AT&T Byron Nelson 2017: Jason Kokrak Leads as Jordan Spieth Misses Cut
Jason Kokrak will carry a five-stroke lead into the weekend at the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson tournament after firing an eight-under 62 during Friday's second round at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Irving, Texas.
Kokrak, who's seeking his first career victory on the PGA Tour, stands at 12-under par overall through 36 holes. While he holds a commanding lead, the chase pack features a couple notable names inside the top 10, including Dustin Johnson (-6) and Billy Horschel (-7).
Here's a look at the tournament leaderboard following Round 2:
Kokrak's surge to the top comes as a complete surprise. The 31-year-old American hasn't finished inside the top 50 in his last seven stroke-play starts dating back to early March and is coming off a missed cut in the Players Championship last week.
His best finish of the 2016-17 campaign to date was a 15th-place result in the OHL Classic all the way back in November against lesser competition.
He found a groove early in the second round, however, posting a birdie on the first hole en route to a four-under front nine. He ended the round with eight birdies and no bogeys.
The Golf Channel highlighted one of his laser-guided approach shots:
While Kokrak's track record raises obvious questions about whether he can maintain the same level of play all weekend, he's given himself a golden opportunity to finally get in the PGA Tour win column.
Johnson looked poised to post a super-low number after three consecutive birdies starting on the par-three fifth. Alas, a bogey on the ninth halted his momentum before he jumped on the par train for most of the back nine. He did end his day with a birdie on No. 18, though.
It was the second straight 67 for the reigning U.S. Open champion, whose form has been on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Kokrak. He's finished no worse than 12th in his last six stroke-play events, including victories in the WGC Mexico Championship and Genesis Open.
Ryan Reiterman of GolfChannel.com passed along the star's post-round remarks.
"I felt like I did everything pretty well," Johnson said. "Missed a couple of short putts on 14 and then on one at the turn, but other than that it was pretty solid. Never really got in trouble and even on the last hole I hit a good tee shot, hit a good second shot, just the wind switched and came back in my face instead of help. So I came up just short. Kind of a goofy lie there."
He added: "The game is still not quite as sharp as it was leading into Augusta, but it's getting there, it's getting close."
Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth headlined the group of players who failed to qualify for the weekend after falling below the two-over cut line.
The two-time major champion was even through 11 holes before a bogey on the 12th and a disastrous quadruple bogey at No. 16 sent him to an early exit.
The PGA Tour showcased his tournament-ending mistakes on the 16th tee:
Hunter Mahan, Bryson DeChambeau, J.B. Holmes, Ryo Ishikawa and Brandt Snedeker were among the other golfers to miss the cut.
Looking ahead, Kokrak is virtually the lone storyline heading into Saturday. It will be intriguing to see whether he can put together another a strong afternoon to pull further away from the pack or if he'll falter to bring more of the field back into contention.
Johnson will likely emerge as the favorite if the current leader can't slam the door shut. He's played pretty routine golf over the first couple days and still finds himself well within striking distance. He'll be in attack mode throughout moving day in an effort to close the gap.