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HOMA ON FIRE | American entry shoots course record 62

OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 18: Max Homa of the United States plays a shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club on August 18, 2023 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael Reaves / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

OLYMPIA FIELDS (AFP)–Seventh-ranked Max Homa set a course record with an eight-under par 62 to seize a two-stroke lead after Friday’s second round of the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, the penultimate FedEx Cup playoff event.

The 32-year-old American made 10 birdies against two bogeys at Olympia Fields in suburban Chicago to break the old mark of 63 shared by Fiji’s Vijay Singh and American Rickie Fowler.

“It was fun. It was pretty cool,” Homa said. “It’s rare you get to kind of just point and shoot but that’s what it felt like.

“I was putting uphill a lot, I made a couple sidewinders, just kind of did everything well, so it was a very fun day.”

Homa matched his career-low PGA round from last year’s Tour Championship to stand on 10-under 130 after 36 holes, two better than compatriot Chris Kirk with England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, the 2022 US Open champion, and American Brian Harman, last month’s British Open winner, sharing third on 133.

“I know 36 holes is a long way to go but at the same time I’m going to enjoy what I did today,” Homa said. “I’m going to take with me that I’m playing some very good golf.”

In addition to a $3.6 million top prize, 50 players seek a top-30 spot in season points to qualify for next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Homa, who won his sixth career PGA title at Torrey Pines in January, missed only two greens and four fairways, making six birdies in eight holes on the back nine before a closing par.

“I birdied most of the holes on the back nine, and that was quite a nice feeling,” Homa said. “I holed a lot of putts, which you have to do to make 10 birdies, but I was very proud of how I drove it. I felt like I was able to attack all day.”

The course was still soft from rains earlier this week, allowing Homa to be aggressive with receptive greens and fairways.

“Greens are still really soft, so being in the fairway as often as I was, it felt like I was able to be aggressive when I wanted,” Homa said.

“The tee ball set up everything. It was a major bonus to make as many putts as I did.”

Homa sank a five-foot birdie putt at the par-5 first hole, a 10-footer at the fourth and a birdie putt from inside three feet at the fifth. He birdied from just inside 10 feet at seven after finding a fairway bunker but made bogey at the par-3 eighth.

His sizzling putter sparked a back-nine charge that included five birdies in the first six holes — on a 13-foot putt at 10, a 22-foot putt at 11, an 18-foot putt at the par-3 13th, a 13-footer at 14 to seize the solo lead and a six-footer at the par-5 15th to reach 10-under.

Homa missed the green and a 14-foot par putt to bogey the par-3 16th, then answered by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at 17.

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