GREENSBORO, North Carolina – Webb Simpson recovered from two consecutive bogeys to join fellow American Ryan Armour in the lead on 13-under-par after the second round at the Wyndham Championship on Friday.
Simpson, the 2011 champion, carded 64, while Armour went even lower with a nine-birdie, nine-under-par 61 in ideal if sweltering conditions at Sedgefield Country Club.
They led by one stroke from Swede Henrik Stenson, who eschewed a driver for the second straight day while carding 66.
Simpson, who was born a one-hour drive east of the course in Raleigh and now lives 90 minutes west in Charlotte, enjoys playing in his home state.
“Having a lot of people out here rooting for me is a great thing, but I’ve got to remember at the end of the day to take care of my business and make a lot of birdies,” said Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion.
“It’s hard to back up a good day like yesterday (63) with a 64, but I actually think I played a little better today.”
Co-leader Armour, a 41-year-old journeyman, needs to finish no worse than second this week in the final regular-season event of the season to keep his PGA Tour card for next year.
The best round of his career, thanks to four consecutive late birdies, was a step in the right direction, his sizzling form the result of an equipment change, he said, with new shafts helping him achieve a higher ball flight.
“The ball is getting up in the air a little better and it allows me to keep the rhythm that I want,” said Armour. “I want to be a shot-maker out there and not always have to hit the full shot.”
That's how many birdies Ryan Armour used to take the lead. pic.twitter.com/qre1Ofxbhd
Stenson, beating the worst of the oppressive heat with his morning start, picked up five birdies on the short 7 127-yard, par-70 Donald Ross-designed course.
“I was fighting the swing a little bit out there, but I still produced quite a lot of good iron shots and gave myself a good number of chances,” said world number nine Stenson, the highest-ranked player in the field.
“I still managed to produce some good stuff and when I didn’t, which was mainly off the tee, a couple of loose shots, I managed to scramble and keep it tidy anyway,” added the 2016 British Open champion.
“I didn’t make as many putts as yesterday, but I still played a decent round.”
First-round leader Matt Every made a miserable start, dropping three shots in his first two holes en route to a 72 that left the American six shots off the pace.
The cut fell at three-under 137.