DUBLIN, Ohio — Joaquin Niemann followed his first-round 65 with a second-round 68 to stay on top of the leaderboard at the Memorial Tournament.
The 19-year-old from Chile, is tied with Kyle Stanley at 11-under with Byeong Hun An two shots back in third and five golfers sitting at 8 under.
Niemann, making only his fifth professional start, kept a share of the lead despite a round that had three bogies. But he offset those bogeys by sinking by seven birdies.
He was also one of the golfers caught up in a weather delay that had him out on the course until almost 8 p.m.
“It’s been a really long day, but, yeah it feels really nice to be on the top of the leaderboard,” Niemann said.
Stanley had eight birdies and a pair of bogies at the Muirfield Village course to shoot a 66 Friday and move to the top of the leaderboard. He said he needs to stay out of the rough this weekend to have a chance on Sunday.
“I think the key is just hit a lot of fairways and try to hit your second shots out of the fairway,” he said.
An credited a bogey-free round Friday to better play off the tee. “My driver was in better shape, that’s why I shot bogey-free, that’s for sure,” he said.
First-round co-leader Abraham Ancer shot a 75 Friday and sits at 4-under while Hideki Matsuyama, who also led after the first round, shot his second round of 68 and is part of the group at 8-under.
“I hit a lot of fairways, but I didn’t putt very well today,” Matsuyama said. “I hit a lot of fairways today and I’m very satisfied with that.”
Jason Day, who owns a home and is a member at Muirfield Village, is also part of the group at 8-under. Day, who’s best finish at the Memorial was a tie for 15th last year, has already won twice on tour this year.
“I haven’t had great finishes here, so the expectation of me playing is a little bit different this year. I’m here to win,” he said. “I just feel a little bit different this year. My game feels a little bit different. My short game’s where it needs to be and it’s kind of shown over the last two days.”
Among the notables who missed the cut — which was anyone over par — are 2017 champion Jason Dufner (+4), Jordan Spieth (+3) and past Memorial champions Kenny Perry (+1), William McGirt (+2), Jim Furyk (+3), Ernie Els (+5), Carl Petersson (+8) and K.J. Choi (+10).