Horschel Two Ahead in Texas Open

Billy Horschel fired his second straight 4-under 68 to take a two-shot lead through 36 holes of the Valero Texas Open. The $6.2 million PGA Tour event began Thursday on the AT&T Oaks course at TPC San Antonio.

After carding six birdies and two bogeys Thursday, the 25-year-old Floridian had the same numbers - though on different holes - Friday to reach 8-under 136, two shots lower than Bruce Summerhays (69), Charley Hoffman (67) and Australia's Steven Bowditch (69).

With a good weekend, Horschel - who was runner-up with Henrik Stenson in last week's Shell Houston Open behind winner D.A. Points - will be in position to notch his first PGA Tour title.

Hoffman has enjoyed success in years past at the Texas Open, and it's continuing this week. He's not quite sure why, however. "I don't know," the Californian told PGATour.com of fine play in the tournament. "I played good over at La Cantera when it was played over there (prior to 2010) and ever since it's moved here to TPC I've played well also."

Tied for fifth at 139 are Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (69), Jim Furyk (70), South Korean K.J. Choi (67), South African Retief Goosen (69), Ben Kohles (70), Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (67) and Lee Janzen (69).

McIlroy soared up the leaderboard with his 5-under-par effort. The No. 2-ranked player in the world started with a 72, but on Friday carded two bogeys and seven birdies, including three straight on the final three holes. It was the 23-year-old's first under-par score in his past six rounds and first since his 65 in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

After opening with 67s, first-round co-leaders Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo each shot 73s Friday to drop into a tie for 12th at 140 with Jason Gore (71).

Another stroke back in 15th are Americans D.J. Trahan (71), Brian Gay (70), Joe Durant (71), Jeff Overton (72), Brian Harman (69), Bob Estes (69) and Ken Duke, Australians Alistair Presnell (72) and Nathan Green (72), Scotland's Martin Laird (71), Sweden's Peter Hanson (71), England's Brian Davis, and Irishman Padraig Harrington (73).

The cut was set at 1-over 145. Defending champion Ben Curtis qualified for the weekend right on the number with rounds of 74 and 71. Points is also at 145 after a 74 and 71.

Among those heading home is two-time major champion John Daly who, despite a 2-under 70 Friday, couldn't overcome an opening 76. Dallas rookie Jordan Spieth went the other direction, posting a 76 after starting with a 71.

Two players joined Jeff Maggert and Andrew Svoboda on the withdrawal list. Sang-Moon Bae, who shot an 83 Thursday, pulled out before the start of the second round along with Bill Lunde, who opened with a 79, but withdrew after completing eight holes Friday.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.