Puig, three others lead crowded field at LIV Houston

golf09 June 2024 07:00| © Reuters

Spain's David Puig fired a 6-under 66 on Saturday to move 12 spots up the leaderboard and grab a share of the lead after two rounds of action at LIV Golf Houston.

Puig caught fire on the back nine, rattling off five birdies from Nos. 11-17. He finished with seven birdies against just one bogey and sits at 10-under 134 through 36 holes, good for a four-way tie for first with Englishman Paul Casey (67 on Saturday), Carlos Ortiz of Mexico (68) and Poland's Adrian Meronk (69).

Puig is searching for his first win on the LIV tour.

"I know I'm still young, obviously, but I put a lot of hours (in) already in my short career, and just seeing that the results start coming, especially on this tour where I still haven't played that good," Puig said. "I think I played pretty good in Asia and maybe some qualifiers for the majors, but I still didn't play as good as I wanted here on LIV, and it's good that the scores are coming."

Of the four co-leaders, Meronk is the only one who entered the second round in first. Casey shot five spots up the leaderboard and Ortiz rose three, and despite the potential for a tight finish on Sunday, Puig's main focus is his own performance.

"Obviously when there's a lot of names on top, you can't imagine all the scenarios, but at the end of the day you need to play your best golf and give it a shot," Puig said. "Hopefully it's good enough to beat all the other guys."

Casey finished with six birdies and one bogey on Sunday, while Ortiz collected five and one, respectively. Four of Ortiz's birdies came in succession at Nos. 10-13, with the other coming at the par-5 eighth.

Houston has been kind to Ortiz, who won the PGA Tour's Vivint Houston Open on November 8, 2020.

"I don't think it really matters if you've won here or not. I really like Texas," Ortiz said. "I guess I'm used to this weather, too. I just feel comfortable playing here. I like the golf course and the people. I guess maybe that's the confidence."

Meronk got off to a slow start, settling for a pair of bogeys through his first five holes. But he cruised from there, pairing four birdies with nine pars to close his round.

Patrick Reed carded a 68 on Saturday and is in sole possession of fifth, one shot off the lead. Matthew Wolff (67) and Chilean Joaquin Niemann (69) are T6, while Germany's Martin Keymer, one of the three first-round co-leaders, slipped into a five-man logjam at eighth with a second-round 72.

Caleb Surratt was also tied for first after Friday's action, but his 4-over 76 on Saturday now has him at T28.

At 26 under, Fireballs GC sit in first in team competition. Torque GC is four strokes behind in second ahead of a three-way tie for third.