Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 86. Wind SSE 15-25 mph.
T1 Bud Cauley 70-66—136 (-8)
T1 Tony Finau 71-65—136 (-8)
T3 Cameron Smith 72-65—137 (-7)
T3 Bob Estes 68-69—137 (-7)
T3 Kevin Chappell 69-68—137 (-7)
T3 Robby Shelton 68-69—137 (-7)
Ages of leaders – Cauley (27), Finau (27), Smith (23), Estes (51), Chappell (30), Shelton (21).
36-Hole Cut: 76 players at even-par 144 from a field of 156 professionals.
Bud Cauley posted a bogey-free 6-under 66 for his low 18-hole score in his fourth appearance at the Valero Texas Open. His previous-best round at TPC San Antonio – AT&T Oaks Course was a final-round 68 in 2012. The two rounds represent his only sub-70 scores at the AT&T Oaks course.
This marks the first time Cauley has held a 36-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR.
At last week’s RBC Heritage, Cauley shot an opening-round 8-under 63 to take the tournament lead and went on to finish T9, his second top-10 this season.
Cauley is making his fourth appearance at the Valero Texas Open (MC/2014, T31/2013, T18/2012).
Cauley currently sits No. 76 in the FedExCup standings. He enjoyed his best FedExCup finish during his first full season on TOUR in 2012, finishing No. 38.
Cauley is seeking his first victory on the PGA TOUR, although he is a winner on the Web.com Tour (2014 Hotel Fitness Championship). In 108 prior PGA TOUR starts, Cauley posted career-best third-place finishes at the 2011 Safeway Open (3), 2012 Wyndham Championship (3) and 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge (T3).
Cauley was out of competition for 15 months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum in September 2014.
As a junior golfer, Cauley was the No. 1-ranked player in the country. He was a three-time All-American at Alabama and represented the U.S. at the 2009 Walker Cup, where he posted a 3-0-1 record. During his freshman year at Alabama, he was the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year. Cauley earned his PGA TOUR status for the 2012 season off of the PGA TOUR non-member money list in just eight starts. He joined a short list of players who earned their PGA TOUR card straight from college without having to go to the Qualifying School: Gary Hallberg, Scott Verplank, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore.
At next week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which will incorporate two-man teams playing both foursomes and four-ball formats, Cauley will partner with his former University of Alabama teammate Justin Thomas, a three-time winner this season who currently sits No. 3 in the FedExCup standings.
Tony Finau’s 7-under 65 was highlighted by an eagle 2 at the par-4 11th where he holed a wedge from 105 yards. Eight additional birdies were offset by three bogeys, including one at the par-5 final hole to fall out of the solo lead and into a tie with Bud Cauley at 8-under.
This marks the first time in Finau’s career that he has had at least a share of the lead through 36 holes. He had held two previous leads/co-leads on TOUR, both times after opening rounds of 65 at the 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba and the 2015 THE NORTHERN TRUST.
Finau was seeking a birdie at the final hole to match the low 18-hole score since 2010, when the Valero Texas Open moved to the TPC San Antonio-AT&T Oaks Course, of 9-under 63 which belongs to Matt Every (R1/2012) and Martin Laird (R4/2013).
The final-hole bogey also prevented Finau from matching, or bettering, his PGA TOUR career low of 64.
Finau’s rounds of 64 on the PGA TOUR;
2015 AT&T Byron Nelson/R2
2015 BMW Championship/R2
2017 Sony Open in Hawaii/R1
2017 Valspar Championship/R4
In 2015, in his only previous appearance at the Valero Texas Open, Finau finished T68 with rounds of 79-69-76-77.
Finau is No. 39 in the FedExCup standings and has finished inside the top 50 in the previous two seasons (45/2016, 43/2015).
Finau has recorded three top-10s in 13 starts this season (T9/SBS Tournament of Champions, T4/Farmers Insurance Open, 5th/Valspar Championship).
