Claxton leads Midwest Classic by one stroke after two rounds in Kansas

Paul Claxton
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Paul Claxton leads the Midwest Classic after a seven-birdie, no-bogey 64 on Friday.
Dave Senko Tour Staff

Series: Tour

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 | 10:36 p.m.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Paul Claxton fired a 7-under-par 64 Friday and holds a one-stroke lead at the midway point of the Midwest Classic on the Tour. Claxton has a 36-hole total of 10-under 132 and is one in front of Franklin Corpening and Tyrone Van Aswegen at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate.

Claxton’s bogey-free round included seven birdies and it was his second lowest round on tour this year. He posted a third-round 63 at the Air Capital Classic in Wichita last month on his way to a tie for 15th, his best showing to date.

Claxton is second on the all-time Tour list for career starts with 409, one fewer than Ben Bates. He is also a two-time winner on tour with his last win coming at the 2007 Melwood Prince George’s County Open. His other victory came at the 2001 Louisiana Open.

“Today was a real good day for me. It’s nice to have no bogeys and a clean card,” said the University of Georgia product. “I played the par 3s really well today and it was kind of a highlight for me.”

Two of his seven birdies came on par 3s on the front nine. He hit an 8-iron to 20 feet on No. 5 and then three holes later made a 10-footer for birdie after hitting a 4-iron.

“One of the keys on this course is you’ve got to keep it in the fairways. They look wide but they’re really not,” Claxton added. “You’ve got to keep your foot on the gas and keep making birdies here.”

Claxton won’t have much breathing room when Saturday’s third round begins. He is being chased by Corpening and Van Aswegen, both of whom will begin the weekend at 9-under-par 133.

They are each coming off missed cuts at the Utah Championship, but both have posted a pair of rounds in the 60s this week.

“This golf course really fits my eye and my caddie and I have gotten ourselves in really good spots out there,” said Corpening, a rookie on the Tour this year. “We’ve had some difficult pins the last couple of days, but I feel really good playing on this course and am excited to be in the position I’m in.”

This is Van Aswegen’s third full season on the Tour and he has two top-10 finishes to his credit this year, including a tie for sixth at the BMW Charity Classic in May. He currently is ranked 48th on the money list.

“Overall I had a good ball-striking day today and my irons were solid,” the South African native said after his second-round 68. “It was a bit windier today and the scoring wasn’t as easy as yesterday morning when I played.”

Second-Round Notes:

--The heat index was near 100 degrees. However, temperatures are expected to drop a bit on Saturday.

--A total of 79 players made the cut at 1-under-par 141. A year ago, the cut was 2-under-par 140 and 67 players made the cut.

--Josh Broadaway made the day’s biggest move. After shooting a 1-over-72, he fashioned a 7-under-par 64 to move up 86 places into a tie for seventh.

--Ben Martin’s string of consecutive rounds in the 60s ended at seven when he shot a 2-over 73. It dropped him from a tie for first to a tie for 26th. He also saw his streak of rounds of par/better end at 14.

--Bio Kim withdrew during the round with an injury.

--The most difficult hole on Friday was again No. 1 with an average score of 4.323 (+.323). No. 9 ranked second at 4.277 (+.277), while No. 13 was again the easiest at 4.432 (-.568). The field averaged 71. 200, a slight increase from Thursday’s average of 71.006.

--Andy Pope ran his streak of consecutive holes without a three-putt to 236 before it ended with a three-putt at No. 3. It was the best current streak on tour.

--Paul Claxton, Franklin Corpening, Matt Davidson, Nick Rousey, Mike Lavery, Tim Wilkinson and Brad Adamonis posted bogey-free rounds.

--Todd Baek had just 21 putts, including 13 one-putts. He leads all players through two rounds with an average of 23.50 putts per round.