Carlos SAINZ JR. remained tied atop of the leaderboard while former co-leader Peter Campbell plummeted to the middle of the pack during the second round of The Players Cup.
Sainz had six birdies and one bogey for a steady five-under-par 67 Friday at Pine Ridge Golf Club. He improved his score to 12-under halfway through the PGA Tour Canada event and is tied with Nathan Tyler. Campbell shot four-over-par Friday to drop to three-under for the tournament.
"I played pretty good today obviously. I putted really good today. Yesterday I putted well, but today I putted really well," Sainz Jr. said. "I had a lot of saves for par which was pretty big. It started getting pretty windy on the back side, which was the front nine here, but a couple of key up and downs was the key to my round."
Sainz Jr. has become pretty comfortable with the Pine Ridge's greens and knows he'll have to continue his hot putting and deft short game heading into the weekend.
"They're definitely momentum savers. When you're playing well the difference between 71 and 67 could be just a couple of up and downs," he said. "And that's what you're looking for and you've got to fall back on your short game."
After shooting a 68 in the first round, Tyler shot an eight-under-par 64 to climb from 10th spot to first.
The Tuscon, Ariz., golfer kept his game simple and it paid off, making nine birdies -- including three in a row on the 15th through 17th holes.
"Core strategy. Just trying to stay within myself and keep the ball in between the trees and give myself as many opportunities as possible," Tyler said. "You've got to stay below the hole out here. There's spots you just can't miss and that's pretty much the name of the game out here."
Tyler has made the cut in all four PGA Tour Canada events this season, but this is the first time he has been in contention. He doesn't plan on changing his game plan heading into the final two rounds.
"Staying patient and doing what I'm doing. I'm not really worrying about the leaderboard and that's pretty much key," Tyler said.
Canadian Mackenzie Hughes sits in second place one shot behind the leaders at 11-under-par. His five-under-par 67 clinched his trip to the weekend for the first time on the PGA Tour Canada this season.
"Now it's a totally different focus. When you get an opportunity like this you need to take advantage," Hughes said. "You don't have too many opportunities to be this close to the lead and so I just need to try and do what I did today and the last couple of days and see where that puts me in two more days."
Strong winds created more difficult playing conditions for the afternoon group. But Kyle Stough of Laurel, Md., used those winds to score a hole-in-one on the 184-yard 14th hole.
Stough hit the PGA Tour Canada's fourth ace of the season with a soft eight-iron shot downwind. The ball started about 12 feet right of the pin before bouncing onto the green and trickling in.
"I have to say, it's hard to play after a hole in one. You get really amped up and it's really hard to calm yourself down," Stough said. "I made a couple of bogeys coming in, probably because I was a little too jacked up and I couldn't get myself calmed down. But I'll take it any day. I'll take the ace over not making one any day."
After his hole-in-one Stough finished the round with two pars and two bogeys. Heis now tied for seventh at eight-under.