FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Harris English told his caddy that nobody beats him on Colonial’s par-3 eighth hole, which was true after he followed up his opening-round birdie with a one-putt Friday. Only one player is ahead of him in the overall standings.
PGA Tour rookie Harry Hall of England maintained his solo lead through 36 holes at 12-under 128, making a spectacular save from the sand on the same par 3 to move three shots ahead of the Englishman. After opening with an 8-under 62, Hall had four straight birdies midway through his second-round 66.
Hall’s birdie streak ended with a bogey at the par-4 third, his 12th of the day, when he missed the fairway and then reached the green two shots from 9 feet.
In the final group of the day, Hall’s tee shot on No. 8 stuck into the side of a deep bunker in front of the green.
“I could only see two holes,” he said.
After kicking the ball but failing to get it out of the sand on his first attempt, Hall saved par by popping it on his next attempt. The ball landed on the edge of the green and rolled into the cup.
“When it went back into the bunker, it wasn’t too bad, a hard shot,” Hall said. “I just played it like a normal shot and tried to get it high and spin as fast as I could, and I did.”
English’s ace on the 170-yard eighth was part of his bogey-free 66.
“The hard 9 … pushed it about 4 or 5 yards right where I was aiming, but it’s good that the hole went in the way,” English said. “Just one of those shots where I hit it clean, right into the flag.”
His third hole-in-one on the PGA Tour was the first at the Colonial’s 8th hole since Jim Furyk in 2011.
English was a shot ahead of Emiliano Grillo, who shot a round-best 65 to move to 8 under. Adam Schnek (67), Byeong Hun An (66) and Robby Shelton (67) were tied for fourth.
Scottie Scheffler, the world No. 1 and runner-up at Colonial in a playoff last year, had his second consecutive round of 67 and was tied for seventh at 6-under 134. Justin Rose, whose 11 PGA Tour wins include Colonial five years ago , was tied for ninth at 5 under after a bogey-free 66.
Jordan Spieth, who still has pain in his left wrist, shot 72 both days to miss the cut. The eleventh-ranked player had three bogeys and a birdie on the last four holes.
Michael Block, the 46-year-old club pro from California who became a sensation among everyday golfers by tying for 15th Sunday at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, finished last in the Colonial field of 120 players with a 15-over 155. After his opening 81, he was was seven strokes better with a 74 that included back-to-back birdies midway through the round.
It was a grueling stretch for Block, who hit just 11 of 28 fairways through two rounds, but still mingled with fans — signing autographs and taking photos — hours after his final shot before heading home.
Aside from a hole in one, it was just a steady round for the four-time PGA Tour winner English, who finished third at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month. He hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens.
“When I got into trouble off the tee or around the green, I got up and down. He made a really good par on No. 9,” English said. “I had a lot of looks like 15 or 20 feet and I didn’t make much. … But as long as I keep hitting that ball and giving myself chances, some good things are going to happen this weekend.”
Coming off the hole in one, English drove into the right rough on No. 9 and then into the greenside bunker before hitting to 6 feet for a par-saving putt. His only birdie on the back nine was the 12th, when he made 17 feet from the fringe.
Grillo, a 30-year-old from Argentina, was even for the round before he holed out with a greenside bunker birdie at the 389-yard 10th. It was the first of five back-to-back birdies, including long putts on both par 3s – from 19 feet on the 13th and nearly 38 feet on the 16th – before getting close to 7 feet on the 18th.
“There are a lot of different clubs outside the game. I have to keep it on the fairway, I have to keep it on the green. I think that’s my strong side of the game,” Grillo said. “I was lucky to make some good shots on the back nine. I’m so happy to finish with a great putt on 18 and a good putt.”
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