CROMWELL—— With leader Justin Rose sitting at 14-under-par after a blistering morning round, Charlie Wi had little room for error Friday afternoon at the Travelers Championship.
So when his shot out of the bunker on par-4 No. 7 didn't land where he wanted, Wi had no time to obsess over his mistake. He accepted his bogey and made it through the next two holes without any further damage.
Kevin Sutherland (130).
In his fifth appearance at TPC River Highlands, Wi finds himself among the leaders for the first time. Last year, he was 6 under after two days before shooting a 71 and a 70 to finish tied for 51st. Two years ago, Wi was 4 under before shooting a pair of 72s to finish tied for 66th.
And in his first two years in Cromwell, he failed to make the cut.
"I haven't played very well here," Wi said. "So I just told my caddie, 'Let's just try to be patient and see what we can do. I know you have a lot of short irons to the greens and you feel like you can make a lot of birdies, but at the same time you can make a lot of mistakes that way.' So we stayed really patient, I was able to make a lot of putts and here we are at 9 under."
Wi began the day on the 10th tee and came into the turn at 33 after three birdies and a bogey. He birdied No. 1 and No. 6 to put himself at 10 under for the tournament, but he immediately dropped back to 9 under with his bogey on No. 7.
And when Sutherland birdied No. 9 to finish his round, Wi's group slipped to third on the leaderboard.
"I know Justin played a great round," Wi said. "He posted a 14 under this morning, and you can't do anything about that. All you can do is control yourself, and hopefully you can make some birdies out there."
Wi took two weeks off before failing to qualify for the U.S. Open, extending his vacation another week. So he came to Cromwell well rested. And since long layoffs can lead to an inconsistent short game, Wi was unsure about his putting.
"But I felt good," Wi said. "I think it was good because I didn't have too much expectations of myself. I just went out and played, and that really helped."
Wi, 38, has seven professional wins, all on the Asian Tour. His best finish on the PGA Tour was an eighth-place finish at the Honda Classic in March. In eight events since the Honda, he failed to make the cut three times and finished no better than 17th.
Today, he begins Round 3 at 1:40 p.m. with Corey Pavin.
"I was feeling good coming here," Wi said. "The pressure and the adrenaline is not the same as playing with your friends, but I've felt really good. Hopefully, it will be a good weekend."