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Duncan rides late birdie to top of Safeway Open

The Associated Press

Tyler Duncan watches his approach shot on the 10th hole in the second round of the Safeway Open on Friday.

The Associated PressNAPA, Calif. (AP) — Tyler Duncan chipped in from the fringe for eagle on the par-5 18th hole Friday to take the second-round lead in the season-opening Safeway Open.

Making his second career PGA Tour start, Duncan shot a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over defending champion Brendan Steele at Silverado Resort and Spa.

Duncan, the Web.com Tour graduate who shared the first-round lead with Steele and Tom Hoge, also had seven birdies and three bogeys to reach 13-under 131.

“It’s crazy, it’s nothing I could have ever dreamed of,” said Duncan, whose only other PGA Tour event was as a regional qualifier in the 2015 U.S. Open. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, to be honest. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time. I’m just happy to be playing here and to be in the lead is something special.”

Steele had six birdies and a bogey in a 67. He’s 30 under in his past six rounds in the event.

“It was really a solid day, very similar to yesterday,” Steele said. “I hit a lot of good shots, rolled in a lot of good putts and was able to watch Chesson go crazy.”

Chesson Hadley, who began the second round seven shots behind the leaders, broke the course record with a career-best 61 to get within two strokes. He parred the final two holes.

“It’s just one of those days everything was going my way,” said Hadley, the 2014 Puerto Rico Open winner who regained his Tour card through the Web.com Tour. “I was hitting great shots, good putts and got some good breaks. When you get that of momentum, things just go your way.”

He had an eagle, 10 birdies and a bogey. His previous career best was a 64 in the opening round of the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Zac Blair (66) and Tony Finau (65) were 9 under, and Graham DeLaet (67) and Brian Davis (66) were another stroke back.

“I just had a lot of good looks,” said Blair, who doesn’t have a bogey through 36 holes. “I made 17 greens out there, left myself in some good spots, made a few of them and it was just kind of easy out there.”

Emiliano Grillo, who won the event two years ago, was 7 under after a 70.

Phil Mickelson, seeking his first win in since 2013, shot his second 69 to reach 6 under.

“I expected to score a little bit better today, but I had some good chances today,” said Mickelson, who had six birdies, one bogey and a double bogey. “I drove it a lot better, I hit quite a few more fairways and gave myself some good birdie chances. But I let a few opportunities slide.”

Mickelson, playing in his 91st PGA Tour event since his last win, finished eighth in the tournament last year and has six straight rounds in the 60s at Silverado.

“A low round is out there,” Mickelson said. “I feel like I’m getting close to it.”

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