CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nick Watney answered what he referred to as a wake-up call at the Wells Fargo Championship by taking the lead.
Tiger Woods might need one after missing the cut.
Watney had gone nine consecutive rounds on the PGA Tour without breaking 70 and had failed to crack the top 10 in all nine of his stroke-play tournaments this year. He worked hard to change that, and it paid off Friday with 8-under-par 64 that gave him a one-shot lead over Webb Simpson going into the weekend.
Stewart Cink, winless since he captured the British Open at Turnberry in 2009, had 69 and joined Ben Crane (64), John Senden (68) and D.A. Points (68) two shots out of the lead.
Augusta pro Patrick Reed, one shot off the lead after an opening 66, had 74 on Friday and is now eight off the lead.
A two-time winner last year, Watney had failed to crack the top 30 in a full-field event this year, and missed the cut in New Orleans for his first weekend off at a tournament since July.
“I think last week was a wake-up call for me,” Watney said. “And I’ve worked really hard these five days leading into this event. I think it just shows I’m making progress. Who knows what’s going to happen this weekend, but I’m really excited for it. More hard work, and hopefully I’ll be in this position a lot more.”
Woods wound up in rare position.
He failed to make a birdie on any of the par 5s or any hole on his back nine, missing a 4-foot birdie putt on his 17th hole with the cut on the line. Woods wound up with 73 – his eighth consecutive round in the 70s – for an even-par 144 to miss the cut by one shot. It was only the eighth time in 267 events on the PGA Tour that Woods missed the cut.