Scheffler leads Rahm as darkness shuts down second round of Phoenix Open

Scottie Scheffler shot seven birdies in a 64-under-par seven on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Jon Rahm as the two chase down number one ranked Rory McIlroy at the Phoenix Open.

World number two Scheffler, the defending champion in Phoenix, had a total of 10-under par of 132 and Rahm, third-ranked in Spain, was his closest rival in the clubhouse after a 66-under par of five on 134 .

Overnight co-leader Adam Hadwin of Canada was eight under 10 holes when darkness interrupted play in the US PGA Tour event at TPC Scottsdale, which was in recovery mode from a late morning frost Thursday.

Both Scheffler and Rahm have a chance to overtake Northern Ireland star McIlroy to top the world rankings this week. McIlroy was three down for the tournament through 13 holes in the second round.

Scheffler started on the 10th and after a birdie on the 12th electrified the rowdy crowd on the par three 16th with a tee shot that grabbed a bounce and rolled towards the bowl – only for a gust of wind to blow it off the green.

“It should have been probably six feet to the left side of the hole,” Scheffler said. “It ended up being about 20 feet from the green. It was weird. A tough break.”

He finished with a par, but then hit four birdies in a row – driving the green at the 17th then draining a 23-footer at 18. He made seven-foot birdie putts at first and second, and short-range birdies at the sixth and the ninth.

“I think in this place when you hit the fairways and you hit it right, the golf course can open up for you,” Scheffler said. “But the reverse can happen quickly because there are problems lurking on practically every hole with the desert nearby. When you hit well you have to take advantage of it as I did today.”

Scheffler earned his first win on a US tour in Phoenix last year, and went on to win at Bay Hill and The Masters before climbing to number one with a win at WGC Match Play.

McIlroy has since climbed to number one while Rahm threatens to climb back to the top after victories at the Tournament of Champions and in La Quinta, California this year.

Rahm also tended in the 10 and after an early bogey birdied at the 13 and scored 15 with a hole from a bunker onto the green. He added a baby bird at 16 and two more on the way at the second and third.

“I played really well,” said Rahm. “I hit a lot of great tee shots today. Lots of good shots that didn’t end up in good spots.

“I think seven, eight nine is a clear example of that. None of them were bad. They were all off the green and I needed to get up and down to keep the round going.

“It’s golf and that’s what happens here.”


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