US PGA Safeway Open: Sam Burns grabs two-stroke lead on Harry Higgs in second round

World number 171 Burns stood on a 36-hole career low of 15-under 129 at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California.

Agence France-Presse September 12, 2020 09:37:36 IST
US PGA Safeway Open: Sam Burns grabs two-stroke lead on Harry Higgs in second round

Sam Burns hits from the fairway during round two of the Safeway Open. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

San Francisco: American Sam Burns fired a seven-under-par 65 to grab a two-stroke lead on albatross-aided compatriot Harry Higgs in Friday's second round of the US PGA Safeway Open.

World number 171 Burns stood on a 36-hole career low of 15-under 129 at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California.

"I'm just going to try to keep improving, see if I can do that and see what happens," Burns said.

But the shot of the day in the first event of the 2020-21 PGA season belonged to 132nd-ranked Higgs, a 10th-tee starter who ended his round with a 230-yard hole-out for albatross on the par-5 ninth hole with a 4-iron.

"It gives me a nice little boost going into the weekend," Higgs said. "I've got to keep doing it. It's not like 13- under is going to win. Maybe sprinkle in another albatross on nine or whatever other hole. Those help, for sure."

Higgs finished with a bogey-free 62 to stand second on 131, one stroke ahead of Australia's Cameron Percy, American DJ Trahan and Scotsman Russell Knox.

"What a wonderful way to end the day, and also weird. The last hole, it's so final," Higgs said. "I couldn't see it disappear... but I finally hit one like on the button solid. Drew a little bit, landed soft, rolled right in the hole."

Burns found water off the tee at the par-3 11th, his second hole of the day, and took a double bogey, then birdied the next three holes and kept charging from there, making birdie putts from five feet at the par-5 16th and six feet at the par-5 18th.

After dropping his approach inside four feet at the first and sinking the birdie putt, Burns made a 13-foot birdie putt at four and blasted out of a greenside bunker to three feet to set up a birdie at the par-5 fifth.

Burns nearly holed a punch out from greenside rough at the par-5 ninth before closing with a tap-in birdie, his ninth of the day, matching his most in any PGA round.

Higgs began on the back nine and made six birdies before the turn, then added another at the third before his stunning finish, which brought a lone yell from a volunteer rather than a roar because no spectators were allowed due to COVID-19 safety rules.

"I don't think anybody really would have seen it anyway," Higgs said. "No one really goes and watches that hole. They're all behind one drinking wine and champagne like my family was last year."

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