Justin Hicks lines up a putt on No. 17. The former Michigan golfer shot a 1-under 71. (Todd Warshaw / Getty Images)
La Quinta, Calif.— Before Patrick Reed earned his PGA Tour card in December 2012, he successfully Monday-qualified for six events and made 12 starts that year.
That experience, with wife Justine at his side as his caddie, has come in handy in the first two rounds of the Humana Challenge.
“For sure,” Reed said. “It’s a birdiefest, this tournament is. … It’s pretty easy to get in that Monday-qualifying mindset, due to the fact that you’re playing three different courses.
“So, the first day, it’s like, ‘All right, well, let’s see how we do against the guys in my course there.’ And the same thing every day.”
A day after shooting a 9-under 63 at PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course to take the lead, Reed had another 9-under 63 Friday at La Quinta Country Club to stretch his advantage to two strokes over Brendon Todd.
Todd had a 63 on the Palmer course. He’s the only player without a bogey.
“Obviously, both days were really solid,” Todd said. “Bogey-free was huge. … Before I knew it, I was at 7- or 8-under with a few to play, feeling like I should birdie every hole.
“… The weather’s been so good, I’m not surprised to see what Patrick did.”
Brian Stuard (Jackson) shot a 6-under 66 at the PGA West Nicklaus course, but his 36-hole total of 11-under 133 left him seven shots behind Reed.
Justin Hicks (Wyandotte) followed Thursday’s 64 with a 1-under 71 at the PGA West Palmer course and is at 9-under 135.
Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes to post a 5-under 67 and lie two shots off the lead two rounds into the Abu Dhabi Championship. McIlroy is at 7 under.
“It’s a great position to be in, as I’m only a few off the lead, so I’m excited,” McIlroy said.
Tied for the lead were Scotland’s Craig Lee (67) and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello (68) at 9 under.
Phil Mickelson made the cut by two shots at 1 under with a 70 after a first-round 73.
“I’m really glad I made the cut and I now have a chance over these next two days,” Mickelson said.
Rocco Mediate shot a 9-under 63 and took the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Kaupulehu-kona, Hawaii.