After outplaying vaunted rivals like Jon Rahm to grab the lead on the opening day, Thompson was able to maintain his two-shot cushion thanks to a well-played eight-under-par 64 on the Nicklaus Tournament course, one of three being used for this week's PGA Tour stop in La Quinta, California.
Impressively, Thompson matched the US tour record for eagles through 36 holes in a tournament as he added three more on Friday to go with his two on day one. The eagles were set up by some scintillating iron approaches and clutch putts, including a 15-footer and two of around 20 feet. "Just had some good numbers into par-fives and was able to execute my shots," said the 23-year-old, who is chasing his first PGA Tour title in only his ninth start. "Had some putts drop. So it was nice to make some eagles. "Everything is kind of clicking these last two playing days and just looking forward to trying to keep it rolling tomorrow." Meanwhile, World No 4 Rahm remains an ominous presence at the top of the leaderboard, two shots off the lead in solo second place after a second-round 64 of his own. Rahm said he was feeling "great" after rolling in eight birdies on Friday but tipped his hat to Thompson's eagle-fest over the first two rounds. "Five eagles in two rounds on two different courses is pretty impressive," he said. "It's good playing."
The Spaniard lies three strokes in front of a group of five players sharing third - Australia's Jason Day (64), South Korean duo Sungjae Im (66) and Tom Kim (62), JT Poston (66) and Tyler Duncan (67).
Kim had an eagle and eight birdies to card the low round of the day. World No 2 Scottie Scheffler lies seven off the pace after a seven-under 65.
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