like I was playing pretty steady, like I was making a lot of cuts and nothing -- just kind of hanging in there," said Walker. "I tore my meniscus in Dallas and I dealt with that for about three weeks, four weeks trying to kind of get over that and I couldn't really get the swelling to go away."
A cortisone shot right after the Memorial helped the ailing knee, but high finishes didn't follow.
He's on track for one this week.
Walker broke into red figures in an unlikely way at No. 2. He drove into the left rough, then came up short of the green with his approach, but Walker chipped in for birdie.
"If it wouldn't have gone in it probably would have rolled over the back of the green," admitted Walker.
At the par-3 third, Walker poured in a 15-foot birdie putt. He parred his next four then made another 15-foot birdie putt at eight. Walker rolled in a 6- footer for birdie at nine to make the turn at 8-under par.
Walker drove in the first cut at 11 and his approach went a little long. He was able to get a putter on the ball and holed the 15-footer for another birdie.
Walker went on a run late in his round to take the lead. He tapped in a short birdie putt at the 15th, ran home a 6-footer for birdie at 16 and got to 12- under thanks to another 6-footer at 17.
He 2-putted from 55 feet for par and the second-round lead at the last.
"It was a solid day, lot of fairways," said Walker. "I played really solid yesterday and today. I didn't really give anything away."
Simpson tallied two birdies on the front side, but tore up the back nine to the tune of five birdies, including four in his last five holes.
"I felt good," said Simpson. "Just one of those days where you really appreciate what you do just because it's fun, go out there and play well."
Simpson made this his first PGA Tour win last year, then captured the Deutsche Bank Championship and, of course, this year's U.S. Open at Olympic Club. He made his first U.S. Ryder Cup team and played with his captain the first two rounds.
"I talked to Davis (Love III) a little bit more today about the team and just kind of what to expect and how I can prepare for my first Ryder Cup and, so, I'm definitely thinking about it but, you know, I'm just trying to play good tomorrow and work for The Playoffs," said Simpson.
Matt Every (66) and Bud Cauley (65) share seventh at 9-under par, followed by Troy Matteson (68) and Nicolas Colsaerts (65), who are tied for ninth at 8- under 132.
Garcia and Colsaerts are two players European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal could use as picks for his team. The European side is finalized after next week's tournaments and both are just on the outside looking in.
Love may be trying to play his way into naming himself as a pick. His four captain's choices aren't due until after the third Playoff event, but his 4- under 66 moved him into a tie for 11th with Tommy Gainey (67) and reigning FedExCup champion Bill Haas (65). The group is tied at minus-7.
NOTES: Walker is winless on the PGA Tour, but has three victories on the Web.com Tour...His best finish was a tie for third at the 2010 Texas Open and that is the only event he'd ever owned at least a share of the 36-hole lead on tour before Friday...Tim Herron matched the course record with a 9-under 61 on Friday...The cut fell at 1-under 139 and Daly, Ryo Ishikawa and David Toms missed the cut...Henrik Stenson, Chris Couch, Marco Dawson and Kevin Chappell withdrew on Friday.