Finau claimed his first PGA TOUR win at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
Second-Round Lead Notes
Since 2000, seven of the 17 second-round leaders/coleaders of the Valero Texas Open have gone on to win, including two recent past champions, Steven Bowditch (2014) and Jimmy Walker (2015).
Last year’s Valero Texas open winner, Charley Hoffman, was three back of leader Brendan Steele through 36 holes. Steele, who was 10-under through 36 holes, eventually finished T13 at 7-under 281.
This year, 12 second-round leaders/co-leaders have held on for the win. The most recent to do it was Sergio Garcia at the Masters Tournament.
Making his first appearance at the Valero Texas Open and starting his round at No. 10, Cameron Smith fired a 7-under 65 that included six birdies and an eagle at No. 8 where he holed out from a greenside bunker. It was one of four shots he holed from off the putting surface during the round (Nos. 17, 4, 8 and 9). His lone bogey came at the par-5 8th hole.
Smith’s 65 was one stroke shy of his season-low, a 64 in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Smith is currently No. 81 in the FedExCup standings. After finishing No. 157 in the FedExCup last season, he headed to the Web.com Tour Finals. At the third (and eventually final) event, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, he finished runner-up to secure a return to the PGA TOUR for this season by finishing seventh in the final priority-ranking order.
The 23-year-old from Brisbane, Australia is playing his 52nd event in his third season on the PGA TOUR and owns three top-10 results. In his PGA TOUR debut at the 2014 CIMB Classic he finished T5. Later in the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season, Smith gained attention by finishing T4 in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. His lone top-10 this season was T10 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Kevin Chappell began the second round with consecutive birdies before a bogey at his third hole. Three additional birdies and no more errors resulted in a 4-under 68 to sit T3 at 7-under.
Chappell is making his eighth appearance at the Valero Texas Open. His T2 in 2011 is his best showing and a T4 last year, when he posted all four rounds under par, was just his second top-10 result.
Chappell’s T7 at the Masters earlier this month was his first top-10 result this season and allowed him to improve 50 spots, to No. 109 on the FedExCup standings that week. He is currently No. 113 in the standings.
Chappell has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs six consecutive years. Although still looking for this maiden PGA TOUR victory, Chappell has come close to winning with six runner-up results in his career, including four last season. He finished 8th in the FedExCup last season.
Texas native Bob Estes sits T3 after rounds of 68-69.
Estes won the Valero Texas Open in 1994, one of seven top-10s in the event where he is making his 26th appearance this week.
Estes is playing his eighth TOUR event after suffering wrist and shoulder injuries. Estes played in just one event last season, the Sanderson Farms Championship, missing the cut. This season he has 23 available starts on a Major Medical Extension to earn 365 FedExCup points or $556,345 to remain exempt for the remainder of the season.
Estes is a four-time PGA TOUR winner who is making his 641st career start with 91 top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR. Last season (when he played just one event) was the first time he’d failed to record at least one top-10 result in each of his 27 years on TOUR.
The 51-year-old made his PGA TOUR Champions debut in March at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, carding rounds of 70-74-67 to finish T23.
Robby Shelton, 21, is making his 10th start on the PGA TOUR and fourth this season (T70/Sanderson Farms Championship, MC/Arnold Palmer Invitational, MC/Puerto Rico Open) and sits T3 at the halfway point of the Valero Texas Open.
One week ago, Shelton shot a 2-under 70 for a 15-under total at Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club, then prevailed in a playoff over Jhared Hack to earn medalist honors at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s USA East #1 Q-School.
Three-time University of Alabama All-American led the Crimson Tide to the 2014 NCAA team national championship. He also won the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman at Alabama. As an amateur, he finished T3 at the 2015 Barbasol Championship in the Auburn/Opelika area of Alabama.
Shelton is in this week’s field as a sponsor invite.
