Halfway Hut at the World Wide Technology Championship: Viktor Hovland steps up title defence

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at Mayakoba in Mexico where Matthew Wolff has a two-shot lead.

Viktor Hovland is making the first title defence of his pro career this week.

An opening 4-under 67 on the par 71 at El Camaleon left him nicely tucked in the top 20 and he stepped it up in style in Friday's second round.

The Norwegian, who started on the back nine, made smooth progress to the turn with birdies at 13, 15 and 18.

But then came a potentially momentum-stopping double bogey at the 10th where he needed six blows to complete the par four.

Hovland's response was hugely impressive. He made a bounceback birdie at 2 and added further red numbers at 4, 5, 7 and 9 to complete his 65.

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It means he'll start the weekend in a tie for third pace on 10-under with local man Carlos Ortiz.

Matthew Wolff still leads the way on 13-under after following up his stunning first-round 61 with a 68 while American Ryder Cup star Scottie Scheffler has surged into solo second on 11-under after a 64.

There are plenty still in it and they include pre-tournament favourite Justin Thomas, who jumped up to tied fifth on 9-under via a 65.

The cut fell at 4-under which meant an early exit for Shane Lowry (-2) and Brooks Koepka (Evs). A total of 70 players made it through on 3-under or better.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from El Camaleon after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

This is Wolff's first 36-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour.

Matthew Wolff has his first 36-hole lead
Matthew Wolff has his first 36-hole lead

Six of the 14 champions in this event were leading/tied for the lead after 36 holes so halfway pacesetters have a strong record.

Wolff has hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation in each of the first two rounds.

Scheffler is one of only two players who remain bogey-free through 36 holes. Bill Haas is the other.

Hovland would become the first player on the PGA Tour to successfully defend his title since Brooks Koepka at the 2019 PGA Championship.

The draw produced almost identical splits. Early/Late = 138.37, Late/Early = 138.42.

Best halfway bet

Every leader at this event has been in the top 11 at halfway which narrows the field down.

In addition, every winner here since 2014 ranked in the top 11 for Greens in Regulation and five of the last seven champions were 1st for Par 4 scoring.

Sergio Garcia is doing all the right things
Sergio Garcia is doing all the right things

Looking at the halfway numbers, Sergio Garcia is -4 on the Par 4s so far, just one shot worse than the six leaders in this category, while he's tied third for GIR.

Currently tied fifth on the leaderboard, he looks a value bet.

Quotes

Matthew Wolff (-13, 68)

"I had a couple bad breaks coming in. No. 16 just doesn't really set up well for me, not going to take driver there, and 3-wood kind of works away from the fairway.

"It was a hard finish, but I was really happy with how I played today. Felt like it was pretty difficult this afternoon, honestly. Wind started to swirl a little bit and pick up.

"Feel really confident with every part of my game."

Scottie Scheffler (-11, 64)

"I just kept the ball in play. I gave myself a lot of looks today. I don't think I missed very many greens, so that's really important around this place, just keep it in position.

"I feel like I burned a lot of edges the first couple days. Once those putts start falling a bit more, I think I'll start scoring a bit better."

Viktor Hovland (-10, 65)

"I played really solid. It was a very similar round to yesterday, I just felt like I hit it a hair bit closer to the hole and made a couple more putts, but I didn't really feel like I did anything extravagant out there.

"I'm hitting it really straight off the tee and was able to set up some really nice birdie looks with some good approaches."

Carlos Ortiz (-10, 65)

"It's a great round. I feel like I did everything pretty decent. When I missed the green, I think I chipped it pretty close.

"Putted great most of the day. I made some good putts and I hit it close, so I'm really pleased the way I played. I think I'm in a pretty good position for the weekend."

Bill Haas (-9, 68)

"The course demands accuracy off the tee and so far through two days I've been able to keep it in play, and when I didn't, I hit one in the hazard yesterday and I even saved par there.

"Just kind of gotten the best out of my rounds and happy to be playing well. It's been a while to give an interview after a round. Just happy to shoot some good scores, and it feels good out there, so hopefully I can do it two more days."

Sergio Garcia (-9, 69)

"Felt like I played okay, just gave myself a lot of 15-, 20-footers and nothing seemed like it wanted to go in today, but at least we birdied two of the last three holes.

"Definitely felt like it could have been at least a 5- or 6-under par round, but we missed just a couple and we hopefully play nicely on the weekend."

Abraham Ancer (-6, 68)

"Just good solid rounds, just haven't been able to take advantage of the ball-striking. I've hit it good enough to be, I don't know, maybe 9, 10 under, maybe even more, but that's just how it is.

"I haven't made enough putts. I'll be working on that so I can see a ball go in this weekend and maybe just make them in bunches."

Social

Wolff keeps it rolling, Brooks battle to make cut, Niemann's ball flight, weekend prep and Sergio's big plans...

Matt stays out in front

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Koepka chips in

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Niemann nails it straight

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Preparing for the weekend

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Sergio has an announcement

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READ MORE: Matthew Wolff thrashes 61 to take first-round lead

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