AVONDALE, La. — Bubba Watson’s mother knew best.
Only playing the Zurich Classic of New Orleans because his mother, Molly, talked him into it because she wanted to watch him play, Watson shot a 4-under 68 in shifting wind conditions Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Josh Teater after the second round at TPC Louisiana.
“Mom knew I was going to play pretty good the first two rounds,” said Watson, playing a four-hour drive from his hometown of Bagdad, Fla. “We’ve got two more to go, but she’s right so far.”
Watson, the Torrey Pines winner in late January, had a 10-under 134 total on the Pete Dye-designed course — a layout that he doesn’t think fits his game.
“For me, it’s daunting,” Watson said. “There were a lot of tough tee shots for me. A lot of times the water’s on the left for me being left-handed. “It’s hard to overcome, but somehow I’m overcoming it right now.”
The long-hitting Watson eagled the par-5 11th — his second hole of the round — for the second time, holing a 20-footer to get to 8 under. He added a 4-foot birdie putt on 13 and a 13-footer on 14, but bogeyed the 18th when he hit his third shot over the green from a bunker. He also birdied the seventh with a 3-footer.
“You’re not sure what the wind’s doing on some holes,” said Watson, who has failed to win the three previous times he has had the 36-hole lead. “So, you’re always watching and trying to see what’s going on to figure out how to play the holes.”
Teater shot a 66, dropping two strokes with a double bogey on the par-5 18th. His approach shot with a 6-iron from 177 yards sailed right and bounced into the water guarding the green. His fifth shot ran 22 feet past the hole and he two-putted for the double bogey.
“It was kind of on an upslope,” Teater said about his third shot. “And I don’t know if my club just got stuck, but I was trying to hit it left of the flag and middle of the green, and it shot out right on me.”
John Rollins was 8 under after a 69.
“I played good for two days,” Rollins said. “I’ve hit the ball well and given myself a lot of opportunities. So, I’ve got to be very pleased with where I am and we’ll see how the week works out.”
Dean Wilson matched the course record with a 64 to join John Senden (67), Jason Dufner (69), Matt Jones (71) and Webb Simpson (69) at 7 under. Simpson counted Hornets star guard Chris Paul among his gallery.
Wilson missed a chance to break the course record on the par-3 ninth, his closing hole, when his tee shot landed short and right of the green.
“These courses of Pete Dye are so demanding,” Wilson said. “So, when you have 20 mph wind, it’s really difficult. He doesn’t give you any bailouts.”
Steve Stricker (68), David Mathis (68) and Tommy Gainey (71) were 6 under.
Luke Donald topped a group at 5 under after a 71. He lost a playoff last week at Hilton Head, missing a chance to jump from No. 3 to No. 1 in the world.
Vijay Singh made the cut by a stroke, following a 74 with a 68 to get to 2 under.
David Duval, Rory Sabbatini, Hilton Head winner Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose and John Daly missed the cut. Duval opened with a 67, but doubled-bogeyed the second hole on way to a front-nine 42 and 79.