The Humana Challenge is an event where players expect to go low, and this week no one is going lower than Patrick Reed. Here's how things stand after two rounds in Palm Springs, where the former Augusta State standout holds a two-shot advantage:
Leaderboard: Patrick Reed (-18), Brendon Todd (-16), Ryan Palmer (-15), Charley Hoffman (-14), Bill Haas (-13), James Driscoll (-13)
What it means: Reed ended Thursday's first round atop the leaderboard after a 9-under 63 on the Palmer Private course, then replicated the feat Friday at La Quinta. A winner at the Wyndham Championship last year, Reed has begun to distance himself somewhat from the pack as he seeks a second PGA Tour win, but likely will need to maintain his current pace to keep his closest competitors at bay.
Round of the day: Reed began his day with a birdie on the opening hole at La Quinta and didn't look back. The 23-year-old had only a single bogey Friday and went on two mini-tears during his round, playing Nos. 4-6 in 4 under after an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole was sandwiched by birdies, then adding three straight circles to his card from Nos. 15-17. Reed has now made birdie or eagle on half of the 36 holes he has faced thus far this week in Palm Springs.
Best of the rest: One week after he found himself in the spotlight for his tan line, Stewart Cink earned some attention for his play on the course. The former British Open champ struggled to a 1-over 73 Thursday but bounced back remarkably during his second round at the Nicklaus Palmer course, carding a 9-under 63. Cink's bogey-free round included seven birdies and was highlighted by an eagle 2 at the par-4 ninth hole. Now at 8 under for the week, he still finds himself 10 shots off the pace set by Reed heading into the weekend.
Biggest disappointment: Playing the easiest course in this week's rotation, Rickie Fowler appeared poised to go low Friday at the Nicklaus Private but could only muster a 1-under 71 despite five birdies on his scorecard. Fowler suffered a pair of bogeys to go along with a double bogey on the par-4 home hole, a combination that left the 25-year-old at 5 under for the week and in jeopardy of missing the 54-hole cut.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: Reed remains the man to beat, and it still remains to be seen if he's even going to show any signs of mortality before leaving the California desert. This is an event, though, where players must make birdies often or risk getting left in the dust, and there are several players who will wake up Saturday with realistic chances to win, including former Humana champions Hoffman and Haas.
Shot of the day: Keegan Bradley stuck his tee shot at the par-3 17th at Nicklaus Private to two feet Friday, then did just a little better when he came to the par-3 third. The former PGA champ took an 8-iron off the tee for the 177-yard hole and landed his tee shot just right of the pin, only to see it trickle down the hill for a hole-in-one that helped to spark his round.
Quote of the day: "It was a 63 today, but I felt like I left a couple of shots out there." - Reed