HOUSTON – Last year, the winning score in Houston was 10 under. The year before, 13 under.
As of now, it looks like golfers at the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open will blast past those numbers.
The Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course continued Friday, the penultimate FedEx Cup event of the PGA Tour’s fall slate. The first round concluded early, as a handful of players had to come back and finish their opening 18 holes before starting their second round later in the morning.
And the second round won’t finish until Saturday, too.
However, a name at the top of the leaderboard hasn’t changed since Thursday night.
Here’s a look at some takeaways from the second round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open.
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Tony Finau off to blistering start
Tony Finau walks on the course during the second round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on Nov. 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Last week in Mexico, Tony Finau missed the cut. This week in Houston, everyone is chasing him.
And he’s making it clear early: good luck trying to catch me.
Finau shot a career-tying-best 8-under 62 on Friday, carding 10 birdies en route to a four-shot lead. He had six birdies on the front nine and led by as many as five shots at one point. He finished with three consecutive birdies, as well.
During an 18-hole stretch that started on his 11th hole Thursday (No. 2) and concluded on No. 10 Friday, Finau made 12 birdies.
“I finished 5 under on my last nine yesterday, and I just rolled that momentum right into today,” Finau said. “I made a huge putt for par on No. 1, and then I was off to the races. I almost made a hole-in-one on No. 2 and just kind of cruising from there. It was a really nice round of golf.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 11, 2022
Finau chalked his missed cut last week up to being rusty, coming off what he said was the longest break of his career. He hasn’t played since the Presidents Cup, but he has shown no signs of rust in Houston.
He’s making a difficult golf course look really easy, and he got the advantage of a good wave. Finau says he prefers the late-early tee times on Thursday and Friday, and that may help him out this week, as there’s storms and a wind shift in the forecast for Friday afternoon that could make conditions more difficult.
Nevertheless, he’s off to a great start in Houston and has a big advantage heading into the weekend.
“I was not very sharp last week,” Finau said. “I played some good stretches of golf mixed with a lot of bad stretches of golf, so I just wanted to be a little sharper and play some better golf and within myself. I’ve been able to do that these first couple days.”
Weather suspends play until Saturday
Nick Taylor waits under his umbrella during the second round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on Nov. 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Mother Nature had something to say about the second round finishing on time.
Play was suspended at 3:26 p.m. local time because of thunderstorms in the Houston area. Those were expected to continue into the evening, forcing officials to postpone the remainder of the second round until Saturday morning.
A cold front was moving into the Houston area on Friday night, meaning course conditions will be quite different for those who have yet to finish their rounds. They’ll come back Saturday morning to a course that’s softer and playing with a different wind direction.
Patrick Rodgers goes low
Patrick Rodgers hits a tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open golf tournament. (Photo: Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports)
Had it not been for Patrick Rodgers, there’s a chance Finau’s lead could be even bigger.
Rodgers fired a 7-under 63, shooting to 9 under for the tournament and four back of Finau after the morning wave. He started on the back nine and went out in 2-under 33, but an eagle on the par-5 third sparked a 5 under back nine to put him into solo second. He birdied his final two holes to briefly take the clubhouse lead.
“I had great control today, which is wonderful,” Rodgers said. “It obviously starts with the tee shots. I was able to put the ball in the fairway a lot, which makes an enormous difference. I stayed disciplined on my approach shots, but took advantage when I had opportunities to attack. It added up to a pretty good one.”
Rodgers is in great position to play in the final pairing come Saturday.
Scottie shufflin' his way up the leaderboard
Scottie Scheffler chips on the 11th green during the second round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
There’s something about the second round at Memorial Park and Scottie Scheffler playing well.
Scheffler, the No. 2 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking and pre-tournament favorite, didn’t complete his second round before the suspension of play, but he was in a rhythm and was moving up the leaderboard, playing strong golf up until the horn sounded.
Seconds before the horn blew, Scheffler hit his approach shot into his 14th hole of the day, the par-4 fifth, and stuck it to 7 feet, 6 inches. A putt for birdie awaits him come morning, where he’ll have an opportunity to move to 6 under for his round and the tournament.
Last year, Scheffler shot 8 under in the second round. He has got a chance to reach that mark again.
The highlight for Scheffler came on the par-5 third, his 12th hole. He missed the green right with his approach shot, but he wasn’t off the mark with his third.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 11, 2022
As mentioned, the course will play much different come Saturday morning than it has through the first two days, but the front nine has been much easier through the first two rounds compared to the back.
If Scheffler is able to finish strong and carry his momentum into the morning, he could post another 8-under score.
Who's on the outside looking in at a weekend tee time
Sam Burns takes a tee shot at the first hole during the first round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open golf tournament. (Photo: Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports)
On Veterans’ Day, PGA Tour rookie Kyle Westmoreland was looking to accomplish something special.
Westmoreland, the 31-year-old who went to high school in the Houston area, said during his Wednesday press conference how important the Houston Open was to him and how badly he wanted to play well. The first Air Force graduate to earn his Tour card is accustomed to high-pressure situations, and he was looking to make his second cut of the season.
He’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out whether he has a tee time on the weekend.
Westmoreland fired rounds of 68-72 and sits at even par, which is currently the projected cut line. However, even is T-65, and there are nine players at that mark who are still on the course. If one of them makes a birdie, Westmoreland wouldn’t make the cut, as it’s only top 65 and ties.
There remains a chance he could make it, but Data Golf says the cut line has an 81% chance to move to 1 under by the end of the second round.
Meanwhile, there are other names who likely won’t tee it up on Saturday and others who can head home.
Sam Burns, who’s 12th in the OWGR, is 6 over with five holes to play and would need a miracle to play the weekend. Sepp Straka, who has lost in two playoffs in the past four months, shot 3 under on Friday but will miss the cut at 5 over.
Russell Henley, who broke a five-year winless streak last week, birdied his last three holes but is at 2 over and will head home early. Presidents Cupper Sebastian Munoz is 1 over with six holes to play and will likely need to play those in 2 under to make the third round.