WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – The first page of The Greenbrier Classic leaderboard is filled with golfers who'll get to do something they're unaccustomed to lately: Playing on the weekend.
Matt Every shot an 8-under 62 on Friday for a one-stroke lead over five other players midway through the event.
Every needed just 26 putts during his best round of the year and is at 9 under for the tournament on the Old White TPC course. He missed four putts inside 12 feet that could have made his bogey-free second round even more special.
''I played really well tee to green, finally made some putts,'' Every said. ''I haven't made anything all year and it just finally happened today. Been waiting for it.''
Every has been in this position before, leading after the first round of the 2012 Texas Open and tying for the third-round lead at the 2012 Sony Open, yet the 29-year-old is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory.
''I know I can win out here,'' he said.
One stroke behind him at 8 under are Russell Henley (65), Bill Lunde (66), Daniel Summerhays (67), Steven Bowditch (67) and first-round co-leader Johnson Wagner (70).
Four others are two shots behind at 7 under. Ben Curtis and Greg Owen each shot 66, Jonas Blixt had a 67 and first-round co-leader Tommy Gainey a 71.
The posh Greenbrier resort is in a small town named for its hot spring waters that the locals have touted for centuries for their healing qualities. It seems as though The Greenbrier Classic is doing wonders for some golfers, too.
Prior to this week, Wagner went seven straight tournaments without advancing to the third round. Other streaks that were broken this week were five straight for Lunde, four for Bowditch and three for Summerhays.
Every had missed cuts in four of his last five tournaments, and Owen and Curtis had in three of their last four. Gainey made the cut for only the 10th time in 23 tries.
''It's coming down to the end of the year,'' Every said. ''It's a big week for a lot of people. If you play good it can change your life.''
Henley is an exception with one missed cut in his last four tournaments, which includes a sixth-place finish at the Memorial.
He's 16th in the FedEx Cup points standings. Every (104th) and Summerhays (123) are the only other players within two shots of the lead who are in the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings.
The playoffs are less than two months away.
''It's crunch time,'' Wagner said. ''We've got to make these playoffs. It's a short year. Fortunately I'm exempt for next year due to my win at the (2012) Sony Open, but I still want to finish in that top 125 and have a chance to win the FedEx Cup. I'm sure a bunch of guys up there are kind of in the same position I am – really needing to have some good weeks to extend our years.''
The tournament could be shaping up for another close finish. It has been decided by playoffs the last two years, and Stuart Appleby won by a stroke in the inaugural tournament in 2010 after shooting a 59.
Among a group of six golfers at 6 under includes Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old Texan in search of an elusive win that would give him his PGA Tour membership and make him eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. He's won more than $1.1 million this year and is assured of a Tour card when the new season starts in October.
Others advancing to the weekend include Kenny Perry at 5 under and Tom Watson at 3 under.
Because 81 players made the cut Friday at 1 under, there will be a 54-hole cut to get to the top 70 scores, plus ties.
Phil Mickelson is already assured of getting the weekend off. He shot 68 on Friday and finished at 2 over.
It marked the first time in his career that Mickelson missed three consecutive cuts at one tournament. Mickelson blamed his lackluster showings at The Greenbrier Classic on estimating distances with his iron shots.
''They end up not just a yard or two off from where I figure, but they're 10 or 12 yards off from where I figure,'' he said.