J.J. Spaun is a second-year PGA Tour member who, in a city that renowned for the parlay, seems intent on parlaying his lucrative rookie season into a better one this season.
Spaun, 27, shot a five-under-par 66 in the second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas on Friday to open a three-stroke lead, though darkness postponed the completion of the second round until Saturday morning.
Through 36 holes, Spaun is at 11-under-par 131. His round equaled the best score of the day, and among those who matched it was Robert Garrigus, who is in third place, four strokes back.
“It wasn't easy,” Garrigus said. “I thought we were going to kind of get the bad end of the draw with the wind yesterday and this morning, but it kind of died down a little bit on the front for us. But I was hitting it solid, and I was making putts.”
Kelly Kraft is in second, three back, though he had only completed 15 holes when play was suspended. First-round leader Whee Kim was one-over par through 17 holes and had fallen six strokes off the lead.
Last season as a rookie, Spaun earned $1,122,611 in 29 events, finishing in the top 10 in three of them. Though still relatively unknown, his career has been going on the right path, seemingly improving each year. He won on the Mackenzie Tour (formerly known as the Canadian Tour) in 2015 and on the Web.com Tour in 2016.
“It’s time to step up if I want to do something big on tour and make a name for myself,” he said.
Spaun has hit 31 of 36 greens in regulation and ranks first in the field in strokes gained tee to green. Throw in decent putting (eight in the field in putts per green in regulation) and you have your leader.