10th career 36-hole lead/co-lead worldwide for Bryson. He's won 2 of the previous 9 instances.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) February 22, 2020
Scores turned red on Friday during Round 2 of the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship, and we have the leaderboard to prove it. Players were about 150 strokes better on Friday than they were on Thursday as several flirted with scores of 60 at Golf Club de Chapultepec.
We have a very, shall we say, polarizing leaderboard with tons of drama to sort through at the top. Let's dive into the fray and take a look at what we have in place as Moving Day is set to hit us to kick off the weekend in Mexico.
First place -- Bryson DeChambeau (-11): After shooting an 8-under 63 on Friday, DeChambeau giggled his way through an interview recounting his round shot by shot on Golf Channel. I've never seen somebody that delighted at watching his own (admittedly incredibly impressive!) highlights. His 63 came with a bogey, but the lead might not be sustainable. DeChambeau has gained the lion's share of his strokes on the greens with a mega-hot putter. Regardless, it will be a blast watching him try to hang on over the weekend.
Golfer who surprised -- Erik van Rooyen (62): An unbelievable round from anyone, much less somebody who wears joggers on the course. Van Rooyen doesn't play much PGA Tour golf, but he's a steady presence on the European Tour, having won three times in the last three years worldwide.
In contention -- Patrick Reed (-10), Erik van Rooyen (-10), Justin Thomas (-9), Hideki Matsuyama (-9), Rory McIlroy (-8): McIlroy had the "worst" day out of this group as he was 2 under while everyone else was 5 under or better on the day. McIlroy was actually 1 over through his first nine holes but rallied late with two birdies in his last three to shoot the 69. As he noted in his post-round interview, there's a lot of golf left, and nobody at the top has been hitting it more consistently better than Rory. (Well, he didn't point that part out, but I am.)
Chapultepec separation: For the second straight year, we're seeing separation at the top of the leaderboard. Last year, it was Dustin Johnson (-21) and McIlroy (-16) who lapped the rest of the field (-11). This year, it's the top six that are head and shoulders above everyone else. McIlroy is in sixth at 8 under, and the next best is a group of Sebastian Munoz, Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey at 5 under. One of the top six is almost certainly going to win (which is great because it's a great top six).
The favorite: McIlroy remains the 3-1 favorite with DeChambeau just behind him, according to William Hill Sportsbook. This isn't surprising given the string of golf McIlroy is on. He's been in the top seven in 15 of his last 16 rounds on the PGA Tour.
Shot of the day: I do not understand.
Believe in Bryson? I do, but holding onto 36-hole leads is really tough.
Stat of the day -- 15.8: That's the strokes gained differential from Hideki Matsuyama -- first in the field from tee to green -- and Jordan Spieth, who is No. 69 in the field. A fellow Spieth truther and I were texting today that lifeboats are currently being deployed on the U.S.S. Spieth, but we both refuse to get on them.
Storyline No. 1: Listen, it's been a tough week for Reed. He got walloped by Brooks Koepka, who said he's seen Reed cheat on multiple occasions. So it would be perfection if he's in contention on the weekend, pretending like he's not hearing the haters that have been coming at him., and then again by former CBS broadcaster Peter Kostis,
Storyline No. 2: Can van Rooyen take down this fivesome of golfers -- J.T., Rory, Hideki, Reed and Bryson? That would be an absolute triumph for the No. 52 player in the world. He's already in the Masters, but this would be by far the biggest win of his career, and he'll have to navigate an absolutely monstrous board to grab it.
Storyline No. 3: Rory vs. J.T. would be the duel of the year. Speaking of ...
Prediction for Day 3: We get J.T. and Rory in the final pairing on Sunday. Take this with an entire bucket of salt given by Day 2 prediction that McIlroy was going to shoot 64 and start running laps around Mexico City.