Walker two in front after solid golf

AKRON (Ohio) • Jimmy Walker, one week away from his PGA Championship title defence, fired a five-under 65 to seize a two-shot lead after two rounds of the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational on Friday.

Walker was unfazed by a pair of weather delays totalling nearly five hours. He registered six birdies and a bogey to reach the midway mark on seven-under 133 at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

First-round leader Thomas Pieters of Belgium was alone in second, after adding a 70 to his opening 65.

Tied for third on 136 were world No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama, who posted three late birdies for 67, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy (69) and two-time Major winner Zach Johnson (67).

"I played solid, hit it well, made some putts - just solid, a solid day of golf," said Walker, who has not lifted a trophy since making his Major breakthrough at last year's PGA Championship.

"It's just important for me to have a good week. I haven't had too many this year, it's been kind of rough.

"But things have been trending, and hopefully this is shades of things to come."

McIlory blamed the weather delay for breaking his momentum.

"Once we got back out there after the delay, I think everybody felt a little flat," said the Northern Irishman.

British Open champion Jordan Spieth fired even-par to stand another shot back with Australian Jason Day (66), among six players bunched at 137.

Walker has been struggling this season since being diagnosed in April with Lyme disease - a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. He has been unable to make an impact at the big events, finishing tied-54th at the British Open, tied-56th at The Players and missing the cut at the US Open.

"It's still there," he said of the effect of the Lyme disease.

"I still deal with it. It's better than it was, but it's still there. It affects different parts of your daily life. I just keep plugging away."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL Day 4
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 06, 2017, with the headline 'Walker two in front after solid golf'. Print Edition | Subscribe