RSM Classic Halfway Hut: Talor Gooch battles gusts to lead at Sea Island

News, stats, quotes and social after 36 holes in Georgia where the American holds a one-shot lead.

Once again at a PGA Tour event, Talor Gooch is being asked if this is the week when he gets his first win.

To be fair, it's not a bad question to keep hearing midway through a tournament.

By definition it means you've made a bright start and are in contention for victory.

Gooch is in that position after shooting rounds of 64-65 to hit 13-under. The first came on the Plantation Course while Friday's 5-under 65 was constructed on the Seaside Course, the venue which will stage both weekend rounds.

His tally of 129 is one better than John Huh and two clear of Sebastian Munoz on what is a rather surprising halfway leaderboard.

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Gooch turned 30 last Sunday and this is his 104th PGA Tour start.

There's still a zero in the wins column but he's fast becoming a regular presence on leaderboards.

So far this season Gooch has finished fourth at the Fortinet Championship and fifth at the CJ Cup.

Between those top fives, he was sixth at halfway of the Shriners and second after 36 holes of last week's event at Mayakoba in Mexico. He finished tied 11th in both.

"What do you think has held you back from winning so far?" he was asked, somewhat bluntly after Friday's play.

Gooch gave a considered response: "Man, just timing. I mean, guys like Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth and all these guys that have won early and won often, they've kind of put an expectation on a different level than what I think the average golfer understands out here.

"I know I'm going to win, I know I'm going to compete a lot and it's just a matter of when it's my time.

"I think in Mayakoba when I had been either final group or near the final group in the last few years, I think that's the first time I had shot over par.

"I think my second year on Tour at Palm Springs I shot a bogey-free like 63 or 64 when I was one or two groups back from the final group.

"Last year at Shadow I was final group, shot a bogey-free 67. It's like I've been in that position enough where I've played really well, and then all of a sudden you have one off day and people kind of start thinking about - it's just the game, man.

"There's times where it's going to go your way and there's times where it's not. Like I said, I'm going to keep working, I'm going to keep getting ready so when it's my time, I'm going to take it and run with it."

So, is this the week?

After 36 holes, the bookies think so. PlanetSportBet make him clear favourite ahead of 8/1 Munoz and Mackenzie Hughes.

Pre-tournament favourites, Scottie Scheffler and Webb Simpson, are both seven back in tied 30th, their odds drifting to 40/1 and 50/1 respectively.

Stats

Gooch ranks 11th for Greens in Regulation so far and 23rd in Putts Per GIR.

Strokes Gained stats are only recorded at the Seaside Course. Gooch ranked 4th for SG: Tee To Green and 8th in SG: Putting in his Friday round there.

The windy conditions on Friday produced a dramatic contrast in scoring.

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Zach Johnson hit all 18 greens in his first-round 61 at the Seaside Course. He'll be happy to go back there on the weekend after only managing a 71 at the Plantation.

Luke List ranks 1st for Greens In Regulation after 36 holes. He's T15 on the leaderboard after moving up 40 spots on day two.

Best bet

Local resident Zach Johnson will start the weekend in tied sixth and just three off the lead.

After grinding out a 1-under at the windy Plantation on Friday, he can kick on again this weekend on the course (Seaside) where he shot 9-under on day one.

He's finished in the top eight here in three of the last four seasons so looks a good each-way bet (1/5 1-2-3-4-5) to challenge again.

Quotes

Here's what some of the leaders said after day two...

Talor Gooch (-13, 65)

"Obviously I'm playing well, but I think my game has made a turn for some good stuff in some ways. And I've been working my butt off for years, but especially the last six, eight months with driving the ball and working my butt off with putting.

"For my game, if I can get in the fairway, as simple as it sounds, if I can get in the fairway, it's just a matter of how many putts I'm going to make. Hopefully we can keep making putts and see if we can do some good this weekend.

"Growing up in Oklahoma, you just, you feel like you have a little bit of advantage when it comes to the windy conditions."

John Huh (-12, 67)

"Overall I made six birdies (at Plantation), which is good with this tough condition. I think the PGA Tour officials did really well with the setting up of the golf course with it being this windy. Look forward to Seaside tomorrow."

Sebastian Munoz (-12, 70)

"I felt real good about my round. I didn't expect the wind that hard.

"I felt like it was really important for me to birdie No. 11 and No. 13 because it wasn't going to play easy, and it just kind of got me in a good mental state being like 1 under most throughout the day and finish it with another birdie and finish at 2-under 70.

"Ten strokes worse than yesterday, but it felt really good."

Mackenzie Hughes (11, 68)

"It was a good day. The conditions were pretty tough, so felt like under par was going to be a pretty good effort.

"Yeah, was in control of the ball for the most part. Made kind of a bad bogey on the first hole, I three-putted, but was steady after that. Yeah, pleased overall. I left some putts out there I would have liked to have made, but it was very difficult to putt with the wind the way it was."

Zach Johnson (-10, 71)

"My round was really good. I hit a lot of solid shots, some panned out, some did not. I think when you have winds and gusts of this nature, that's gonna happen.

"There's a couple times, I can think of three shots right off the top of my head, where my caddie said "great shot" and two times where my playing partners said "great shot" and I'm trying to make a par. That's hard, but it's the nature of the beast right now.

"The only commonality between yesterday and today was that we played 18 holes. It was vastly different, but that's a cool thing, too. It's a cool thing about golf and these conditions."

Social

Hole-in-one alert!

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Crazy par from McCumber

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Scott's perfect read

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Curtis Thompson lives up to his Twitter handle

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