MIAMI: D.J. Trahan, seeking his first US PGA title in 11 years, and fellow American Nate Lashley, playing on a medical exemption, shared the lead with Mexico’s Roberto Diaz after Friday’s second round of the Puerto Rico Open.
Trahan closed with a birdie to fire a five-under par 67 and stand on eight-under 136 after 36 holes at windy Rio Grande alongside Lashley and Diaz, who each shot 68 for the second day in a row.
“Obviously you have to be swinging the club well to be successful in conditions like this,” Trahan said. “I feel good about my swing and I was just really committed to shots. I picked my lines and I trusted them.”
Trahan’s two PGA triumphs came at the 2006 Southern Farm Bureau Classic and the 2008 Bob Hope Classic.
Trahan, 38, birdied three of the first five holes before finding a greenside bunker at the par-3 sixth on the way to a bogey. He began the back nine with three birdies in a row before a bogey at the par-4 13th set him back until his birdie at the par-5 last.
“I’m playing solid. I feel like I’m knocking on the door to playing some great golf,” Trahan said. “I’m telling myself that good things are coming and to believe in myself.”
Lashley, 36, reached the tour last year and made eight cuts in 17 events before a knee injury ended his season, setting the stage for him to play in 2019 on a minor medical extension.
Lashley began on the back nine with a birdie, added another at 13 and closed his first nine with back-to-back birdies. But he took a bogey at the first and after answering with birdies at the par-5 second and par-4 fourth made another at six before closing with three pars.
“I’ve been hitting it well, had some nice up and downs,” Lashley said. “All around my game was really nice out there. You’ve got to stay consistent.”
Diaz, coming off a career-best share of 18th at Pebble Beach in his 37th PGA start, also began off the back nine. His bogey-free round included birdies at the par-3 16th and the par-5 18th, second and fifth.
Sitting one stroke off the pace were Canada’s Roger Sloan and Americans Martin Trainer and Ben Crane.
Sharing seventh on 138 were Australians Curtis Luck and Aaron Baddeley and Americans Jonathan Byrd, Johnson Wagner and Wyndham Clark.