On Friday, Niemann and Lewis both threw 3-under 69 and 10-under 134. Troy Merritt (68), Chris Kirk (68) and Max Homa (65) hit back.
Round one leader Davis Thompson was one of eight players two strikes back. Thompson, 22, had over 73, a day after Detroit Golf Club’s record coincided with 63.
The wind increased significantly during the second round, with gusts of up to 25 mph that knocked heads off their feet and made the relatively short and easy route more challenging.
Reigning champion Bryson DeShambeau, who is sixth in the world, expressed disappointment at the unpredictable wind and erratic play throughout the round.
He missed the cut with 1-under 143, after opening 72 with 71.
DeShambaut, who has an agreement with Rocket Mortgage, turned down interview requests for the second day in a row. His silence left endless questions about why he parted ways with Caddy Tim Tucker on the eve of the tournament.
An unexpected split with Tucker also gave Brooks Koepka more jab feed via social media, announcing Thursday as “Caddy’s Appreciation Day” on Twitter.
Almost two weeks ago 2020 US Open the champion went from being the leader in the same Major with nine holes to 26th place with a collapse. Despite playing in dim fields, DeShambeau finished 19th in the Travelers Championship last week and failed to make it to Detroit.
PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson shot 72 after opening with 69, making a cut of 3-under 141 and changing his comeback tune to play Motown.
On Thursday, Mickelson said he would not return because of Detroit News reporting this was posted earlier this week. The newspaper received a 2007 federal court transcript detailing how a Michigan bookie was charged with defrauding Mickelson for $ 500,000 about 20 years ago.
After speaking with Rocket Mortgage Classic officials and receiving overwhelming fan support, Mickelson told reporters that he would return to compete at the Detroit golf club next year if 50,000 people sign a petition and each one of them performs a random act of kindness.
Patrick Read, who was one of only two top 10 players, also found himself on the verge of being cut 3 fewer after rounds 69 and 72.
Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama filmed Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. The PGA Tour does not test fully vaccinated players.
At least 35 players were forced to withdraw due to a positive test result, and Matsuyama became the fifth player in the middle of the tournament since the start of the testing program last June. The last PGA Tour event to test outside of the Majors will be the Barbasol Championship July 15-18.
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