Haley II, Jones share second-round lead at Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank
June 26, 2020
By Preston Smith, PGATOUR.COM
- June 26, 2020
- Paul Haley II fired a 62 on Friday to grab a share of the lead in Utah. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
FARMINGTON, Utah – Spurred by a 9-under 62 on Friday, Georgia Tech alum Paul Haley II climbed from T32 after the first round to take a share of the 36-hole lead and match Kyle Jones at 13-under 129 at Oakridge Country Club. The cut line fell at 5-under as 75 professionals advanced to the weekend at the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank.
Haley’s 62, which included six straight birdies from Nos. 15-2, is the low round of the tournament thus far after surpassing a pair of 63s by first-round leaders Stephan Jaeger and Harry Hall.
“I got into one of those zones,” reflected Haley. “I started well, made a big up-and-down on my third hole, and then made a 10-footer for birdie on 15. That got me going. And then I was hitting it really well off the tee and approaches, just making everything…I just kept giving myself 10-footers basically on every hole, and I was underneath the hole which you have to be out here. My speed was really good today and it was one of those things where the hole looked like a bucket for a while.”
His 62 also set a new career-low round on the Korn Ferry Tour, besting a 64 on four separate occasions.
This year, Haley has conditional status after a T41 finish at the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, just outside the top-40 finishers that earned guaranteed starts. He had only gotten into three events prior to this week and had a top finish of T45 at the Country Club de Bogotá Championship.
“I’ve been playing really well at home; I was playing two to three times a week with [PGA TOUR pro] Scottie Scheffler,” said Haley. “He usually beats me eight out of 10 times, but it’s usually by one or two shots. I figure if I can keep up with him then I must be doing something right. After playing great at home, I was just waiting for an opportunity and got an opportunity this week and am taking advantage of it so far.”
Haley had a breakout rookie season on Tour in 2012 to earn his PGA TOUR card but missed 15 of 18 cuts on TOUR in 2013 and has not been able to get back on TOUR. He has previously held the 36-hole lead/co-lead twice, both in 2012, and notched a win and a runner-up finish.
“I couldn’t wait to get out here,” said Haley, a Dallas, Texas native who played little league baseball on a team with Matthew Stafford and Clayton Kershaw growing up. “Just chomping at the bit. This course is very similar to the one I play back home so it suits my game very well. I was excited to get here.”
Jones, another Texan from the greater-Dallas area, joined Haley at 13-under after rounds of 64-65. He also eagled the par-5 seventh hole for the second day in a row
“I think we had 245 to the hole and this week that is a perfect hybrid for me,” said Jones of the 551-yard hole. “I hit it right in the middle of the green, rolled it on line and luckily it went in.”
Jones overcame three bogeys during his round with seven birdies and the eagle to finish with a 6-under 65. The rounds of 64-65 are his two lowest rounds of the year in his 19th and 20th competitive rounds.
“I love the way this golf course looks to the eye; I love the way it sets up,” said Jones. “I think it gives the guys who hit it in the fairway an advantage. It fits my game pretty well and I played well here a couple of years ago, so I’ve definitely drawn on those experiences.”
The Baylor University alum finished T11 after rounds of 69-63-67-67 at the Utah Championship in 2018, one of his seven top-25s that season. Jones went on to secure his first PGA TOUR card and competed on TOUR during the 2018-19 season but finished 187th in the FedExCup standings before returning to the Korn Ferry Tour this season.
A T16 finish at the El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA gained Jones entry into the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass, but after a missed cut, Jones finished as the first alternate to last week’s King & Bear Classic at World Golf Village.
“Usually by now in the season you are in a rhythm, but it’s hard to get back in that rhythm,” said Jones. “But I think this week we are starting to and hopefully we don’t run into any complications and we can keep the season going.”
Haley and Jones lead a trio of players by one stroke: Kentuckians Chip McDaniel and Josh Teater are joined by Florida native Chandler Blanchet at 12-under. Blanchet made his Korn Ferry Tour debut with a T4 finish earlier this spring at the LECOM Suncoast Classic and is making his third career start this week.
Utah native Daniel Summerhays is making his final start as a touring professional this week and carded a 65 on Friday to make the cut. He sits T15 entering the weekend with his brother on the bag. Summerhays is retiring from his touring career to teach at Davis High School and coach golf.
Saturday’s tee times will run from approximately 8:10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. MT off the first tee.