June 26 (Reuters) - Will Gordon made the most of his sponsor’s exemption as he grabbed the early second-round clubhouse lead at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut on Friday as a third PGA Tour player tested positive for COVID-19.
Gordon, in his eighth PGA Tour start, fired an eight-under-par 62 to sit three shots clear of Americans Xander Schauffele (68) and Brendan Steele (62) at TPC River Highlands.
Among those a further shot off the pace were two-times major champion Zach Johnson (64) and world number one Rory McIlroy, who was one under through his first four holes.
Overnight leader Mackenzie Hughes of Canada went out late and was even par through one hole to remain at 10 under.
Gordon, who started on the back nine, got off to a flying start as he mixed six birdies and one bogey over his opening eight holes. He added another three birdies on the front nine, including a 24-foot birdie at the par-three eighth.
“I knew that (the course) was going to be gettable this morning,” said Gordon. “Just tried to come into today with a really positive mindset and aggressive mindset and I was able to do that.”
Denny McCarthy withdrew from the Travelers Championship ahead of the second round after he became the third PGA Tour player to test positive for COVID-19.
McCarthy said he felt tired after posting a three-under 67 in the opening round.
“Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night with additional aches and soreness and sensed something was off,” said McCarthy. “I felt like the only thing to do was get tested at that point before I went to the course.”
Bud Cauley, who played with McCarthy on Thursday, tested negative twice but withdrew as a precautionary measure, bringing the number of coronavirus-related withdrawals this week to seven.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond