IRVING, Texas – Brendon Todd birdied his final two holes Friday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
The birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 wrapped up a 6-under 64 and put Todd alone atop the crowded leaderboard at 8-under 132. Among eight players at 6 under were Martin Kaymer, The Players Championship winner Sunday, and Paul Casey after his record back nine.
Casey was over par before matching the PGA Tour record for the best score on a back nine, an 8-under 27 with six birdies and an eagle. That was part of his 7-under 63 that was the low round of the day.
Todd, who for the second time in five years is back on the PGA Tour after getting his card back through the Web.com Tour, got to 7 under with a 12-foot birdie at the par-3 13th hole. But he gave that stroke back at the par-4 15th when he hit his first two shots into the rough and had his only bogey.
He had sole possession of the lead after his 6-foot birdie at the par-3 17th, where his tee shot rolled just past the hole. The last of his seven birdies, in a round when he needed only 22 putts, came after his approach inside 10 feet at No. 18.
"It's nice to put two under-par rounds together before the cut. That's been a challenge for me this year," Todd said. "I was patient today."
Also at 6 under were 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir (66), who hasn't had a top-25 finish since 2010 when he had an elbow injury, fellow Canadian Graham DeLaet (66), Morgan Hoffmann (66), Tim Herron (66), Charles Howell III and Marc Leishman (68).
"The work I've been doing over the years is to get back into this position, and now I've got to see if I can handle it and get momentum going and play well on the weekend," Weir said. "It's been difficult to play and not be in contention."
Kaymer had his second consecutive 67, and has been in the 60s for all six of his rounds at TPC Four Seasons.
"If you had a good week, obviously you can take a lot into the next week. You play a little bit more free, a little bit more relaxed," Kaymer said. "It's a new week, and I want to do as good as possible here."
Peter Hanson was leading after a first-round 65, but was eight strokes worse Friday and dropped back to a tie for 25th at 2 under.
David Duval, only a stroke off the lead after an opening 66 that included birdies on four of his last five holes, shot a 76 Friday and missed the cut by a stroke at 2-over 142. The former No. 1 player, now 890th in the world 15 years later, had six bogeys over his last 11 holes and had only one birdie during his second round.
When Casey made the turn Friday, he was coming off a bogey at No. 9 when his three-putt included missing a 5-foot par saver. It was the Englishman's third bogey on the front nine. He was 2 over for the tournament – after his 71 on Thursday and the 1-over 36 on the front side Friday that included an eagle putt from nine feet at the par-5 seventh hole.
"I think it's easier when your back is up against the wall, like I was today" Casey said. "I was backed into a corner and had to do something. A little shift in, let's say, attitude, and a little shift in goals."
Casey, whose only PGA Tour victory came in Houston five years ago, made a 6-foot birdie putt at No. 10, then drove short of the greenside bunker at the short par-4 11th and from an awkward stance hit his approach over the pin onto the fringe. But he sank a 24-foot birdie, and added birdies at Nos. 13-15 before the 32-foot putt for an eagle-3 at the 16th. He closed with another birdie.
The overall nine-hole scoring record is Corey Pavin's 8-under 26 on the front nine in the first round of the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee in 2006.
Seven others have had 27s on nine holes. The last was Nick Watney on the back nine in the third round of the 2011 AT&T National.
Scottie Scheffler, a 17-year-old amateur from Dallas, shot a 68 with six birdies and four bogeys to make the cut at 1-under 139.
Jordan Spieth, now 20 and the eighth-ranked player in the world, made the Nelson cut at ages 16 and 17 when he too was a top-ranked junior player from Dallas playing on a sponsor exemption. Spieth was 3 under after a 67 Friday.
Defending Nelson champion Sang-Moon Bae missed the cut after rounds of 73 and 74.