American Maverick McNealy (5/2 Outright) stormed to the top of the leaderboard at the Fortinet Championship in California as world number one Jon Rahm was sent packing after missing the cut.
On Friday, McNealy’s impressive eight-under-par 64 enabled him to move into a two-shot lead, while overnight leader Chez Reavie’s 75 saw him drop 37 places to T38.
Beau Hossler and Mito Pereira share second place on 10-under par, while Troy Merritt, Will Zalatoris and Bronson Burgoon share fourth a shot further back.
McNealy finished Friday’s round with an eagle at the ninth hole, his last, as well as nine birdies and three bogeys. The Northern Californian looks like he could go all the way this weekend as he tries to win on the PGA Tour for the first time.
Speaking about his chances, he told reporters: “I just keep telling myself every putt you make now is one less you have to make later. It’s great to be at the top of the leaderboard now, but it means a heck of a lot more to be at the top at the end of 72 holes.”
Sadly for McNealy, the biggest story from Friday’s round was Rahm’s inability to make the cut. The Spaniard says there is no cause for concern ahead of next week’s Ryder Cup (Europe 2/1, USA 8/15, Draw 10/1 – Outright), despite missing the cut by two shots.
Rahm has struggled with illness throughout the week, and he says he will rest up and come again at Whistling Straits.
He said: “Well, I’ve got two more days off. I think it’s primarily rest. I feel like with having those stomach issues early, I wasn’t nearly as rested as I could have been, my body got a little bit tight, but I’m feeling good today.
“It was a tough course out there. If anything, I get to rest a couple extra days and be able to figure out what’s going on with my swing, which technically is not really anything bad.”