(Reuters) – American Daniel Berger drove the green at the short par-four 15th hole for a two-putt birdie that put him into a four-way tie for the lead on Friday halfway through the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
Joining Berger, who won his first PGA tour title at June’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, on seven-under 133 at TPC River Highlands were fellow American Russell Henley, South African Tyrone van Aswegan and Australian Marc Leishman.
One shot behind were Scotsman Russell Knox (67) and Americans Jerry Kelly (70), Robert Garrigus (67) and Patrick Rogers (66).
With lively winds to contend with, Berger punched a low drive that ran up the green into comfortable two-putt range at the 15th on the way to posting a three-under 67.
“Just tried to hit what I call my bullet shot,” Berger told Golf Channel. “It’s kind of my go-to shot. It’s one of those shots that I hit under pressure and I know where it goes.”
Leishman (68) and Henley (65) birdied their last holes, the ninth after starting their rounds at No. 10, while van Aswegan continued his flawless golf with a four-under 66 for his second successive bogey-free round.
“I feel like my swing coach this week has helped me a lot finding the slot, and I’m holing a lot of putts,” said early starter van Aswegan, chasing his maiden tour win.
Leishman said there was quite a contrast from Thursday.
“Definitely a lot different than yesterday morning,” said the big Australian, who lost in a playoff at last year’s British Open. “The wind got up a little today so you had to be playing good golf to shoot a really good number.
“The driver was great, irons were for the most part good, and I felt like I putted well. But late in the day with the greens drying, they got a little bit bumpy. I’m looking forward to getting out early tomorrow.”
With possible thunderstorms in the forecast, golfers are scheduled to start at 7 a.m. ET (1100 GMT) for Saturday’s third round in threesomes going off two tees.
Twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, who won the Travelers Championship for a second time last year, stood at three-under 137 after a level-par 70.
Fellow American playing partners Matt Kuchar (67 for 136) and Patrick Reed (67 for 137) and Watson made for a high spirited threesome as they were all looking forward to playing in the upcoming Olympic golf tournament at the Rio Games.
Seventy-four players made the cut, which was set at one-under 139.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)