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Hurley Now in Front at Greenbrier Classic


Billy Hurley III fired a stellar 7-under 63 to take the halfway lead in the Greenbrier Classic. The $6.5 million PGA Tour event is taking place on the White Course at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Hurley, a 32-year-old Virginian in search of his first Tour win, began the second round on the 10th tee. After carding three birdies on his front side, Hurley tacked on four more on the back to get to 9-under 131, a stroke ahead of Kevin Chappel (65) and Chris Stroud (66).

Hurley attended the Naval Academy followed by a five-year stint in the U.S. Navy. So his round on the Fourth of July was special. "Anytime you play good, it's great," he told reporters. "But certainly, there's special days of the year for our country. Fourth of July has always been a special day for me just growing up, and kind of what it means for our independence.

"So it's kind of pretty cool, I guess, to shoot 7 under on the Fourth of July."

Hurley added he was very pleased with his all-round play Friday. "I drove it really well today, hit a lot of fairways, and when you get the ball in the fairway around here, you get a lot of mid-, short-irons and you can attack some flags," he noted.

Two strokes back of Hurley is Troy Matteson, who carded a nine-birdie 61. The 34-year-old Floridian, both of whose Tour titles came in the Frys.com Open in 2006 and '09, only needed 19 putts Friday.

"This was unlike any day I've had this year, but I've always been a streaky putter. When I get hot, it usually falls in from just about anywhere."

Matteson needed a hole-in-one on the par-3 18th to match the tournament's all-time record of 59 set by Stuart Appleby in 2010, the year the Aussie won the title. "I was like I've just got to take a shot at it," said Matteson, who ended up with a par on the hole.

"How many shots (chances) are you going to get? I just pushed it, just very slightly."

Tied for fifth at 6-under 134 are Steve Stricker (68), Chris Kirk (69) and Brice Garnett (66). Sharing eighth at 5-under are Colombia's Camilo Villegas (67), Sweden's David Lingmerth (68) and Americans Jim Renner (70), Pat Perez (69) and Bubba Watson (67).

Defending champion Jonas Blixt opened with a 64 to take the 18-hole lead. But the 30-year-old Swede posted five bogeys and only two birdies for a 73 to drop into a tie for 25th at 3-under 137.

The 36-hole cut was set at even-par 140. Among the players heading home are major winners Vijay Singh, Ben Curtis, Darren Clarke, Mike Weir and Nick Faldo. Also missing the cut was Appleby, who shot rounds of 73 and 71.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.