After a bogey-free 67 in the first round, John Huh posted a 1-under 71 in his sixth consecutive start in the Valero Texas Open. In five previous starts at TPC San Antonio, the first round had given Huh the most trouble, with a 74.00 scoring average, while the second round was the opposite. Huh’s second-round 71 maintains his 71.00 second-round scoring average in this event. Huh’s lone top-10 finish at the Valero Texas Open, a T2, came in his first start of 2012.
Kevin Tway, son of major champion Bob Tway, sits T6 after rounds of 70-68.
Jonathan Randolph is playing his ninth event this season. Among the three times he has advanced to the weekend, his best performance was his most recent, a T24 at the Puerto Rico Open. Randolph is making his first appearance at the Valero Texas Open. While Randolph secured his PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season with his 13th-place finish on the Web.com Tour Regular Season money list, he finished No. 30 in the final priority-ranking order. Among his 10 top-25 finishes in 23 starts on the Web.com Tour last season were four top-10 showings, two of which were runner-up finishes. Randolph was college standout at University of Mississippi, where he was named to the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman team as well as first-team All-SEC in 2010. He was first team All-America in 2010 and a member of the United States Palmer Cup team that same year.
2015 Valero Texas Open champion Jimmy Walker sits T10 at 5-under after rounds of 70-69. Walker revealed early this week that he had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and has subsequently pulled out of next week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans to seek treatment.
Defending champion Charley Hoffman sits T47 at 1-under.
San Antonio native Patrick Reed, at No. 15 on the Official World Golf Ranking the highest ranked player in the field this week, fired 5-over 77 to miss the cut. Reed, who finished solo-second at TPC San Antonio last year, has never broken par in the second round of the event (four rounds).
England’s Ian Poulter recorded 75-71 to miss the cut by two strokes and was unsuccessful in retaining his fully exempt status after beginning the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season on a Major Medical Extension. Poulter had 10 events to earn either 218 FedExCup points or $347,634 to remain exempt for the remainder of the season. This week’s Valero Texas Open served as his 10th and final event to satisfy his Major Medical Extension. He required 63.775 FedExCup points (solo 12th or better) or $30,624 (two-way tie for 36th or better). Poulter will now play out of the No. 126 – No. 150 FedExCup Points List category. He can also seek unlimited sponsor invitations.
Although 32-year-old Casey Russell missed the cut while making his PGA TOUR debut at the Valero Texas Open, the golf professional at The Club at Colony Creek will remember the experience after improving on his opening-round 77 with a 3-under 69 in the second round. Russell won the 2016 Southern Texas PGA Championship to automatically qualify for this week’s Valero Texas Open.
In his first professional start on the PGA TOUR, Australia’s Curtis Luck posted 73-72 and failed to advance to the weekend.
Past Valero Texas Open champions in the field: Justin Leonard (2000, 2001, 2007)/T64, Zach Johnson (2008, 2009)/MC, Brendan Steele (2011)/T26, Ben Curtis (2012)/WD, Martin Laird (2013)/T10, Steven Bowditch (2014)/MC, Jimmy Walker (2015)/T10 and Charley Hoffman (2016)/T47.
R1: Bob Estes (68), Adam Hadwin (70), Tom Hoge (68), John Huh (67), Steve Marino (68), Seung-Yul Noh (68), Geoff Ogilvy (69), Brendan Steele (70), Kevin Streelman (71), Steve Wheatcroft (70).
R2: Bud Cauley (66), Ben Crane (69), Brad Fritsch (69).
Scoring Averages at TPC San Antonio:
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1: 36.110 35.748 71.858 —
R2: 37.065 35.903 72.968 72.413
R1 A.M. Scoring Average – 71.59, P.M. Scoring Average – 72.13
R2 A.M. Scoring Average – 72.87, P.M. Scoring Average – 73.06
The par-4 fourth hole played the most difficult in round two at 4.594. The par-5 14th played the easiest at 4.639.