Dufner leads, Els lurks
New Orleans - Jason Dufner rolled in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole on Friday to cap a seven-under 65 and take a one-shot lead after two rounds of the US PGA Tour Zurich Classic.
Dufner, seeking to break through for a first US tour title, also had five birdies in his bogey-free effort at TPC Louisiana and took a 12-under total of 132 into the weekend.
"I had just a really good number for my five-wood to get somewhere on that green and had a putt that was down grain and breaking to the left with the grain, so that was a nice way to finish the day," Dufner said of his eagle at the last, which left him one shot in front of Scotland's Russell Knox, John Rollins and Ken Duke.
Knox matched the course record with a 64, Rollins a 66 and overnight co-leader Duke a 68 for 133.
Australian Greg Chalmers holed out from 137 yards for an eagle on the par-four first en route to his 64, which saw him join South African Ernie Els (68) and Steve Stricker (68) on 134.
Defending champion Bubba Watson, making his first start since winning his first major title at the Masters, posted his second straight 71 to make the cut by a stroke.
Watson's round included an eagle at the seventh and hitting a spectator in the head with a hooked drive. He admitted that he has yet to regain his concentration after taking a fortnight off in the wake of his Masters triumph.
He admitted that he was longing to be home with his wife and their recently adopted son.
"I want to be home with my son and wife. I know it sounds like a cop-out but I'm not playing very good because I'm just really not into it," Watson said.
World No 2 Luke Donald of England bounced back after a disappointing first-round 73 with a 65 for 138.
Donald also holed out from the fairway at the first hole.
Dufner launched his round with a three-foot birdie at the first. He birdied three in a row from the fifth and added another at the par-five 11th.
"I had a couple of easy birdies," Dufner said. "I don't think I missed a fairway or a green. Just had some tough reads."
Dufner has led or held a share of the lead after 36 holes at two of his last four tournaments, including the Masters.
But he has yet to close the deal.
"I've been trying to think about what I can do better mentally, what I can do better emotionally out there and learn from some things that I maybe struggled with," Dufner said. "Obviously, there's a lot of different things that go into winning besides hitting the golf ball."
Knox, a graduate of the Nationwide developmental tour who is making his ninth PGA Tour start, had seven birdies and an eagle at 18 with one bogey.
"You never plan on shooting a 64, it kind of happens and I'm happy it did," Knox said. "I haven't played well this year so far, but it's been the best year of my life."
US veteran Stricker pulled level with Dufner with four straight birdies from the seventh, but missed a two-foot birdie putt at 11 and gave back two strokes with bogeys coming in.
Leading second round scores from the US PGA Tour's New Orleans Classic on Friday in Avondale, Louisiana (par-72):
132 Jason Dufner (U.S.) 67 65 133 Russell Knox (Britain) 69 64
Ken Duke (U.S.) 65 68
John Rollins (U.S.) 67 66 134 Greg Chalmers (Australia) 70 64
Ernie Els (South Africa) 66 68
Steve Stricker (U.S.) 66 68 135 Camilo Villegas (Colombia) 69 66
Cameron Tringale (U.S.) 65 70
Graham DeLaet (Canada) 68 67 136 Rickie Fowler (U.S.) 71 65
Daniel Chopra (Sweden) 66 70
Rocco Mediate (U.S.) 71 65
Bobby Gates (U.S.) 71 65 137 Kris Blanks (U.S.) 69 68
Charles Howell III (U.S.) 71 66
Chris Stroud (U.S.) 66 71
Erik Compton (U.S.) 69 68
Tim Herron (U.S.) 69 68
Ben Curtis (U.S.) 67 70
Kyle Reifers (U.S.) 69 68 138 James Driscoll (U.S.) 73 65
Luke Donald (Britain) 73 65
Scott Piercy (U.S.) 72 66
Stuart Appleby (Australia) 69 69
Jonas Blixt (Sweden) 68 70
Brian Davis (Britain) 71 67
J.B. Holmes (U.S.) 71 67
Daniel Summerhays (U.S.) 68 70 139 Greg Owen (Britain) 70 69
Jeff Overton (U.S.) 72 67
K.J. Choi (South Korea) 71 68
Mark Anderson (U.S.) 69 70
William McGirt (U.S.) 70 69
Noh Seung-yul (South Korea) 70 69
Justin Rose (Britain) 72 67
Ryan Palmer (U.S.) 72 67
Fred Funk (U.S.) 72 67
Alex Cejka (Germany) 70 69
Miguel Carballo (Argentina) 69 70