Paul Casey was scuffling midway through his second round at the Byron Nelson Championship, hoping he could do enough just to make the cut.
After a record back nine, Casey was near the top of a crowded leaderboard. He was in a group of eight players at 6-under 134, two strokes behind leader Brendon Todd.
Casey was over par Friday before matching the PGA Tour record for the best score on a back nine, an 8-under 27 with six birdies and an eagle. That was part of his 7-under 63 that was the low round of the day, though he could never remember such a good nine.
“On par-3 courses, I think,” Casey said. “I like to think I would be good at shooting low rounds of golf through the past, but certainly nothing like that.”
When Casey made the turn, he was coming off a three-putt at No. 9, his third bogey of the day. The 36-year-old Englishman, whose only PGA Tour victory was five years ago, was then 2 over for the tournament, even after making a 9-foot eagle putt on the par-5 seventh hole.
“I think it’s easier when your back is up against the wall, like I was today” Casey said. “I was backed into a corner and had to do something. A little shift in, let’s say, attitude, and a little shift in goals.”
Also at 6 under were Martin Kaymer only five days after he won The Players Championship, and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir (66). The others were Graham DeLaet and Morgan Hoffmann, who had had bogey-free 66s, and Tim Herron (66), Charles Howell III (66) and Marc Leishman (68).
Kaymer had his second consecutive 67, and has been in the 60s for all six of his rounds at TPC Four Seasons. The German won at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday.
“If you had a good week, obviously you can take a lot into the next week. You play a little bit more free, a little bit more relaxed,” Kaymer said. “It’s a new week, and I want to do as good as possible here.”
For the second time in five years, Todd is back on the PGA Tour after getting his card back through the Web.com Tour. He ended his round with back-to-back birdies to wrap up a round of 64 in which he needed only 22 putts. That included the 6-footer at the par-3 17th after his tee shot rolled just past the hole.
“It’s nice to put two under-par rounds together before the cut. That’s been a challenge for me this year,” Todd said. “I was patient today.”