PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic — Baylor School graduate Luke List was two shots out of the lead halfway through the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, with his 7-under-par 65 in Friday’s second round leaving him tied for second at 10-under 134 with Sean O’Hair and Justin Suh.
Former University of Georgia golfer Hudson Swafford, who had shared the lead with three others after the opening round, was alone on top after shooting a 5-under 67.
List’s bogey-free showing matched Adam Long for the second-best round of the day — Canada’s Graham DeLaet missed the cut by a shot despite his 64 — and sent the former four-time All-American at Vanderbilt to the weekend with a little momentum as he tries to gain some ground in the FedEx Cup standings during the fall portion of the PGA Tour’s 2020-21 schedule.
The 35-year-old List tied for 65th two weeks ago at the season-opening Safeway Open. During the 2019-20 season, he made the cut in 12 of 22 events played, placed in the top 25 four times and posted one top-10 finish. He made the playoffs but was low in the standings and did not advance after missing the cut in the first postseason event.
List does have a victory this calendar year, though. When professional golf returned this summer after shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic, List played and won a Korn Ferry Tour tournament in Florida.
Long was at 9 under, tied for fifth with Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes (67), Austria’s Sepp Straka (70) and China’s Xinjun Zhang (69).
List was joined by a former fellow Red Raiders standout in making the cut, which was at 3 under, as Keith Mitchell shot his second straight 70 to reach the weekend tied for 44th. Eric Axley, a native of Athens, Tennessee, shot a second straight 73.
Swafford played in the morning, when it was humid along the Caribbean Sea but without much wind. His start on the back nine was largely uneventful, except for being stung by a hornet on the joint of his pinky finger while he reached for his putter after playing one hole.
“It started swelling up, so I was just kind of rubbing ice on it after tee shots for the first five, six holes on the back side,” Swafford said. “I guess it kind of cleared my mind of the golf thing and just let me focus on something else.”
His seven birdies offset a pair of bogeys, and he might be hunting hornets Saturday — but not with plans to harm them.
“My caddie got stung yesterday on the forearm on the first hole, and I guess he said it’s kind of a good omen,” Swafford said. “We played well, and we ended up playing well again today.”
Joining him in the final group is O’Hair, who missed an entire year with a torn oblique and returned just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic to shut down professional golf.
Swafford missed most of last summer with foot surgery, while former University of Southern California player Suh had a wrist injury just as he turned pro that slowed his progress.
O’Hair, a 38-year-old four-time PGA Tour winner, tore his oblique at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February 2019, had surgery to repair and remove scar tissue, then didn’t play another PGA Tour event until Pebble Beach this year. He played the Honda Classic after that — and then golf shut down.
“I’ve been out pretty much almost a year and a half now,” said O’Hair, who missed the cut in the Safeway Open. “So it’s trying to get in a groove again, in the routine again. My body is still not quite there as far as the workload that you do from traveling and hitting balls and walking and practice. It’s kind of hard to practice that at home.
“I’ve tried to play as much as I can at home to get ready for this, and this is going to be my first three weeks in a row for a year and a half, so that’s going to be a big task for me, for sure.”
Suh chipped in for a birdie on the 17th, then made an 18-foot par putt on the 18th when his approach rolled off the side of the green into a collection area.
Long ran off six straight birdies and was 8 under through 12 holes Friday — his 33rd birthday — until he made back-to-back bogeys.
Graeme McDowell, who won the tournament last year, shot a 73 and missed the cut.
This was a Korn Ferry Tour event three years ago. It graduated to an opposite-field event on the PGA Tour, and then was elevated to a full FedEx Cup event for this year when it was postponed until late September, and then the Ryder Cup originally set for this week was postponed until 2021.
That means the winner of this event gets an invitation to the Masters — the one in April 2021, not the one in November — and the final two rounds will be broadcast on NBC Sports, which had set aside this time for the Ryder Cup.