RALEIGH — Ethan Tracy soared early and Chesson Hadley faltered late.
Then came Wade Binfield, who soared and then faltered.
Tracy, with a 4-under 67 Friday in the Rex Hospital Open, emerged with the second-round lead with a 9-under 133 total. But only after Binfield triple-bogeyed his final hole of the day, the par-5 ninth at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
Binfield, playing in one of the last groups on the course, was 10-under for the tournament and a shot ahead when he laid up at the downhill ninth with his second shot. But the former Clayton (Ga.) State golfer put his wedge shot into a small creek in front of the green and took an 8.
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That done, Tracy, a morning starter Friday, was left with a one-shot lead over former Wells Fargo Championship winner Derek Ernst, Kyoung-Hoon Lee of South Korea and Miguel Angel Carballo of Argentina.
Hadley, the 2013 Rex champion, grabbed the first-round lead with a 64. An afternoon starter Friday, the Raleigh native struggled with his driver at times and had a 1-over 72.
“It certainly was not my best,” Hadley said. “The course was playing a lot harder. It might have been because I wasn’t hitting it quite as well.
“I didn’t drive the ball very well. I hit a couple of great iron shots but for the most part it was just kind of poopy. And I didn’t make any putts, either. I just kind of hung in there and didn’t panic.”
And didn’t fall too far behind.
“We’re right in this,” Hadley said. “Three shots in two days is no big deal. I need to go play a good one (Saturday), that’s what I need to do.”
The son of a Columbus, Ohio, firefighter, Tracy often attended the Memorial Tournament, aspiring to play pro golf for a living.
He has been a winner on the Web.com Tour this year, and after the most dramatic shot of the year on tour — holing out for eagle on the last hole of the Club Colombia Championship in Bogota to force a playoff, then winning on the second hole.
“I’m just playing to the strengths of my game and it’s working well,” Tracy said. “I’m making a lot of putts. I need to keep on doing that.”
Tracy, 27, played college golf at Arkansas, winning on the collegiate level as well as taking the 2011 Western Amateur. Turning pro in 2012, he put in time on the mini-tours and won on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica before playing his way onto the Web.com Tour this year.
“I’ve never been a superstar in my class,” Tracy said. “I’ve just worked hard and worked my way up.”
Carballo had the day’s low round, a 64, and Ernst and Lee had 68s. Ernst, who won in Charlotte in 2013, made a scrambling par at the par-5 ninth — his 18th hole of the day — after putting his second shot into the creek.
The 36-hole cut was set at 1 under par 141. Carter Jenkins of Raleigh made the cut on the number with a 70, but among those missing the cut were Raleigh’s Bo Andrews, Brad Fritsch of Holly Springs, Ben Kohles of Cary and former N.C. State golfer Albin Choi.