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Saunders moves 2 clear at Hotel Fitness Championship



Fort Wayne, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Sam Saunders carded his second straight 6-under 66 on Friday to move two strokes clear of the field after two rounds of the Hotel Fitness Championship.

Saunders, who is Arnold Palmer's grandson, completed 36 holes at 12-under-par 132. He broke the 36-hole scoring record that Patrick Cantlay, Trevor Immelman and Michael Putnam established last year.

Justin Thomas fired a 7-under 65 for the second-best round of the day. He vaulted into a share of second place at minus-10. Thomas was joined there by Greg Owen (67), Colt Knost (67) and Derek Fathauer (68).

Kevin Tway had the best round of the day with his 64. He stands alongside Dicky Pride (69), Tyrone Van Aswegen (67) and Martin Piller (67) in sixth place at 9-under 135.

Immelman, the defending champion, posted a 2-under 70 and is tied for 41st at minus-3.

Saunders played the back nine first on Friday at Sycamore Hills Golf Club. He birdied the 11th, but gave that shot back when he stumbled to a bogey on the 13th.

After a par on 14, Saunders moved back to 7-under with a birdie on the par-5 15th. He parred four in a row around the turn.

Saunders converted back-to-back birdie efforts at two and three. A birdie at the par-5 fifth gave him a piece of the lead.

The 27-year-old, who made the cut in 12 of his 18 starts this year and had one top-5 finish, grabbed the lead with birdies at the seventh and eighth. Saunders parred the last to end at 12-under.

"If you can be on top, you always want to be there. Once I made a birdie and got to 11-under, I didn't want to just coast in," Saunders stated. "You always want to play against the best. This is how I know it is on the PGA Tour."

Thomas flew up the leaderboard as he birdied five of six holes from the 12th. After birdies at one and two, he bogeyed the fifth. Thomas birdied the eighth and parred the ninth to post minus-10.

Owen also started on the back nine and mixed four birdies and a bogey over his first eight holes. He played the final 10 holes in 2-under par with nine pars and an eagle on the par-5 second.

Knost had two birdies and a double-bogey on the front nine. Around the turn, he had an eagle and three birdies to gain a share of second place.

Fathauer rolled in three birdies in a 4-hole span from the second. He birdied the ninth to make a turn at minus-10. On the back nine, Fathauer parred the first five holes. He mixed two birdies and two bogeys over his final four holes.

NOTES: Saunders has never had full-time status on the PGA Tour, but a win here this week would get him that status for next season ... This is the first time Saunders has held the lead after any round on the Web.com Tour ... Bill Lunde had a hole-in-one on the fourth ... The cut fell at 1-under 143 with 71 players moving on to the weekend ... Among those that missed the cut were Ben Curtis, Chad Collins, John Rollins and Sean O'Hair.

08/29 22:35:56 ET

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