MEMPHIS, Tenn. Harris English is becoming more comfortable on the PGA Tour every week and feels right at home on TPC Southwind's Bermuda grass greens.
English shot a 6-under-par 64 on Friday to open a two-stroke lead in the St. Jude Classic. The 23-year-old former Georgia star had never even had a piece of a lead on the PGA Tour until Thursday when he found himself tied with five others, including Davis Love III, after 18 holes.
He used a hot putter to roll in five birdie putts, holed out from 181 yards for an eagle on the par-4 fifth and had only one bogey to finish the second round at 10-under 130.
"It's awesome to be in this position," English said. "I've worked very hard the last couple weeks and couple months to get in this position, and I feel like I'm ready, and I feel like I got a lot of good people around me to help me."
Shawn Stefani was second after a 65. Paul Haley II and Scott Stallings each shot 68 to reach 5 under.
Love was tied with four others at 4 under after a 70, and defending champion Dustin Johnson also had a 70 to finish at 3 under. Phil Mickelson was 2 under after a 67 in his final tuneup for the U.S. Open next week at Merion in Pennsylvania.
Only four players had rounds of 4 under or better on a near-perfect day at TPC Southwind.
Doug Labelle II and Scott Verplank were the only other players to go at least 4 under with a 66 apiece.
But English turned in the best round on a course playing very tough despite a temperature around 80 degrees very rare at this time of year in Memphis. Any wind came out of the north instead of the south. Combined with the small and firm greens, hitting the greens required precise shots. Hitting the fairways also is a must to control shots to the greens.
"Obviously, if he has another two days like the first two, it will be tough to catch him," Johnson said about English. "But I would say I look forward to being bunched throughout on Sunday coming down the stretch."
U.S. Open draw Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will play together in the opening two rounds of the U.S. Open next week at Merion in Ardmore, Pa.
For the third straight year, U.S. Open officials put the top three players in the world ranking in the same group. The featured group will start at 1:14 p.m. EDT Thursday off the first tee, and then 7:44 a.m. starting on the 11th tee Friday.
Woods is trying to end five years without a major title. McIlroy, who has yet to win this year, will be trying to capture a major for the third straight year. Scott is the Masters champion, the only player capable of the Grand Slam this year.
This will be the first time Woods and McIlroy have played together in any round of a major.
Champions Tour in Birmingham, Ala. Duffy Waldorf shot a 4-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Sluman after the soggy, weather-delayed second round of the Regions Tradition, the second of five Champions Tour majors.
Waldorf had three birdies and a bogey on both the first nine holes and the last nine to top the Shoal Creek leaderboard at 9-under 135.
LPGA Tour in Pittsford, N.Y. Chella Choi shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead over Morgan Pressel and Jiyai Shin after the first round of the rain-delayed LPGA Championship.
Choi, who has never won on the LPGA Tour, had five birdies and in a bogey-free front nine to move into the lead and held on in steady rain over her final seven holes.