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It’s tight at the top. But isn’t that what you expected?

There’s a crowded leaderboard at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a four-way tie for first at 12-under par between Patrick Cantlay, Lucas Glover, Kevin Na and Brian Studart with Matt Jones a shot back and five others just two behind.

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The lead quartet excelled at keeping the ball in play and limiting their mistakes at TPC Summerlin. Na, the 2011 champ, closed with a flourish, finishing his best-of-day round of 62 going eagle-birdie-birdie to earn him a share of the lead.
“My putter got really hot,” said Na, who teed off in the afternoon. “It started with the first hole, made a 60-footer bomb, and my putter just felt good all day. I was reading the greens really well and I was rolling it right where I was looking, and they were falling.”
Despite the winds picking up from Thursday’s opening round, the morning groups fared well. Cantlay, who won here two years ago and was last year’s runner-up, shot a 7-under 64 to go to the top of the leaderboard and join Stuard, who carded a 65 for the second straight day, at 12-under.
“I’ve driven the ball really well this week,” Cantlay said. “I haven’t capitalized all the time but I’ve played so solid and I really feel comfortable around here.
“I think a big part of playing this golf course well is hitting driver a lot. I hit driver a lot out here when other guys might lay up. It’s worked.”
Studard, whose lone victory on Tour came in 2016 at New Orleans, said it’s a matter of being patient.
“I think it’s just knowing that you’ve been here so many times, played so many tournaments, you know what to expect, what to feel,” he said. “I just try to be as patient as possible and let it happen.” 
Jones posted a 8-under, bogey-free 63, the morning’s best round and at 11-under, was in good shape heading into Saturday’s third round.
“You have to make birdies on the par-5s,” said Jones, who has birdied all three par-5s two consecutive days. “Then you have to have some good shots on the par-3s. There are some tough par-3s out there too.”
Former UNLV standout Ryan Moore, who won the Shriners Open in 2012, improved five shots from round one to round two, shooting a 7-under par 64 and is 9-under heading into Saturday. Another former Rebel, Adam Scott, is also 9-under.
For the tournament, there was good news as crowd favorite Phil Mickelson made the cut. Despite never really finding a rhythm, Mickelson managed to survive and his 2-under 69 was good enough to get him to 8-under going into the third round.
The Koepka family will also be represented this weekend. But it will be Chase, not Brooks, who will be playing TPC Summerlin. Chase shot a 69 and is 7-under for the tournament. Older brother Brooks missed the cut after his even par 71 left him at 1-under for the first two rounds.
For those who will continue on this weekend, the goal is simple — keep making birdies.
“You know the scores are going to be low,” Na said. “The greens are getting firmer, and that’s the only protection they’ve got.” 

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About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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