Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau were expected to be contenders at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, taking advantage of a relatively weak field and course by PGA Tour standards. Chris Kirk was not.
But a year after taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour to address alcohol abuse and depression, he has turned around his life and revived his career.
Kirk had a 7-under 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead at the Detroit Golf Club, and Simpson later shot a 64 to pull into a tie atop the leaderboard at 12-under 132.
Kirk won a Korn Ferry Tour event two weeks ago, using the PGA Tour's developmental circuit as a springboard to compete again with the world's best players.
When Kirk stopped playing last year, he didn't know what his future was in the sport.
"I kind of just didn't care at that point," said the 35-year-old, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour. "I was focused on doing what I needed to do to be healthy, to be a good husband for my wife and a good father to my kids. I was thankfully in a place financially where my career could wait."
Simpson, No. 6 in the world ranking, won the RBC Heritage two weeks ago in South Carolina. He withdrew from the Connecticut event last week because one of his daughters appeared to have COVID-19, but she later tested negative.
DeChambeau, ranked No. 10, is a shot back, along with Matthew Wolff, Seamus Power, Mark Hubbard, Ryan Armour and Richy Werenski.
K-State boycott off
Kansas State football players called off a threatened boycott in response to an insensitive tweet by a student about the death of George Floyd.
The decision, announced on social media by several players, follows moves by the school to address diversity concerns.
"We appreciate the diligent work of our university and athletics administration as we work through these important issues," according to the letter posted on Twitter.
•Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy took a $1 million pay cut and had his contract shortened by a year as part of an internal review prompted by criticism from his star running back for wearing a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel.
Oladipo to sit out
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo will not compete in the NBA's upcoming restart due to lingering health questions and uncertainty about the league's Orlando bubble.
The two-time All-Star's absence will be a big blow for Indiana, which was the East's fifth seed with a 39-26 record when the season was indefinitely suspended in March.
• The Miami Heat closed its training facility after a second player tested positive for coronavirus, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press.
AROUND THE HORN
Running: Former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang was banned for four years after a series of missed doping tests. The 38-year-old Kenyan was found to have missed three tests and failed to provide timely information on his whereabouts on a fourth occasion, all in 2018 and 2019.
Auto racing: World champion Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off on the first day of the Formula One season, setting the fastest times in the first two practices for the Austrian Grand Prix.