Halfway hut at the Honda Classic: A Wise move as Lowry lurks

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes of the 2021 Honda Classic in Florida

Seven of the last eight editions of The Honda Classic have been won with single digits under par.

But after 36 holes of this year's event, Aaron Wise has already hit 12-under thanks to a pair of 6-under 64s.

Not surprisingly, it's the lowest halfway score since the tournament moved to PGA National in 2007. And that tally of 128 is good enough for a three-shot lead.

His closest pursuers are an Aussie and another American. First-round leader Matt Jones could only add an even-par 70 to the scintiallating 61 that had put him in front on Thursday while Brandon Hagy also reached 9-under thanks to Friday's lowest score, a 62.

Sam Ryder is solo fourth after a 63 while a five-man bunch at 7-under - five back - includes Open champion Shane Lowry and 2014 Honda winner Russell Henley.

Lowry stepped up his challenge with a hole-out for eagle on the 18th.

Leader Wise, a 24-year-old American who moved to the United States from South Africa as a three-year-old, is leading a PGA TOUR event for the first time at the 36-hole mark.

But he does already have a PGA TOUR win and a Web.com win under his belt.

And just look at how he started those two events: Wise opened 65-63 to win the AT&T Byron Nelson in 2018 and flew out of the gate with back-to-back 62s when landing the second tier's Air Capital Classic in 2017.

In other words, when Wise hits the gas early, watch out!

With that three-shot lead, he heads the latest betting.

Paddy Power odds after 36 holes: 9/4 Wise, 6/1 Jones, 7/1 Lowry, 10/1 Henley, 16/1 Hagy, 22/1 Ryder.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from PGA National as we head into the weekend.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats

Wise has fuelled his fast opening with all-round excellence.

He's ranked 10th in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, 3rd in SG: Approach, 19th Around The Green, 4th in Putting and 2nd Tee to Green.

His scorecard shows 13 birdies and two eagles (18 and 3), both in round two.

To show how scoring has been easier than expected so far, there have been eight rounds of 64 or better to this point. That beats the previous best tally through 36 holes at PGA National of five.

Four second-round leaders have gone on to win the tournament since this event switched to its current venue.

They were Keith Mitchell (2019), Padraig Harrington (2015), Camilo Villegas (2010) and YE Yang (2009).

Three of those were tied for the lead while Harrington led by one. Wise's three-shot advantage is unprecedented at PGA National as no-one has ever been in front by more than a single stroke.

As the odds suggest, he's very much the man to beat.

Let's also let out a roar of approval for Chase Koepka.

It's normally brother Brooks Koepka who gets all the attention. But in round two, Chase became just the 10th player since 2007 to birdie all three holes (15, 16 and 17) of the fearsome Bear Trap in a single round.

Quotes

Aaron Wise on holing 230 feet of putts over the first two days

"We have been working on things for a while and the stroke felt really good. Obviously the putter change might have just clicked it into the next gear. But overall my technique's felt good for a while. It was just finding a putter that suited my eye and I felt comfortable with and so far it's been working great."

Brandon Hagy on shooting 62 and why there are so many low scores so far

"I think there are some birdie holes, so you take advantage of those and then you play the right shot on the tough holes. This is the type of course where, sure, one bad swing in the wrong spot you can make a big number, but you just got to know where to miss it on some of these holes and then the good shots are going to get rewarded, if you plan it out correctly."

Matt Jones on only managing a 70 after his blistering first-round 61

"It's always tough to follow up a really good round. Just, I hit it well, warmed up well, and my goal was just to give myself as many chances at birdie as I could. I had plenty. I had a few out there today that I didn't make, but I had a good day and I'm happy where I am."

Shane Lowry on looking forward to the weekend challenge

"I think it's going to be tougher conditions tomorrow, so, yeah, I'm looking forward to that. It's going to be tough. Look, this golf course is funny, like it's, you play great, you shoot a great score, but if your game's off a little bit it can really jump up and bite you. So there's quite a few disasters waiting to happen out there and you just need to hit your bad shots at the right time and manage your way around the golf course well. And that's what I like."

Rickie Fowler on seeing improvements in his game

" I know we're getting close and the last two days were good. This is a golf course that tests all parts of the game, so I'm happy: 70, 68 is not terrible around this place. Like I said, I know it could have been better, but we got a tee time tomorrow and see if we can go put some good numbers up this weekend and give ourselves a chance."

Chase Koepka on making birdie at all three Bear Trap holes

"Couple good shots and a lot of luck."

Lee Westwood on shooting 78 and missing the cut

"I think we both know that this was probably a tournament too far for me, after the run I've had the last two weeks (runner-up at Bay Hill and Sawgrass). But I felt like I should play here this week. But in an ideal world this would have been a week off after finishing second the last two weeks. What can you do? Just felt like one I had to play. Kind of glazed over out there I was so tired."

Social

Wesley Bryan gets stripped for action, Zach Johnson gets a water break, Phil Mickelson does lots of Phil things and Shane Lowry's walk-off eagle:

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Sam Ryder shines on the Bear Trap:

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Steve Stricker so close to a hole-in-one:

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Rickie Fowler's surprise:

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READ MORE: Every day's a school day for Open champion Shane Lowry

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