Davis Thompson keeps soaring along, using a record two-day eagle spree to forge a two-shot lead Friday at the midway point of The American Express in La Quinta, Calif.
Thompson delivered three more eagles in the second round Friday at the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course, after back-to-back eagles during the first round Thursday at La Quinta Country Club, to reach 18 under par by shooting an 8-under 64 in the second round.
Despite Thompson's hot play, 2018 tournament champion Jon Rahm from Spain lurks close at 16 under. Thompson is five shots clear of a five-way tie for third place.
Thompson's five eagles tie the PGA Tour record for the most in a 72-hole event (since 1983) and he still has two more rounds remaining to take the mark all for himself. He is the seventh player to ever deliver five eagles in a 72-hole tournament and is the first to do it since Justin Rose at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open. Only two players have done it through two rounds (Scott McCarron in 1995).
"Yeah, that's pretty cool, I didn't know," Thompson said of tying the eagle record. "I kind of thought about that a little bit after I made the (eagle) putt on No. 7. But yeah, those are always nice. Able to get two (under) for one (hole). But, yeah, it's pretty cool to have some putts drop and make some eagles."
Thompson went 7 under over a five-hole stretch, with his eagles at the par-5 fourth and par-5 seventh joining birdies at Nos. 3, 5 and 6. He added his third eagle of the day at the par-5 11th hole when he hit his second shot to 20 feet and made the putt.
"Watching this tournament for a couple years now I always see the winning score being so low," said Thompson, who is making his first appearance at The American Express. "So you kind of really don't have a choice, you just got to keep hitting greens and giving yourself looks and trying to make the putts. I was just fortunate enough to make a lot of putts these first two days."
Thompson, 23, is a rookie playing in just his 20th career PGA Tour event, with his best finish a tie for ninth at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif., in September. That experience pales in comparison to Rahm, the former No. 1 player in the world, who has eight career PGA victories.
Rahm matched Thompson with a 64 on Friday at the Nicklaus course and did so without an eagle, making eight birdies instead. He had four birdies on each side, including three consecutive on Nos. 14-16.
Thompson and Rahm both will play their final two rounds on the host PGA West Stadium Course.
"I don't want to be playing based on what I've done in the past a lot, but obviously I have a lot of good visuals going into a lot of those holes," Rahm said. "I've done a lot of good things around all the golf courses here and I've posted good scores. So obviously my level of comfortability is very high."
The group of five at 13 under includes South Korea's Tom Kim and Sungjae Im and Australia's Jason Day, along with Tyler Duncan and J.T. Poston. Of that group, Kim had Friday's best round with a 10-under 62 at the Nicklaus course.
While Patton Kizzirie was alone in eighth place at 12 under, there was another five-way tie for ninth place in a group that included Xander Schauffele, England's Justin Rose and defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. After two rounds, Scheffler is the only player in the field who does not have a bogey.
Schauffele had an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys for a 68 at the Nicklaus course.
"I think I'm where I want to be, just need to touch up on a few things," Schauffele said. "I haven't practiced as much due to the little (recent back injury). Happy with where I'm at and just need to clean up a few things."
--Field Level Media