By: Associated Press
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.
Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.
“Wind was down again,” Landry said. “It’s like a dome out here.”
Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.
“It’s tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,” Rahm said. “Everything was just a little bit off.”
Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.
Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West’s Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.
“You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,” Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school’s campus. “With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.”
Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.
“I think the wind’s supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,” Landry said. “Especially, those last three or four holes.”
The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start of the PGA TOUR season.
“We’re in a good spot right now,” Landry said. “I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it’s just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you’re making good putts.”
Former Razorback Austin Cook also enters the weekend in contention, sitting T-10th overall at 11-under.