Bhatia, Rai share lead in Detroit at Rocket Mortgage Classic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bhatia, Rai share lead in Detroit at Rocket Mortgage Classic

Camilo Villegas hits out of the rough onto the 18th green during the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan, Friday, June 27, 2024. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)

DETROIT (AP) — Akshay Bhatia shot a 5-under 67 that included a free drop after his golf ball fell into a fairway drain, good enough for a share of the 36-hole lead with Aaron Rai after the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Friday.

Bhatia's drive on the par-5 17th hole managed to fall into one of five holes in a metal drain cap that were just big enough to accommodate a golf ball. He ended up making par in his second straight bogey-free round at Detroit Golf Club.

Rai shot 65 to match Bhatia at 13-under 131 on a course that consistently yields low scores. The Englishman made seven birdies, including four in a five-hole stretch midway through the round, and capped his day with a 21-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

Taylor Montgomery (68), Troy Merritt (64), Erik van Rooyen (64) and Cameron Young (66) were two strokes behind the co-leaders.

Eric Cole (68), Cam Davis (66) and Joel Dahmen (64) were another shot back.

Roger Sloan of Calgary is tied for 15th at 8 under. Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., is tied for 26th at 7 under. Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., is tied for 60th at 4 under.

Neal Shipley, the low amateur at the Masters and U.S. Open, gave himself a chance to contend in his first PGA Tour event as a pro. He was four shots back after a 68.

Amateur Luke Clanton (68) was 7 under, flashing the talent he showed last season at Florida State, where he set a school record with a 69.3 scoring average.

The 22-year-old Bhatia chose to skip college and turned pro at age 17.

He picked up his second PGA Tour victory at the Texas Open in April and is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Travelers Championship, where he was in the final group that was disrupted by climate protesters storming the 18th green.

Rai, Montgomery and Young are each seeking their first PGA Tour victory. Merritt and van Rooyen have each won twice.

Bhatia, who opened with a 64 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead, started the second round on the par-4 10th and hit an approach from 112 yards to 3 feet for birdie. He made a 31-foot putt on the par-3 15th for his second of five birdies Friday.

Tom Kim, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 16, followed up a first-round 73 with a 68 and missed the cut by a stroke at 3 under. After losing to Scottie Scheffler in a playoff last week in Connecticut, he may have run out of gas in the Motor City in his ninth straight tournament.

Miles Russell, a 15-year-old amateur from Florida, shot 70 on Friday and missed the cut in his PGA Tour debut at even-par 144. Russell, the youngest player to make a cut on the Korn Ferry Tour, will return to the Motor City next month for the U.S. Junior Amateur at Oakland Hills, where Tiger Woods' son, Charlie, will also be in the field.


AP golf:

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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