News All Articles
Todd two clear at halfway stage in Memphis

Todd two clear at halfway stage in Memphis

Brendon Todd will take a two shot lead into the third round of the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational after producing a sparkling 65 on Friday courtesy of a short game masterclass.

Brendon Todd

The 35-year-old had looked set to finish the day with an even healthier advantage but late starter Rickie Fowler closed his round with back to back birdies to cut the gap.

The players were out bright and early at TPC Southwind on Friday morning as the tee times were brought forward in anticipation of inclement weather later in the day.

Starting at 7.10am local time, Todd made the most of favourable scoring conditions, firing two birdies on the front nine to keep overnight leader Brooks Koepka in his sights, before picking up three more shots on the back nine to get to 11 under par.

With others around him unable to keep their cards clean as the mistakes crept in, Todd was four shots clear for much of the afternoon until his fellow American Fowler finished with a flourish to sign for a 67 and move to nine under.

Chez Reavie, Byeong Hun An and Koepka were two shots further back in a tie for third.

After following up Thursday's 64 with another low one, Todd hailed his hot putter.

He said: "Definitely another solid round all around, but mostly with the short game.

"I've probably putted the best of any tournament this year so far.

"I'm really excited about how I played and looking forward to the opportunity this weekend."

Beginning the day two shots behind first round leader Koepka, Todd - who recorded two wins on the US PGA Tour in November last year - notched birdies at the second and seventh to close the gap to a single shot.

Koepka, starting from the tenth tee, was putting on a brilliant display, hitting every green in regulation on his front nine and setting up chance after chance.

But he could not take advantage of his excellent tee to green performance, with a nine footer at the short 11th his only birdie after eight holes.

Todd was breathing down Koepka's neck and briefly joined him at the summit when he holed from 13 feet on the 11th green for his third birdie of the day, but the four time Major Champion responded a matter of seconds later with a 16 foot birdie putt on the 18th to move to ten under and regain the outright lead.

Koepka eventually fell from the top of the leaderboard for the first time since Thursday when he uncharacteristically three putted from three feet to make a double bogey on the second.

And soon after, new leader Todd pulled two clear of Koepka when he drained a monster birdie putt from around 50 feet at the short 14th.

Todd's putter stayed red hot as he picked up another shot on the 15th from 12 feet and went three strokes clear.

Rickie Fowler

He was soon reined in ever so slightly as Rickie Fowler reeled off three birdies in a row at the sixth, seventh and eighth to get to nine under.

But as Todd produced a good save at the 16th and parred his way home to set the clubhouse target at 11 under, Fowler sent his tee shot at the par three 11th straight into the water and surrendered a double bogey to slip backwards.

And as the wind picked up in the afternoon, it looked as though none of the later starters would be able to eat into Todd's lead, but Fowler gave himself a tap-in at the 17th before knocking in from off the green at the last to secure outright second spot.

After his round, Fowler said: "It's been nice to see some putts go in.

"These greens are about as good as they get. It's been nice to have them stay on the softer side and make it very playable when you're driving in the fairway, because this golf course can get pretty interesting if it stays dry and firms up.

"I don't know if we're going to be able to get that this week with the storms we had and what we may see today, tomorrow. I would like to see it dry up if it can."

Read next