David Toms has gone from a disappointing playoff loss to matching the PGA Tour scoring record for the first 36 holes of a tournament.
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Toms shot his second straight 8-under 62 at Colonial on Friday to open a seven-stroke lead.
Coming off a playoff loss Sunday to K.J. Choi in The Players Championship, the 44-year-old Toms tied the mark of 124 set by Pat Perez in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. Perez had rounds of 61 and 63.
Already off to another impressive start before a 2-1/2-hour weather delay in the middle of his second round, Toms took full advantage after heavy rain softened the Colonial course and the wind stopped. On the eight holes he completed when play resumed, he had four birdies — and came up just short of two more.
”I came out and the conditions were perfect for scoring, and my mindset was to just keep making birdies, try to separate myself a little bit,” Toms said. ”I just went out and played great the last eight holes or so, some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time.”
Steven Bowditch (64) and Charlie Wi (67), who finished before the delay, were tied for second with Mark Wilson (66) and John Senden (66). Wilson played in the same group with Toms.
Toms also was the 36-hole leader last week at TPC Sawgrass, where he needed a birdie on the final hole of regulation to get into a playoff. But he then missed a short par putt on the first extra hole.
He hasn’t made another bogey since.
Toms started at Hogan’s Alley with his best score in 429 rounds — since a career-best 61 at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January 2006, in the last of his 12 PGA Tour victories. He matched that Friday and got halfway to his goal of finally winning again.
”I just still need to put those four rounds together and somehow get over the hump again,” he said.
For the second day in a row, Toms carded 31s on both nines.
When play was suspended, Toms had just teed off at the par-5 11th hole after saving par at No. 10 with a two-putt from 65 feet.
The wind was already whipping with the storm front approaching when he finished his front side with an aggressive play at No. 9, when he opted for driver instead of 3-wood off the tee. He then hit his approach inside four feet for birdie.
”It was a bonus to make birdie, but it was all about the best way to make par,” he said.
Toms made a 17-foot birdie putt at No. 11 after play resumed, then hit his approach at the 445-yard 12th hole to five feet for another birdie. He also birdied Nos. 15 and 17, and had putts rolling on line at 16 and 18 that came up short.
”It was late afternoon golf after a rain shower. I’ve done it hundreds of times at home in Louisiana. That’s what it felt like,” he said. ”It was hot and humid, greens were receptive, fairways were receptive, the greens weren’t rolling very fast.”
Rory Sabbatini, the 2007 Colonial champion who lives in Fort Worth and plays the course often, shot 64 and was at 8 under with first-round co-leader Chev Reavie (71).
Reavie had two birdies, a bogey and a double bogey through eight holes before the delay. After a birdie at Colonial’s longest hole, the 635-yard 11th and his second of the day, Reavie had a double-bogey 6 at No. 12, where he hit out of the same greenside bunker twice. Three holes later, his approach went into another greenside bunker and he had a bogey.
Wi opened with a 64 on Thursday. He was the only one of the top 11 in the first round who played in the afternoon when more wind made conditions tougher.
”When I got to the golf course (Thursday), I saw so many low numbers and I figured if I shoot 2 or 3 under in the afternoon, that would be a good round. To shoot 64 was a bonus,” he said.
The 39-year-old South Korean made that even better with a bogey-free second round, saving par at No. 11 with a 17-foot putt before holing out a birdie out of a greenside bunker the 12th.
Bowditch had been away from the PGA Tour for more than three seasons before the 27-year-old Australian returned this year after regaining his card by finishing 17th on the Nationwide Tour money list last season.
After playing one time each on the PGA Tour in 2003 and 2005, Bowditch made only two of 22 cuts in 2006. Then he didn’t make it to the weekend rounds in any of his five events the following year.
Bowditch got his first career top-10 finish this year when he tied for ninth at Pebble Beach in February.
His only bogey Friday came on the 375-yard 17th hole when he drove into the left rough and hit his approach into a greenside bunker.
Bowditch was surprised to be done without any delays because there had been rain in the area all morning. But none fell early when the initial weather systems skirted around the Colonial neighborhood.
”The whisper was, when we teed off at 9 o’clock, that we were only going to get nine holes in,” Bowditch said. ”That was basically what we were sort of looking at and getting your mind to a certain degree, ready for that.”