Rickie Fowler and Scottie Scheffler each carded an 8-under-par 64 on Friday at PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and they share the lead at the midway point of The American Express at La Quinta, Calif.
Both Fowler and Scheffler, who opened the tournament on Thursday at La Quinta CountryClub, are at 15-under 129. Andrew Landry, who shot an 8-under 64 at La Quinta on Friday, sits in third place, one stroke back.
Tony Finau fired a career-low-tying 10-under 62 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course, leaving him at 13 under, in fourth place. Bud Cauley is in fifth at 12 under after an 8-under 64 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
Among the top five, only Landry has played the toughest of three courses in the event's rotation, PGA West's Stadium Course.
Ted Potter Jr., Ryan Moore, Wes Roach, Chase Seiffert, South Korea's Sungjae Im and Australia's Cameron Davis are tied for sixth at 11 under.
Fowler's 36-hole total is his lowest ever on the PGA Tour. Fowler holds at least a share of the 36-hole lead for the ninth time in his career, but he has gone on to win just once in those events. Overall, the 31-year-old Southern California native has five wins on tour.
Fowler's Friday round included six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole.
"These courses are scorable, but I feel like it's a fine line between playing well out here and kind of scraping by," Fowler said. "If you drive it well and hit good approach shots, you can make a lot of birdies, but if you're a little off, you're kind of scrambling for par. So I feel like I've done a good job of just kind of picking my way around the two golf courses so far.
"We still have the Stadium to play tomorrow. ... I'm happy with the way we're hitting it and definitely heading in the right direction. Nice way to get off to a start for two days here and through two of the three courses and looking forward to getting out on Stadium tomorrow."
Scheffler got off to a strong start Friday on the back nine, birdieing six of his first seven holes, but he carded a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 18th hole. He recovered on the front nine for two birdies, six pars and an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole.
"It's not bad," Scheffler said of his round. "Wish the double wasn't in there, but it was still a very good score.
"I feel like I've been playing pretty well, just doing a good job managing my game, giving myself a lot of looks. I got off to a pretty hot start today and kept playing pretty solid, even after that double on 18, just staying in a good place mentally and was able to hit some good shots."
Finau had three birdies and six pars on the back nine when he made the turn, but he closed with six birdies and three pars on the front nine.
"The putter started feeling a little better in my hands," he said. "You're at the mercy of the greens sometimes when you putt. I feel like I hit a lot of good putts the last couple of days, and they finally started to fall on my (second) nine today, and that was good to see."
Tournament host Phil Mickelson posted an even-par 72 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course, leaving him at 2-under 142, tied for 110th.
Defending champion Adam Long is tied for 68th at 5-under 139 after a 2-under 70 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
--Field Level Media