Chicago - Reigning
US Open champion Dustin Johnson fired a nine-under-par 63 on Friday to
match US compatriot Roberto Castro for the lead after the second round
of the PGA Tour's BMW Championship.
Johnson set a course record at the 7 516-yard Crooked Stick layout in
Indianapolis, Indiana to stand on 14-under 130 after 36 holes in the
penultimate event of the season-ending PGA Tour playoffs.
Castro, of Peruvian and Costa Rican heritage, fired his second
consecutive 65 to share the lead as he bids for his first tour triumph.
"It was a good start," Castro said. "There are still a lot of holes but it's a good way to get into the weekend."
England's Paul Casey was third on 133, one stroke ahead of Americans
J.B. Holmes and Chris Kirk, with another three strokes back to
sixth-placed rivals Sergio Garcia of Spain and Americans Matt Kuchar,
Kevin Na and Ryan Palmer.
Johnson started his historic round with an eight-foot birdie at the
first hole and dropped a 10-foot birdie putt at the third, then added a
45-yard eagle chip-in from a greenside bunker at the par-5 ninth to
signal a charge.
A tap-in birdie at the par-5 11th was followed by a nine-foot birdie
putt at the par-3 13th, a 31-foot birdie putt at the 14th and he rolled
in a 25-footer to eagle the par-5 15th.
Johnson, who has found success after making a putter switch on the eve of the event, seeks his 12th PGA crown.
The son-in-law of ice hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, Johnson won the BMW in 2010 when it was played at Cog Hill near Chicago.
Castro, who lost to compatriot James Hahn in a playoff at Quail
Hollow last May and placed second to American Bill Haas at the 2013
National, opened with a six-foot birdie and ran off three birdies in a
row starting with a 30-footer at the par-4 third and ending with a
30-footer at the par-3 sixth.
"I was glad to have those early in the round," Castro said.
In a bogey-free round, Castro made three-foot birdie putts at the
ninth and 13th and a tap-in birdie at 15 to claim his share of the lead.
Casey had six birdies in a bogey-free
round but still ended up a distant third, three strokes adrift, as one
of the players who had to finish his first round Friday morning before
playing his full second round as well after storm delays disrupted play
"It has been a long day. I'm not as young as I used to be," Casey
said. "Trying to conserve energy. Really happy with the way I did that."
As for how to challenge on the weekend, Casey said, "I've got no
idea. Get some sleep first. No problem with what I've done so far."
Saturday's third round will begin in the morning with threesomes off
the first and 10th tees in hopes of completing play before more storms
in the weekend forecast.
The top 30 finishers in the season points race after this event will
qualify for the Tour Championship at Atlanta, where the points winner
will capture a $10 million bonus prize.
The top five in points can simply win the 30-man event for the bonus
payoff. Entering the weekend, those five were Johnson, Australia's Adam
Scott, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, American Patrick Reed and world
number one Jason Day of Australia.
McIlroy, Day and Reed were in a pack on 140.
Leading scores after Friday's second round of the US PGA Tour BMW Championship (par 72, USA unless noted):
130 - Roberto Castro 65-65, Dustin Johnson 67-63
133 - Paul Casey (ENG) 67-66
134 - J.B. Holmes 69-65, Chris Kirk 68-66
137 - Ryan Palmer 73-64, Matt Kuchar 68-69, Kevin Na 69-68, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 69-68
138 - Brian Harman 66-72, Daniel Berger 70-68, Bubba Watson 71-67, Adam Scott (AUS) 69-69
139 - Fabian Gomez (ARG) 68-71, Jason Kokrak 69-70, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 68-71, Kim Si-Woo (KOR) 71-68, Jason Dufner 67-72
140 - Jim Herman 69-71, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 70-70, James Hahn 69-71, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 71-69, Harris English 71-69, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 73-67, Brooks Koepka 68-72, Charley Hoffman 69-71, William McGirt 67-73, Russell Knox (SCO) 71-69, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68-72, Jordan Spieth 68-72, Patrick Reed 70-70, Jason Day (AUS) 73-67, David Hearn (CAN) 67-73, Jon Curran 69-71