Brendan Steele carded a 3-under 67 on Friday to hold a one-shot lead at the midway point of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Steele is at 5-under 135 after two rounds at the PGA National course. J.T. Poston and Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are 4 under.
Gary Woodland, Nick Watney, Austria's Sepp Straka and Australia's Cameron Davis are tied for fifth, two shots off the pace.
Steele's lead would have been bigger but he bogeyed two of the final three holes. He also had five birdies.
Regardless, the showing is a lot better than last year when Steele missed the cut by 10 strokes.
"My first few years here I couldn't quite figure it out," Steele said after his round. "I thought maybe it wasn't a good course for me. ... I don't feel like it's a course you can just jump out your first time and have it nailed. You have to see it in all the different winds and conditions that you have."
Donald had eight birdies and four bogeys while carding a 66 that tied for the lowest round of the day. Three of his bogeys came during a four-hole stretch between holes 11 through 14. Poston and Westwood each shot 69, with Poston having four birdies and three bogeys while Westwood had three birdies and two bogeys.
"Even on days like today where you shoot a good number, it feels like a grind pretty much most of the day," Poston said after finishing his round with consecutive birdies. "Felt like I was battling most of the day."
Among the golfers who missed the cut of 3-over 143 were Rickie Fowler (144), England's Justin Rose (146), defending champion Keith Mitchell (147) and World No. 3 Brooks Koepka (148).
Among the golfers tied for fifth, Watney had the lowest score with a 66. Davis carded one of the day's two bogey-free rounds while shooting 67. Woodland and Straka also shot 67.
"I think it's definitely mental," Woodland told reporters of why he likes the course. "I probably focus a little bit more. You've got to hit shots out here. You've got to work the golf ball both ways. You've got to ride the wind. I love playing in the wind. But this golf course is as demanding as we see, so you've got to be ready from the get-go."
South Korea's Sungjae Im shot a 66 and is one of six players tied for ninth at 2-under 138. The others are Jamie Lovemark (69 on Friday), Richy Werenski (68), England's Tommy Fleetwood (68), Ireland's Shane Lowry (69) and South Africa's Charl Schwartzel (69).
South Korea's Byeong Hun An was the fourth player to shoot 66. He is tied for 44th place at 2-over 144.
--Field Level Media