FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Patrick Cantlay grabbed a share of the second-round lead in the Hotel Fitness Championship on Friday, a week after the former UCLA star squandered a chance to wrap up a PGA Tour card.
Fighting a back injury, the 21-year-old Cantlay birdied four of his last five holes for a 7-under 65 to match 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman and Web.com Tour money champion Michael Putnam at 11-under 133 at Sycamore Hills in the Web.com Tour Finals opener.
"It actually feels best on the course," Cantlay said about his back. "I'm aware of it. I try to swing like I'm not hurt and deal with whatever pain there is. There's pain on every shot. It's kind of like out of sight, out of mind. I try not to think about it."
Cantlay missed the cut last week in the Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb., to drop from 25th to 29th on the Web.com Tour money list. The top 25 after that event secured PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season, while Nos. 26-75 are fighting with Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings for 25 additional cards in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals series.
Putnam had a course-record 63.
"Starting the second round, I was battling to make the cut and now I'm in the lead," said Putnam, who opened birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie.
"That's the best start I ever had, especially on those holes. They're not easy," Putnam said.
Immelman shot 66.
"You've got to put your foot on the gas," Immelman said. "Over the last few years, golfers have gotten so good all over the world, on every tour. Gone are the days of shooting even par on the last day and winning, even at the majors. Guys are not afraid to go low."
Arron Oberholser, Scott Harrington and Bud Cauley were a stroke back. Oberholser had a 68, and Harrington and Cauley shot 69. Troy Matteson was 9 under after a 70.