At the conclusion of Friday's play at the Valero Texas Open it was Patrick Rodgers leading the field by three strokes, although many are yet to complete their second round.

Rodgers, 30, has never won on the PGA Tour, and has had an up-and-down season up until this point. While he has two top-10s, and a top-15 at the Phoenix Open, he also came into this event with six missed cuts from his past eight starts.

His six-under 66 was one of the best scores from the opening round, and he followed it with a five-under 67 after birdieing five of his last six holes to race out to a healthy lead.

In a tie for second is Canada's Corey Conners, who would be disappointed to shoot even par after his eight-under start. Joining him at eight under is Mexico's Roberto Diaz, who will have his sights set even higher as he was only through 10 holes in his second round before darkness halted play.

American duo Michael Thompson and Brendon Todd (through 15) are at seven under in a tie for fourth, while Belgium's Thomas Detry is joined by veteran Matt Kuchar and rising talent Eric Cole at six under.

Recent winner of The Honda Classic, Chris Kirk, is part of the logjam at five under rounding out the top 10, and Rickie Fowler has finished right on the projected cut-line at one under.

After 179 starts and nearly eight years since his last victory on the PGA Tour, Chris Kirk survived finding the water on 18 to beat rookie Eric Cole in a playoff for the Honda Classic.

Kirk came into Sunday with a two-stroke lead, and after a two-under front nine he was enjoying a gap on the rest of the field. 

Cole was not flawless, but his work on the greens was exceptional, with 11 one-putts through the first 15 holes to keep the pressure on Kirk as he tried to become the first rookie winner this season.

Paired together, the duo reached the final hole with Kirk ahead by one, but after a perfect tee shot he went for the par-five green in two, coming up just short and finding the water.

It left the door wide open for Cole, who could have stolen the win with a birdie, but his approach found the bunker, and he could only salvage a par. Meanwhile, Kirk made bogey, setting them up to replay the 18th for the playoff.

This time Kirk's tee shot nestled in right behind a tree trunk, forcing him to play conservative and lay-up, while Cole went for it in two and was long into the bunker.

Kirk's approach was the tournament winner, spinning it into range for a tap-in birdie, and while Cole got out of the bunker and gave himself a makeable birdie putt, it tragically lipped out to hand Kirk the win.

Speaking after stepping off the final green, Kirk reflected on his journey the past few years, having temporarily stepped away from the game in 2019 to deal with alcohol and depression issues.

"I can't yet [describe it]," he said. "I just have so much to be thankful for. I'm so grateful for my sobriety, I'm so grateful for my family, I'm so grateful for everyone who has supported me throughout the past three or four years especially.

"I definitely did [draw on recent top-three finishes]. I was obviously very, very nervous today, having not won in so long. 

"Going down the stretch I felt good, obviously that putt on 16 was huge. I was in a great position on 18, but just made a bad swing at the wrong time. 

"I was just trying to stay aggressive and hit it in the middle of the green, but you know, in hindsight it probably would have been better to hit it over to the left somewhere – but thank god it worked out."

For the win, Kirk took home $1.5million, while Cole's consolation prize of $915,000 will soften the blow.

Chris Kirk will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Honda Classic after carding a 66 on Saturday to close in on his first PGA Tour title in eight years. 

The American, who claimed the last of his four top-tier triumphs back in 2015, leads a field that is devoid of any of the world's top-17 golfers.

His nearest rival is world number 330 Eric Cole, while playing partner and overnight leader Justin Suh is three strokes back after signing for an even-par 70.

Kirk, fresh from a stunning second-round 62, birdied the 17th and 18th to take charge at PGA National, although at least one household name is in the hunt.

World number 20 and 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry put himself firmly in the mix with a 65 that leaves him with a four-stroke deficit to overcome on Sunday. 

And the Irishman is playing with added motivation as he seeks to pay a fitting tribute to his uncle Jimmy Lowry, who died on Thursday.

"It's a very sad week for our family," he said. "To be honest, I wanted to go home on Thursday when I heard the news. A lot of people talked me out of it.

"I'm here now. I'm trying to play for him and play for his wife and his kids and my cousins and my uncles and my aunts and everyone at home because we're a very close family and very proud of our name and very proud of where we come from."

Reigning Korn Ferry Tour Championship winner Justin Suh has a chance to win his first PGA Tour event after finishing Friday's second round of the Honda Classic with the outright lead.

Suh, 25, produced a near-perfect campaign last season on the Korn Ferry Tour, finishing number one overall in points, winning the Tour Championship and being voted the tour's Player of the Year.

He has made the cut in eight of his 11 events to start his PGA Tour career, and after collecting his first top-20 in January's Farmers Insurance Open, he is looking to break through in a big way.

After his opening 66 at PGA National, Suh followed it up with a six-under 64 to reach 10 under overall and take a one-stroke lead into the weekend.

Alone in second place is Chris Kirk, who sits one shot back at nine under after posting a 62 for Friday's round of the day.

England's Ben Taylor is joined by American Monday qualifier Ryan Gerard in a tie for third at eight under, while the trio of Ben Martin, Eric Cole and Brice Garnett round out the top-five at seven under.

After finishing the opening round tied for the lead, both Billy Horschel and Joseph Bramlett fell back into a tie for 28th, following their 65s with a pair of 73s.

With none of the world's top-17 golfers in the field, world number 20 Shane Lowry will feel he still has a chance from his position at four under, tied for 16th, while 18th-ranked Im Sung-jae is at two under.

Hayden Buckley finished the third day at the Sony Open in Hawaii with an eagle to claim a two-stroke lead from David Lipsky, Ben Taylor and Chris Kirk on Saturday.

Buckley carded a six-under-par round of 64 to be 15-under overall, managing two eagles on the third day along with three birdies and a bogey at Waialae Country Club.

The American sunk a 28-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole, before he moved into the lead buoyed by an excellent back nine where he nailed a 133-yard hole-out eagle on the 10th hole along with another on the 18th aided by a pinpoint approach.

Halfway leader Kirk slipped after a third-day 68 which started with a double bogey on the first hole, although he expertly produced a hole-out birdie from the bunker on the 14th to stay in contention.

Lipsky had an up-and-down round that included seven birdies and three bogeys, while Englishman Taylor birdied four of his final six holes to be tied for second at 13 under.

Andrew Putnam shared the round of the day with Nick Taylor, both carding eight-under-par rounds of 62, with the former moving to 12-under overall.

Putnam, who managed a career-high 10 birdies, is tied with Si Woo Kim, who had a strong third round with seven birdies in his 64.

Will Gordon and Nate Lashley are a further shot back at 11 under, while J.J. Spaun's third-round 71 saw him drop to well off the pace and nine under.

Two-time major winner Hideki Matsuyama enjoyed his best round at the Sony Open with a 65, leaving him at eight-under overall.

Chris Kirk is alone atop the leaderboard at 11 under following Friday's second round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Kirk was in a three-way tie for the lead after shooting a six-under 64 on Thursday, and he followed it up with a 65 in his second trip around Waialae Country Club.

He began his round in blistering fashion, collecting birdies on each of the first three holes to put himself in a commanding position, and he finished with a birdie on the 18th.

J.J. Spaun looked a sure thing to finish the day tied with Kirk at 11 under as he reached his final hole – the par-five ninth – with a share of the lead.

Despite it playing as the easiest hole on the course, Spaun found the water, resulting in his first bogey of the week to head into the weekend at 10 under.

Spaun is tied for second with American compatriot Taylor Montgomery, while Hayden Buckley and David Lipsky are at nine under to round out the top-five.

England's Ben Taylor is part of the three-man group at eight under, Germany's Stephan Jaeger is at seven under, Kim Si-woo is at six under and former Masters champion Adam Scott headlines the group at five under.

Hideki Matsuyama finished the day two strokes inside the cut-line at three under, while joint first-round leader Jordan Spieth imploded for a five-over 75 to miss the cut at one under.

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