Ryan Brehm equaled the round of the week on Friday with an 8-under 63 to ascend to the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes at the 30th Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco. At 12-under 130, Brehm leads Charlie Saxon by one stroke entering the weekend at Hillcrest Country Club.
Brehm, a 33-year-old from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, started on the 10th hole and carded eight birdies during a bogey-free round, including six straight from Nos. 15-2.
“I don’t remember the last time I had a streak like that,” said Brehm. “I actually looked at the scoreboard on the par-5 third and realized I had made six in a row, and I was in perfect position off the tee. I thought to myself let’s go get a seventh, and then of course I made a par. At least I made a birdie on the next hole.”
The Michigan State University alum posted 15 birdies through his first two rounds, countered by one bogey and one double bogey on Thursday. Brehm finished 13th in The 25 during the Regular Season, earning a return to the PGA TOUR. He previously competed on TOUR during the 2016-17 season, making 17 of 25 cuts, but only tallying one top-25. This year, Brehm has accumulated five top-10s, highlighted by his second career win at the LECOM Health Challenge.
While some players have taken a different approach at the shorter layout of Hillcrest Country Club, Brehm has continued doing what he does best: hitting driver off the tee. He ranks 10th on Tour in driving distance and fourth this week with an average of 354 yards per drive.
“I’m hitting driver as much as I can out here; it’s as simple as that,” said Brehm. “I think I hit it nine times today. There are a few times where I don’t because if it’s not perfect then you can get yourself in trouble, but I’m going to live and die by the sword. I’m going to keep sending it over the next two days and see what happens.”
Brehm hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation on Friday, T7 in the field. His shot of the day came at the par-3 17th, where he put it to one foot. Despite the fireworks at the penultimate hole, his shot on the hole was overshadowed by one he witnessed.
“I threw a couple of darts; I threw one into No. 17 to about a foot away and had a kick-in birdie,” said Brehm. “I was walking by earlier in the round – I think I was on No. 13 – and I saw Brett Stegmaier hit a hole-in-one there. And then I hit it close, so that hole was just fun today.”
Saxon, the 18-hole co-leader, backed up a first-round 64 with a second-round 67 to reach 11-under through two rounds. The 26-year-old carded five birdies and one bogey on Friday to remain near the top of the leaderboard.
“That was the goal coming into today, to get somewhere comfortably into double digits and go out there and stick to the process I’ve been doing and play a solid round,” said Saxon. “It wasn’t quite as clean as yesterday but for the most part I’m pretty pleased with how my round went.”
Saxon, who is the career money leader on PGA TOUR Series-China, is competing in a full slate of Korn Ferry Tour events this season for the first time. He competed in 15 events in 2017 but earned only one top-25. This year, the University of Oklahoma alum has seven top-25s in 22 starts.
Saturday’s third-round tee times will run from 7:50 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.