BOISE, Idaho – Andrew “Beef” Johnston shot an 8-under 63 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead in the Albertsons Boise Open , putting the bearded Englishmen in position to wrap up a PGA Tour card.
The 27-year-old Johnston birdied the first four holes in the round that started on No. 10.
“I hadn’t even woken up. I was still half asleep,” Johnston said.
Johnston finished with 10 birdies and two bogeys to reach 13-under 129 at Hillcrest in the second of four Web.com Tour Finals events. He won the Spanish Open in April and was eighth in the British Open in July.
Three-time PGA Tour winner Scott Stallings and Argentina’s Miguel Angel Carballo were tied for second. Stallings had a 65, and Carballo shot 64.
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings – Stallings was 128th, and Carballo 187th – and some non-members such as Johnston with enough PGA Tour money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.
“If I can come out with a card, then I’ll be able to play the best tournaments on both sides,” said Johnston, exempt in Europe until 2018. “I’m not going to give up playing in Europe, either. I’m going to play both sides. If I can do that, it’s going to make for a great year next year.”
Johnston had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on his second nine and made a bogey on No. 8. He hit six of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation.
“I just seemed to hit a lot of good wedge shots today and hit a lot of good putts,” said Johnston, coming off a 28th-place tie last week in Ohio in the DAP Championship. “I was just a bit more dialed in and I think just played slightly better. It was three shots different from yesterday and sometimes it can be such a small difference.”
Stallings was sixth in the DAP Championship
“Last week was a huge step in right direction for me,” Stallings said. “To be able to put a few weeks in a row together is nice. It’s motivating and encouraging, because I feel like it’s been there a while and it doesn’t always happen on our time.”
Sam Ryder and Keith Mitchell, tied for the first-round lead with Adam Schenk at 64, each shot 68 to drop into a tie for third at 10 under with Dundas, Ont., native Mackenzie Hughes (64). The Team Canada Young Pro Squad member won August’s Price Cutter Charity Championship to secure his PGA Tour card next season.
Schenk was another stroke back after a 69.
The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for 25 cards based on series earnings.
DAP Championship winner Bryson DeChambeau missed the cut with rounds of 69 and 71. He wrapped up a PGA Tour card with his playoff victory in Ohio.
Defending champion Martin Piller also dropped out, shooting 75-67.
Merritt, B.C., native Roger Sloan sits T32 at 5-under. Young Pro Squad alumnus Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., is tied for 60th. Toronto’s Albin Choi is T112, while Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont., is 126th.