Seamus Power produced another superb driving performance to roar into contention for his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
The West Waterford man (33) followed his opening 67 with a six-under 66 to share the early clubhouse lead with Matthew Wolff (64), Mark Hubbard (66) and Bryson DeChambeau (67) on 11-under par at Detroit Golf Club.
Driving accuracy, not power, has been a problem area for the Tooraneena man in recent seasons but he was superb from the tee for the second day in a row, hitting 11 drives over 300 yards and finding 10 of 14 fairways in regulation.
As he signed his card, he was ranked second for strokes gained from the tee — a statistic for which is lies 186th on the PGA Tour this season having finished T154th in 2019, 96th in 2018 and T123rd three years ago.
Starting on the front nine at Detroit Golf Club, two strokes behind the overnight leaders Doc Redman, Scott Stallings and Kevin Kisner, he hit drives over 300 yards on the first three holes and picked up two shots.
After rolling in a 46 footer at the second, he reduced the 382-yard third to a 338-yard drive, a 44-yard pitch and four-foot putt and was off and running.
“Im pleased with it,” Power said. “I didn't quite have my A-game, I guess, but I was able to manage it pretty well and then hit some good shots at kind of the right time so overall pretty pleased.
“Got a nice kind of long putt on No. 2 to get going and that kind of settled me down a little bit and was able to go on from there.”
While he failed to birdie the 634-yard fourth, he made a good eight-footer for par after missing the green at the short fifth, then got up and down from thick rough at the par-five seventh for birdie to go eight-under for the tournament.
Out in 33, he hit a wedge to 10 feet at the 10th to set up his fourth birdie of the day and repeated the trick at the 13th before two-putting the 569-yard 14th to go six-under for his round.
Seamus Power. Photo by Golffile
After saving another good par from seven feet at the 16th after overshooting the green, he missed a chance from 10 feet at the par-five 17th and another from 15 feet at the last but could be happy with another good day’s work.
Playing out of the 126-150 category this season, a top finish could open many doors.
“I knew I liked the golf course as soon as I got here last year, so I was kind of keeping that in mind more than how I played last year.,” added Power, who missed the cut in Detroit last season.
“You know, it's a course, if you can drive it well, you're going to have plenty of chances, you can reach some par 5s, you have some wedges. So that was kind of a big focus on Tuesday, Wednesday, trying to make sure the driver's in as good a spot as possible. “
Asked when he considers this his peak time of season, he said: “I think normally, but obviously with what's happened in the last whatever, four, five months, I think that's kind of thrown things out the window.
“You know, last few years I haven't played the west coast particularly well, so, I mean, in the summertime I kind of usually play some of my best golf for whatever reason. I probably putt better on bent greens, to be honest, and just growing up we didn't have a lot of grain in the grass and that sort of thing, so that's just one more variable that we don't have.
“But, you know, with everything that's happened, I think it's just for me right now, I'm just delighted to be playing, so I'm just trying to relax and enjoy it. “
Power said after his opening round that he would try to freewheel and not focus on what a good week might mean.
” I think so,” said the Waterford man, who Now has Corkman Simon Keelan on his bag. “Knowing, especially on a course like this, you saw the scores last year, knowing you've got to get to 20 under and knowing that you've got to stay aggressive and you've got to kind of let things go and you've got to make some putts.
“So kind of knowing that from the get-go rather than last year when you come in here and you're, you know, not quite sure what the scoring's going to be. I think that and the combination of yeah, this is my first start for a while, so I'm trying to enjoy it a little bit more.”
Being aggressive, he conceded, suits his mindset.
”It probably does. You know, I probably rate myself as a pretty good course manager. You just have to kind of pick your spots. But the advantage I have, first two rounds that I've been driving it well, so I give myself more opportunities to be aggressive.“