Harry Higgs fired a seven-under par 63 to complete his best 36-hole PGA start and grab a share of the lead after Friday’s second round of the RSM Classic.
Higgs and fellow Americans Andrew Putnam and Cole Hammer shared the lead on 12-under 130 at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia. “I did a very good job of being patient,” Higgs said. “That would be the goal for the next two days, stay patient, which always gets harder. The better you do, the harder it is.”
Players competed for the first two rounds on the par-72 Plantation Course and par-70 Seaside course, with the last 36 holes to be played on the Seaside layout. Higgs delivered his bogey-free round on the Seaside course while Hammer shot 66 there and Putnam fired a 7-under 65 on the Plantation course, his lone bogey of the first two rounds coming on the final hole.
“I pretty much played flawless golf,” Putnam said. “It was extremely easy. I was hitting most fairways and most greens. Just kind of a weird bogey came on the last from the middle of the fairway. But it has been a very simple week for me so far.”
At one stage early in the second round, there were eight players sharing the lead at 8-under.
Putnam, 33, won his only PGA crown at the 2018 Barracuda Championship. Hammer, a 23-year-old rookie, and Higgs, 30, seek a first PGA title. A back-nine starter, Putnam reeled off four birdies in a row from the fifth through eighth holes before missing a six-foot par putt at the ninth.
Higgs sank a 23-foot birdie putt at the second hole, a 27-footer at the par-3 sixth and a six-foot birdie putt at the par-5 seventh, then closed the front nine with a 16-foot birdie putt. He made a 15-foot birdie putt at the 14th and added a four-foot birdie putt at the par-5 15th before closing with a 16-foot birdie putt.
“I have very good touch and I feel like I read the greens really well,” Higgs said. “I’m seeing them well.”
Hammer, who only made his first PGA cut last week, made three birdies and three bogeys in the first eight holes, following back-to-back bogeys with birdies at nine and 10. He added a birdie putt from just outside 17 feet at the par-3 12th and 11 feet at the 16th.
“Very much a roller-coaster round, but sometimes that’s the way it is,” Hammer said. “I was a little bit depressed after seven and eight for sure. But coming back firing on nine and then making a birdie on 10, kind of erasing those bogeys on two of the tougher holes right away, was huge for momentum and for confidence.”