Halfway Hut at the BMW Championship: Bryson bashes a 60 but is he a good bet to win?

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at Caves Valley where Bryson DeChambeau tops the standings on 16-under.

Several times over the last couple of seasons it seemed Bryson DeChambeau was about to establish himself as the game's dominant force.

But despite highs such as his six-shot US Open win last October and impressive victory in March's Arnold Palmer Invitational, it hasn't happened.

Indeed, he came into this week's BMW Championship - the penultimate leg of the FedEx Cup Playoff series - with just one top 10 in his last nine starts.

There were signs though. Golf's biggest hitter opened the WGC-St. Jude Invitational earlier this month with rounds of 65-66-63 before a poor closer. And he added a 65 in round two at last week's Northern Trust.

Put him on a course playing soft with wide fairways and who knows what he might be capable of.

We found out at Caves Valley on Friday.

Bryson put on a sensational display in round two, playing his first 16 holes in a ridiculous 12-under after two eagles and eight birdies.

Two more birdies at 17 and 18 would match Jim Furyk's all-time PGA TOUR record round of 58. A birdie and a par would see him become just the 13th player to shoot a sub-60.

He had two great chances but missed a 15-footer at 17 and, more agonisingly, couldn't convert form six feet at the last.

With a score like that - 60 was his career best by two - you'd expect him to be clear of the field.

Well, not quite.

With the course yielding low scores, Patrick Cantlay threw in a 63 to finish just one back at -15.

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And, either side of a rain interruption which meant round two will have to be completed on Saturday morning (1.30pm UK time), Jon Rahm racked up five birdies and an eagle to advance his overnight joint-lead of 8-under to 15-under.

The Spaniard will have a 15-foot birdie at 16 to tie DeChambeau when play resumes.

It's three shots back to the chasing back but Rory McIlroy is now six adrift after only being able to follow his opening 64 (T1) with a 70.

Matt Cooper's decision to oppose Rory in a match bet by backing Sungjae Im at 2/1 paid off.

So should punters follow a similar strategy and oppose DeChambeau to come down from his high in round three?

It might not be the worst idea.

The last four times DeChambeau went low on a Friday to take the halfway lead, he followed a 63 with a 71 at the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship, a 64 with a 76 at the 2019 Safeway Open, a 62 with a 70 at the 2019 3M Open and a 64 with a 75 at the 2018 Heritage.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from Caves Valley after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

DeChambeau gained 6.788 strokes from Tee To Green in round two. He ranks 1st in that category after 36 holes. He's also 1st in SG: Off The Tee, 2nd in Approach and 5th in Putting.

Cantlay's putter continues to be red hot. He's gained 11.135 strokes so far, 6.037 in round one and 5.105 in round two. He's only 50th Tee To Green and has actually lost strokes to the field (-1.114).

Rahm, who has three holes still to complete, is ranked 2nd in SG: Putting but way behind Cantlay: the Spaniard has gained 5.965 strokes on the greens. He's also 5th Tee To Green.

Rahm, who won this event last year, has never defended a title on the PGA TOUR.

If he has a piece of the 36-hole lead, DeChambeau's record when topping the leaderboard at halfway is poor. He's managed to convert just once in nine tries across the PGA TOUR and European Tour, four times finishing runner-up.

Quotes

Here's what some of the leading players said after Friday's play:

Bryson DeChambeau (-16, 60)

"A lot of putts went in. A lot of things went right. We got a lot of great numbers out of the rough today, and I played my butt off and never thought too much about anything until the last few holes.

"I striped a 9-iron on 17, striped a drive, striped a wedge on 18 and just wasn't able to clutch those putts up.

"But I stroked it pretty well today, and going to go work on that a little bit and make sure I'm hitting it down my lines for this weekend so I have myself a chance to win."

Patrick Cantlay (-15, 63)

"I got the putter going on the back nine and made a bunch of birdies, and today I hit it better all the way through and also putted really well.

"Yeah, I thought I played great. 9-under, I'm very pleased, but obviously there was lower than that out there today."

Jon Rahm (-15, -7 after 15)

"Really good. It was very nice to come from the restart, and usually things can slow down, and played some great holes from 11 to 15 and have a birdie chance at 16.

"Too bad we can't finish today, but tomorrow being fresh greens in the morning and I think the restart not being too early, I think we're going to have plenty of time to rest tonight and then a little bit of time to rest before the restart. Looking forward to finishing strong. Hopefully I can make a birdie on one of the last three holes and have a good day tomorrow."

Sergio Garcia (-12, 67)

"I've been driving the ball very well, hitting my irons fairly well. Probably a little bit better yesterday than today. But a lot of good shots. Gave myself a lot of good looks, and if I can stay consistent with my putting and the way I've been striking it, anything can happen."

Rory McIlroy (-10, 70)

"Didn't get off to quite as good a start as I did yesterday. I didn't build the momentum early on in the round like I had yesterday. I three-putted the fourth hole for par, bogeyed the fifth hole, and I bounced back well after that. But those are really holes that you're looking to birdie, and to play those two holes in 1-over, I felt like I was always just playing catch-up from there.

"I played okay on the way in, I just wasn't as efficient with my scoring. I drove the ball just as well today as I did yesterday, and I gave myself plenty of chances, I just didn't convert quite as many."

Social

Bryson's putt for a 59, Rahm giving chase, Cantlay throws a dart and the Im/Horschel double act...

Bryson sets up a golden chance to shoot 59

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But the putt stays out!

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Rahm steps up chase

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Cantlay on the money

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Perfect symmetry for Im and Horschel

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READ MORE: Rory McIlroy rediscovers his drive at the BMW Championship

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