Justin Suh grabbed a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens with a birdie on the final hole giving him a six-under-par round of 64.
Fellow American Chris Kirk was a shot behind after producing the round of the day with an eight-under 62, one short of equalling the course record at PGA National.
Ryan Gerard and England’s Ben Taylor were both two strokes behind Suh on eight under for the tournament.
South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli is on four under after a second-round 65 that included seven birdies and two bogies.
The 25-year-old Suh is in his first full season on the PGA Tour after enjoying an outstanding year on the secondary Korn Ferry Tour, where he finished top of the season points race.
The Californian got off to a shaky start with a bogey on the par-four 2nd hole after he missed a four-foot putt.
But he put together a run of four straight birdies from the 8th hole onwards and crowned a fine round with a superb third shot on the 18th, which he landed seven feet from the hole.
“I think we played it pretty conservative, but aggressive to our spots. We definitely left ourselves some opportunities, but I thought we just hit it to the right spots on the green,” Suh said.
“We made some long lag putts that fortunately just went in, and that’s always a key to some good weeks, so hopefully we just keep it rolling,” he added.
Kirk played positive, attacking golf and was rewarded with an eagle on the par-five 3rd hole, where he blasted his second shot 247 yards to just under 20 feet from the hole.
The 37-year-old produced four birdies on the back nine but with a sub-60 score entering the possibilities, he had to settle for pars on the final three holes.
A birdie on the 18th would have equalled the record low round of 61 set by Brian Harman in 2012 and equalled by Australian Matt Jones two years ago, but Kirk missed a 14-foot putt.
“It was a bummer not to make it. I felt like I deserved the birdie at 18 after hitting such a great wedge, but I misread the putt. I definitely won’t let that put a damper on a really good day,” he said.
Kirk is looking for his fifth win on the tour and first since his victory at Colonial in 2015 but if he can maintain the form he showed on Friday he will have a real chance.
“It was definitely conditions that lent themselves to being able to be a little bit more aggressive, being able to dial in, kind of carry distances and stuff like that with irons and wedges better,” he said.
“Usually we’re playing for 15, 20 plus yards of hurt going into the wind shots … but today there was hardly a breath most of the round and so it became a little bit more target practice.”
Gerard, who made it into the tournament through an open qualifying playoff on Tuesday, also eagled the 3rd as he made an impressive 63 in just his second start on the PGA Tour.
© Agence France-Presse