ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga.
Chris Kirk was at his best when the wind was at its worst Friday in the McGladrey Classic.
Warren’s Jason Kokrak had the low score of the second round — a 65 — to vault into contention.
Kirk rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt from off the green, chipped in from nearly 60 feet for birdie on another hole and wound up with another 4-under 66 at Sea Island to take a one-shot lead going into the weekend.
“Definitely shot my score on that back nine,” said Kirk, who started the second round on the back. “I made a pretty easy bogey on No. 10 and it was just kind of like, ‘Yeah, this is going to be a pretty tough day.’ But I didn’t let it bug me.”
He followed with five birdies to get into the lead, and stayed there with a pair of saves — one for bogey on No. 4, another from a plugged lie in the bunker on No. 8.
Kirk was at 8-under 132, one shot ahead of Kevin Chappell (68), Webb Simpson (68), John Senden (67) and Briny Baird (70).
The group at 6-under 134 included Kokrak, a Warren JFK graduate. His 65 included a birdie on the par-4 fifth hole, which wraps around a marsh. With the wind helping, the big-hitting Kokrak took a short cut toward the green and came up just short, setting up a chip-and-putt for birdie.
That was two shots worse than how he played the hole in a pro-am round. With a similar wind, he smashed his driver over the marsh, onto the green and into the hole for an albatross ace. Too bad it was only practice.
“I think it will play into my favor to play a little bit windy,” Kokrak said. “Maybe not quite as gusty and windy as it is today for the putting aspect, but 15 to 20 mph wind would be fine with me. I think it’s an easier golf course for me to climb closer to the leaders with a little bit of wind as opposed to shooting 7-, 8-under par like the first round.”
Kokrak also had an eagle Friday on No. 15 and finished with a birdie on No. 18.
McNeill struggled in the wind, making five straight bogeys on his way to a 76. He was six shots behind.