Seamus Power continues to find ‘Motor City’ to his liking as he rocketed his way to a PGA Tour opening 36-hole career low and an early share of the lead on day two of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Power, 33, ended his round as then clubhouse leader in a second straight bogey-free showing of a six-under par 66 for an 11-under par tally on the Detroit GC course.
He was then joined among the early leaders at 11-under par by the American duo of Bryson DeChambeau (67) and Matthew Wolff (64) along with compatriot Mark Hubbard (66)
Power’s rounds of 67 and 66 helped produce his lowest opening 36-holes on a par-72 layout in the 88 tournaments he’s now contested on the PGA Tour. His prior best first two rounds low to par was nine-under on route to a T5th finish in the 2018 Corales Puntacana Resort Championship, still his best result on the PGA Tour.
And in two Detroit rounds, the proud Irishman has not dropped a shot which is a far cry from the horror second round score 77 he posted on the Detroit course a year ago to miss the cut.
The West Waterford golfer’s second round was a lesson in golf’s basics, namely find the fairway, hit the green and make the putts.
In fact, Power hit 10 of 14 fairways, missed just three of 18 greens in regulation and recorded 28 putts, with eight of those one-putts including his opening three holes. And the highlight of those one-putts was a monster 46-foot birdie Power sent to the bottom of the cup at the second hole.
“I’m pleased with it as I didn’t quite have my A-game, I guess, but I was able to manage it pretty well and then hit some good shots at kind of the right time,” said Power.
“So overall, I am pretty pleased.
“I holed a long birdie putt at the second to get going and that kind of settled me down a little bit and was able to go on from there.
“I’ve been reading the putts pretty well and my speed is good, so that’s a good combination. It’s just kind of getting out of your own way once you have those two things down. Especially since we were third group off, greens were perfect this morning, so we really didn’t have any excuses”.
Power had not teed-up in a main PGA Tour event since last February with he and Cork-born caddy, Simon Keelan returning from the three-month lockdown break to really gel.
Power had been one of 13 players to produce a bogey-free round on day one of the $US 7.5m event and he continues to be bogey-free.
Following his long birdie putt at the second Power then produced the longest drive of his round off the third tee, a rocket-like 338-yard effort, ahead of holing a four-footer to move to two-under par and into a then share of the lead at seven-under par.
Power then holed a great eight-footer for a par save at the fifth and chipped to five-feet for a birdie at the seventh to move to eight-under par.
He moved to nine-under with a birdie at 10 and then to double figures when he sank a six-footer at the par-13th, and he muscled his way to 11-under par with a sixth birdie of the round at the par-5 14th.
Despite missing the cut in the event a year ago, Power says returning to Michigan’s largest city has helped in his first PGA Tour since February.
“Knowing, especially on a course like this, as you saw the scores last year, you’ve got to get to 20 under and knowing that you’ve got to stay aggressive and you’ve got to kind of let things go and you’ve got to make some putts,” he said.
“So, playing here last year has helped rather than last year when I came here and was not quite sure what the scoring was going to be. I think that and the combination of this being my first start for a while, I’m trying to enjoy it a little bit more.
“I also probably rate myself as a pretty good course manager so I know I have to kind of pick my spots. But the advantage I have, the first two rounds is that I’ve been driving it well, so I give myself more opportunities to be aggressive.”
Teeing-up in ‘Motor City’ Power found himself ranked a lowly 505th on the World Rankings with officials already predicting Power would jump a massive 375 places to the new and career high World No.130 should he capture a maiden PGA Tour title.
POWER’S POWER-PLAY DAY TWO DETROIT DISPLAY
Score – 66 (Six-under)
Birdies – 6 (2nd, 3rd, 7th, 10th, 13th & 14th)
Longest birdie – 46 feet 2nd hole); Shortest birdie – 2 feet 9 inches, 14th hole)
Bogeys – Nil
Fairways – 10/14
GIR – 15/18
Putts – 28 (13 out, 15 home)