Blair maintains lead as darkness halts play


(L-R) Scott Hend, Miguel Angel Carballo and Zac Blair tee off on the 13th hole on Day 2 of the Tour Championship. (Getty)

Zac Blair kept up his strong play and held a three-shot lead when darkness fell bringing an end to Day 2 of the Tour Championship with a handful of players still on the course. Here's how things look with two days in the books at TPC Sawgrass’ Valley Course:

Leaderboard: Zac Blair (-12), Derek Fathauer (-9), Sung Joon Park (-7), James Nitties (-6), Chad Collins (-6), Whee Kim (-6), Tom Gillis (-6), Jason Gore (-6)

What it means: Considered a long shot entering the week to earn his PGA Tour card after missing the cut at each of the first three Finals events, Blair now sits just 39 holes from his goal. Blair was on the seventh hole, his 16th of the day, when play was called because of darkness. He'll be out bright and early tomorrow to finish up his round. Formidable challengers aren’t far behind however, with Fathauer, who has two top-10 finishes in these Finals, just three strokes back. 

Round of the day: Tommy Gainey, who won the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic in 2012, set the new course record at Pete Dye’s Valley Course with a 62. “Two Gloves” had nine birdies on the day to a lone bogey – on the par-4 15th hole – and the Big Break alum could earn back his Tour card if he can keep up his strong play this weekend.

Best of the rest: Blair may be the hottest guy at Dye’s Valley course so far, but Fathauer is proving his recent string of solid play is no fluke. He sits in second, following up yesterday’s 65 with a 4-under 66. Gore, whose only PGA Tour win came nine years ago and who hasn't played full-time on the PGA Tour since 2009 sits T-4 after a 5-under 65. Gore already locked up his Tour card for the upcoming season based on money earned this year, but he still has a chance to make a signifigant move on the priority list with 36 holes to play.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Rodgers had a chance to salvage his disappointing rookie campaign at the Tour Championship, but instead shot 72-72 to miss the cut. After an incredible college career at Stanford, Rodgers turned pro this summer and battled his way through injuries to hold the 50th and final spot in the priority rankings coming into the week. He now faces another season of trying to play his way into the big leagues.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: At (almost) the halfway mark of the Tour Championship, the fun is just getting started. With 25 new Tour cards up for grabs and the priority order of all 50 spots on the line - including the No. 1 overall spot thanks to Carlos Ortiz's missed cut - weekend fireworks are sure to be coming, that is, if the rain stays away. The 1 hour, 18 minute delay Friday is what led to the final few groups not being able to finish their rounds.

Quote of the day: “I didn’t see it coming. Have you seen how I’ve played for the last year and a half? I’ve played terrible. It must have been an imposter, but today I played like I’m capable of playing. It’s very good to see, and that means good things for the next two days.” – Gainey, on his course-record 62.