SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Patrick Rodgers took a step toward his first PGA Tour victory — and his first Masters appearance — on Friday, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a three-stroke lead midway through the second round of the weather-delayed Valero Texas Open.
Rodgers, who finished his opening-round 66 on Friday morning, birdied four of the final five holes in his second round at TPC San Antonio to post a 36-hole total of 11-under 133.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamt of,” said Rodgers, who's making his 235th start on tour. “I’m excited for the chance. It’s going to be a really fun next couple of days.”
Corey Conners, the 2019 winner in San Antonio, was 8 under after a 72. Michael Thompson shot 68 and was another shot behind.
With the tournament in catch-up mode because of hours-long fog delays on Thursday morning, the afternoon half of the draw had no chance of finishing on Friday. Among the players on the course when darkness halted play, Roberto Diaz was 8 under with eight holes to play and Brendon Todd was 7 under with three holes left.
Rodgers' tee shot on the 198-yard 16th stopped inside 8 feet, and he had another birdie inside 10 feet at 17. He reached the 593-yard, par-5 18th in two for his closing birdie.
“I love to make the rounds feel pretty seamless and easy,” Rodgers said.
The 30-year-old Rodgers starred in college at Stanford but is winless since joining the PGA Tour in 2015.
Conners fell out of the lead with mistakes in the middle of his round. He four-putted his seventh hole, the par-3 16th, including three attempts within 4 feet. His tee shot on the 17th hooked into the brush, and he took an unplayable lie, leading to bogey.
“A little mindless,” Conners said. “That was an unfortunate blemish on the scorecard. Certainly would like to have that over. But that’s how it goes.”
Conners, winless since his Texas Open triumph four years ago, rebounded by shooting 2 under on his second nine, with birdies on both of the par 5s.
Conners is already in the field at Augusta National next week, but the final spot at the Masters awaits the winner in San Antonio if he's not already eligible.
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Tim Price, The Associated Press