TPC Potomac bit back on Friday, as the weather was the main storyline in the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship. With a steady dose of heavy rain rolling into the area, players struggled to overcome the soggy golf course, luscious rough and the mental strain which inevitably comes with playing in such conditions. The par 70 averaged nearly three strokes over for the day, a far cry from the under-par average it surrendered to players in the opening round.
For the second consecutive day, those who played in the afternoon received the favorable end of the draw with pockets of no rain during the late wave. Keegan Bradley vaulted up the leaderboard late with a 5-under 65, but for the majority of Friday it appeared the low rounds would come from the morning courtesy of Chad Ramey, Luke List, and Max Homa.
With each signing for rounds of 4-under 66, all three are now well positioned to chase down Jason Day over the weekend. Day has not raised a trophy since his 2018 Wells Fargo Championship triumph, and while his swing looks to be in a comfortable spot, there are questions around how he will react in the latter stages of this tournament. The low men from the morning wave should have no issues, as they have proven to be capable on Sundays as all three possess victories this season.
Jason Day (-10): Day’s second round of 3-under 67 was almost as impressive as his near record-setting 7-under 63 on Thursday. Braving the cold, rainy conditions of Potomac, Maryland, the Australian looked in control and played the front nine (his back nine) at TPC Potomac flawlessly. Rarely missing a shot, the former world No. 1 gained more than five strokes on the field and is in control heading into what will be a rain-filled weekend.
“It was nice to get this round under my belt in these conditions,” said Day. “All the work that I put in kind of in the offseason, off weeks, it’s starting to show a lot of signs, and I’m finding a lot of confidence in that swing. Every now and then it kind of falls back to some of the old stuff, but big thing for me is just to not kind of panic and just take a step back and go through my shots and try and trust it the best I can. If I can do that, hopefully I’m somewhere, if not leading come Sunday.”
2. Max Homa (-7)
T3. Luke List, James Hahn, Kurt Kitayama, Denny McCarthy (-6)
T7. Chad Ramey, Brian Harman, Keegan Bradley (-5)
Are we sure this edition of the Wells Fargo Championship isn’t being held at Quail Hollow Golf Club? Not only has Day won on the typical tournament host, but Hahn and Homa have as well. Another course which requires a strong off-the-tee presence, if someone blindly looked at the leaderboard they would not have the faintest clue TPC Potomac was this week’s venue.
Day, Homa, List, and Kitayama are above average in terms of driving distance on the PGA Tour, while Hahn and McCarthy rely on accuracy. This day and age, I tend to favor the power players, and even more so with the wet conditions making the fairways effectively wider. That is not to say McCarthy and Hahn will not stick around, but their path to victory is far narrower than the others near the top.
McCarthy continues to hang tough
Nobody tell McCarthy that TPC Potomac is supposed to be a ball striker’s paradise. One of the best putters on the PGA Tour, the Maryland native continues to give the home crowd plenty to cheer about as he has remained within touch of the leaders halfway through the Wells Fargo Championship. Fifth in strokes-gained putting, if McCarthy’s scoring clubs come to his aid in his final 36 holes, this week may very well have a storybook ending.
“Obviously that would be great,” said McCarthy in regards to potentially winning in his home state. “But I’m in such a good mindset on the course right now where I think once I get on the course — even today was nasty — it’s still fun being in this position where I know I’m towards the top of the lead and I feel comfortable doing it. So I’m excited for the weekend.”
Rickie, Rory, and Wolff lose ground
T18. Rickie Fowler (-2): The forgotten man in his threesome, Fowler was unable to keep up with his playing competitors, Day and Homa. Coming home in 3 over, the putter abandoned the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship winner on the inward half as he dropped to 2 under for the week. Still, there is plenty of good to take from Fowler’s performance over the first two days, and even better, he is only five strokes outside of second place.
T18. Matthew Wolff (-2): Wolff’s day could have gone awry after opening his second round with a bogey. He would add two double-bogeys to the scorecard, but the 23-year-old continued to show resolve and ultimately made his way through to the weekend. At 2 under, he is currently inside the top 20 and could be in line for his best finish on the PGA Tour in 2022.
T50. Rory McIlroy (E): Wet conditions in the Washington D.C. area have treated McIlroy well in the past, but not today as the Northern Irishman struggled mightily. Turning in 3 over, McIlroy fought against a left miss off the tee, a big no-no at TPC Potomac, and was unable to muster together anything special on his homeward half as he settled for a round of 3-over 73 to make the cut on the number.
Tweet of the day
Joel Dahmen was right in the mix to begin Friday at TPC Potomac, and after an eagle on the par-4 14th, he had reached 9 under. In command of the lead at that very moment, the 34-year-old was well on his way to a late tee time on Saturday before a disastrous 10 holes to conclude his second round. Playing this final stretch in 8 over, Dahmen plummeted down the leaderboard and threatened to miss out on the weekend entirely. After the round his caddie, Geno Bonnalie — a must-follow on Twitter — shared this.
Updated odds and picks
Here’s a look at the new odds after 36 holes, courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
- Jason Day: 7/4
- Max Homa: 11/2
- Keegan Bradley: 14-1
- Matt Fitzpatrick: 16-1
- Denny McCarthy: 16-1
- Luke List: 18-1
- Brian Harman: 18-1
- Tyrrell Hatton: 22-1
Do you trust Jason Day or not? That is the question one has to answer before placing a wager. If you don’t, like myself, the options are plentiful, and the inclusion of Homa and Fitzpatrick yesterday gives way for some aggression farther down the odds board. I still believe in Abraham Ancer, who is listed at 35-1, but someone with the firepower of Tony Finau at 2 under could make for an interesting play at 55-1.