CROMWELL, Conn.—Denny McCarthy set a new 36-hole course record by following up a first-round 60 with a 65 to extend his lead to four strokes after the morning rounds Friday at the Travelers Championship.
The 30-year-old Maryland native started slowly, bogeying the second hole. But that was the only blemish on a round that included six birdies, five of them on the back nine.
His two-day score of 125 is a stroke better than the first two rounds Xander Schauffele put up during his run to the title a year ago and Justin Rose's first 36 holes in 2010, when he finished tied for ninth.
“It's nice, but golf tournaments aren't 36 holes unfortunately,” McCarthy said. “I know there's still a lot of golf left and I'm playing some really nice golf, so I'm looking forward to having fun this weekend.”
McCarthy is trying to become the 18th player to pick up the first PGA Tour victory of his career in Connecticut. Ken Duke was the last to do it in 2013.
Eric Cole shot a 65 on Friday to move to 11-under par. The California native is the son of professional golfers Laura Baugh and Bobby Cole. His father played this course just once professionally, finishing 50th in 1987. But his son didn’t get to see that.
“I was born in ’88, so it would’ve been before me,” the younger Cole said.
Rory McIlroy shot a 64 on Friday to move to 132 and in contention going into the weekend. His round could have been better had it not been for a double-bogey on the par-3 eighth, the same hole where he recorded his first ever hole-in-one on the PGA Tour the day before.
This time, McIlroy put his tee shot in the water.
“I hit a pretty good shot, I just misjudged the wind a little bit and it came up short in the one place you couldn’t miss today,” he said. “But, other than that it was a really good round of golf.”
McIlroy got a break on his last hole when his tee shot landed on a cable trench behind a tree on the ninth hole. He was given relief by a tournament official, but hit a limb on his approach shot, which still landed just short of the green, where he managed to get up and down for par.
With 91 players breaking par Thursday and low scores continuing on Friday, the cut was projected to be at 3-under par.
That would mean a short week for Masters champion Jon Rahm, who was at 2-under 138 following a 71 on Friday.