NAPLES, Fla. – Matt Kuchar and Harris English took a five-stroke lead Saturday in the QBE Shootout, opening and closing with long birdie runs for an 11-under 61 in modified alternate-shot play.
“I feel like our games really fit this format well,” English said. “He does a lot of stuff that I’m not great at and maybe I do some stuff that he’s not great at. It’s just fun. It’s very relaxing out there.”
Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout
Kuchar and English birdied the first five holes on Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Course, then ran off six in a row on Nos. 12-17. They had a 25-under 125 total after opening the 12-team event Friday with a 58 in the scramble format. The final round will be better ball.
“There’s still a need to make lots of birdies,” Kuchar said. “I think this best-ball format, guys are going to shoot some low scores. Whatever the lead is, pars aren’t going to be helping out very much. We’ve got to still make a bunch of birdies tomorrow to try to protect the lead.”
Kevin Na and Sean O’Hair, the first-round leaders at 56, were second after a 68.
“Alternate shot’s a tough format,” Na said. “I don’t know what these guys played that are leading, but we were saying anything better than 5 under was a good score. We fell one short of what our minimum was, but it’s tough.”
The all-rookie team of Lanto Griffin and Mackenzie Hughes also shot 68 to match Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen (66) at 18 under.