Matt Kuchar knew he was in trouble when his tee shot sailed so far to the right that he hit a provisional in case the ball was out-of-bounds.
He found the ball, and somehow never lost the lead.
Kuchar escaped his only big mess Friday with a 35-foot bogey putt on the 12th hole, and he rode eight birdies to a 7-under 64 that gave him a two-shot lead over PGA Tour rookie Cameron Champ going into the weekend at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
Champ, going after his second victory in three weeks, played in the morning and shot 62 with a bogey on his final hole.
Kuchar was at 14-under 128 as he tries to end more than four years without a PGA Tour victory.
"Yesterday was kind of a bogey-free day and just easy, and everything else today was about the same," he said. "I just had that one challenging hole."
Birthday ace propels Lopez: How's this for a birthday present?
Gaby Lopez turned 25 on Friday and celebrated with a hole-in-one that helped her to a 6-under-66 and a one-stroke lead over Ariya Jutanugarn after the third round of the Blue Bay LPGA tournament at Hainan Island, China.
Even better, Lopez will be after her first career U.S. LPGA Tour victory in the final round on Saturday and will play in the last group with Ariya, the No. 1-ranked golfer. They also played together on Friday at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club.
Lopez aced the 17th, knocking in a 7 iron from 181 yards. She also had six birdies including three to open the round. She said it was her eighth hole-in-one.
Goydos heads Champions field: Paul Goydos birdied the par-5 18th for a 6-under 65 and a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour Champions' season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Tied for the first-round lead with Tim Petrovic after a 63, Goydos had six birdies in the bogey-free round in warm, sunny conditions at Phoenix Country Club.
The 54-year-old Goydos won the 2016 event at Desert Mountain. He has five victories on the 50-and-over tour after winning twice on the PGA Tour.
Scott McCarron, one of six players left in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race for a $1 million annuity, was a stroke back at 13 under after a 64. He birdied the final two holes.