Canadian Graham DeLaet succumbed to the infamous 'Horrible Horseshoe' but rebounded with two closing birdies to move into an early one-shot lead in Friday's second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas. In pursuit of his first PGA Tour victory, the 31-year-old from Saskatchewan put a welcome smile back on his face as he carded a three-under-par 67 in overcast conditions at Colonial Country Club to post a nine-under total of 131.
Americans Josh Teater (67), Jordan Spieth (67) and left-hander Steve Flesch (64) were tied for second, with Swede Fredrik Jacobson (67) a further stroke back at seven under. Overnight leader Ryan Palmer, who tied the tournament record low for the opening round after a flawless 62 on Thursday, was among the day's late starters.
However, Colonial member Palmer was unlikely to finish the second round on Friday with play having been suspended for just over two hours earlier in the day due to the threat of lightning. DeLaet completed his 67 before the siren sounded to halt the action, and was delighted with his overall position after going bogey-bogey-bogey on his back nine over the "Horrible Horseshoe" stretch of holes from the par-four third to the par-four fifth.
"It was disappointing to make those three bogeys in a row," DeLaet told Golf Channel after ending the day with a total of seven birdies and four bogeys. "We got to the sixth hole and I just wanted to get the ball in the fairway and hit it in the middle of the green. I had a pretty reasonable short iron in there but I just wanted to make sure I didn't make another bogey.
"I parred six and seven, then had great birdies on eight and nine to finish and just kind of calm my nerves a little bit. I knew I was in contention ... it was definitely a great finish." DeLaet, whose best PGA Tour finish was a tie for third at the 2010 Houston Open in his rookie season, drained a 28-footer at the par-three eighth and a 12-footer at the par-four ninth to take over at the top of the leaderboard.
"I got myself right back in it," he said. "My game feels good and I'm making some putts here the last couple of days, which always helps." DeLaet, a three-times winner on the Canadian Tour where he clinched the order of merit title in 2009, has recorded three top-10s in 14 starts on the 2013 PGA Tour as he seeks a breakthrough victory on the ultra competitive U.S. circuit.
The cut was projected to fall at one-under 139 with 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and former major winners David Toms and Davis Love III among those in danger of missing out.