Young pros join veteran in lead at Wyndham

Young pros join veteran in lead at Wyndham

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Steve Marino and Jeff Overton have not been on the PGA Tour long, so being in front at any stage of a tournament is something new.

They were joined atop the leaderboard by a veteran who knows plenty about leading in Greensboro.

John Huston closed his 6-under 66 with four birdies on the back nine to move to 12-under 132 on Friday and share the lead with Marino (67) and Overton (67) after two rounds of the low-scoring Wyndham Championship.

This is the eighth time Huston has led after two rounds during a career that spans two decades, with the previous time also coming here two years ago when he was 12 under and finished tied for 17th.

The 46-year-old, seven-time tour winner is in search of his first PGA victory since the 2003 Southern Farm Bureau Classic in Madison, Miss.

“When you’re younger and win it’s, ‘OK, I’m going to win every week,”‘ Huston said. “Then it doesn’t happen, and you get frustrated and down on yourself and, you know, then I’m going to appreciate how hard it really is to win, how well things have to go.”

Anders Hansen (64), Tim Petrovic (65), Craig Kanada (65), Carl Pettersson (67) and Greg Kraft (67) were one stroke back. Steve Wheatcroft (66) and Nathan Green (66) were two strokes behind the leaders.

First-round leader Will MacKenzie (71), who opened with a 64, joined 10 other players three strokes back.

It was another hazy, humid, low-scoring day at Forest Oaks Country Club, where temperatures were once again in the mid-90s. An early weather delay of 2 hours, 3 minutes had little effect on the scores, which remained low — as has become customary at this event.

The 36-hole cut of 5 under was the lowest on the tour this year and the lowest since the tournament moved across town to this course 30 years ago.

“A 62 is definitely out there — not just for me, but for anybody,” Marino said, referring to the course record. “The course is lending itself to low scores and a lot of birdies.”

Huston had his second straight 66, opening his round with eight straight pars and finishing it with birdies on four of seven holes from Nos. 12-17, closing that run on the par-3 17th by landing his tee shot 10 feet from the flagstick and holing out.

“I’m happy with the way I’ve driven the ball, hitting a lot of greens and giving myself chances — that way it doesn’t put that much pressure on my putting,” Huston said.

Both Marino and Overton are in the lead for the first times in their brief PGA careers.

Overton, a 24-year-old in his second year on the tour, closed his round with consecutive birdies, with his 15-foot eagle putt on No. 9 falling about 14 inches short. He tapped in, then hoped for two more days of steady play with his putter.

“That’s my goal for the week — to be really solid and make putts, and make all those putts inside 10 feet,” Overton said.

Marino, a 27-year-old rookie who started on the back nine, had a birdie on the par-4 No. 6 where he set up his putt by placing his approach shot about 5 feet from the hole, then closed his round with three straight pars.

“Going into it, you know it’s a golf course where if you’re hitting the ball well, you’re going to have a lot of looks at birdies,” Marino said.

Tour rookie Hansen — at No. 40 in the World Golf rankings, the highest-rated player in the field — had the best round of the day among those within three strokes of the leaders after offsetting his lone bogey with nine birdies.

Kanada had seven birdies in his bogey-free round, Kraft had five birdies to highlight a 67 and Pettersson — who went to high school in Greensboro and is a member of the tournament’s board — made the cut on his hometown course with ease, one year after missing it by one stroke.

“This is a good golf course, and I just haven’t played that great on it before,” Pettersson said.

Several borderline players came to central North Carolina for one last chance to qualify for the FedEx Cup, the first-year four-week playoff chase that begins next week at The Barclays in Harrison, N.Y., where the top 144 on the points list will be eligible.

Among those on the bubble who made it to the weekend were No. 140 Michael Putnam (9 under), No. 141 Bob Tway (8 under) and No. 145 Eric Axley (6 under). Those who didn’t include No. 138 Jeff Gove (2 under), No. 143 Glen Day (1 under) and No. 144 Marco Dawson (3 under).

No. 146 Steve Lowery (4 under) insisted the pressure to reach the postseason had no effect on his round.

“All you can do is go out and play the best you can do and finish good,” Lowery said.

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