NAPLES, Fla – Matt Kuchar and Harris English took a five-stroke lead on Saturday in the QBE Shootout, starting and finishing with long birdie runs for an 11-under 61 in modified alternate play.
“I think our games fit this format really well,” English said. “He does a lot of things I’m not good at and maybe I do things he’s not good at. It’s just fun. It is very relaxing there.
Kuchar and English birdied the first five holes on the Gold Tiburon Golf Club course, then ran six in a row over the No.12-17s. They had a total of 25 under 125 after the 12-team event opened on Friday with a 58 in scramble format. The final round will be a better ball.
“There is still a need to do a lot of birds,” Kuchar said. “I think this better ball format, the guys are going to shoot low scores. Whatever the trail, the pars won’t help much. We still have to make a bunch of birds tomorrow to try to protect the head.
First-round leaders Kevin Na and Sean O’Hair at 56, finished second after a 68.
“Alternate shooting is a tough format,” Na said. “I don’t know what those leading guys played, but we were saying anything better than 5 under was a good score. We haven’t hit our minimum, but it’s difficult.
The all-rookie team of Lanto Griffin and Mackenzie Hughes also shot 68 to tie Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen (66) at 18 under.