A little adversity did Hudson Swafford no harm on Friday, as the American shook off a hornet sting at his second hole to card a five-under par 67 and take a two-shot lead in the PGA Tour Corales Puntacana Championship.
Swafford, who started the day in a four-way tie for the lead, said a “little hornet” stung him as he grabbed a club on the tee box of No. 11 at the Corales Puntacana resort in the Dominican Republic.
“Right in the joint of my pinky,” he said. “It started swelling up, so I was just kind of rubbing ice on it after tee shots for the first five, six holes on the back side.”
Despite “some chaos the first few holes,” Swafford said the mishap might have even helped.
“I guess it kind of just cleared my mind of the golf thing and just let me focus on something else,” said the 33-year-old American, playing on a medical extension in search of a second US PGA Tour title to go with his 2017 victory at La Quinta, California.
Swafford had two birdies in his first nine holes. After sandwiching two birdies between to bogeys after the turn he closed fast with birdies at the seventh, eighth and ninth holes.
His 36-hole total of 132 put him two strokes clear of Luke List, Justin Suh and Sean O’Hair.
List fired seven birdies in his seven-under 65 to reach 10-under while O’Hair and Suh both had five birdies without a bogey in their 67s.
“I really was in control of the golf ball today, which was nice,” List said. “I hit it everywhere yesterday, so made a little adjustment … hopefully (I will) keep the ball-striking up for the weekend.”
Swafford said wind was a factor on his inward run, making the generous fairways feel a little tighter.
Apart from a mistake at the fifth, where he made his second bogey of the day, “I honestly played pretty good,” Swafford said.
“I gave myself a lot of chances, that’s all that we were trying to do because I feel like I’m rolling it good, I feel like I’m seeing lines pretty good, so just trying to get on the green as fast as possible.”
Heat and humidity were also a challenge Friday, with the PGA Tour announcing that Robert Garrigus had withdrawn during the round with heat exhaustion.
The halfway cut came at three-under par. Those who didn’t make it included defending champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who had a bogey and a double-bogey in a one-over 73 that left him two outside the cut line.