Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina birdied four of his last six holes on Friday to share the lead after the second round of the US$6.9 million Wells Fargo championship.
The 44-year-old South American star, whose biggest triumphs came at the 2007 US Open and 2009 Masters, led after round one with a six-under par 66 and shot a 69 to stand on nine-under 135 after 36 holes, level with American Martin Flores, who birdied two of his last three holes in a round of 68.
Cabrera, who has never before led after consecutive rounds in his PGA career, has made only two cuts in 10 starts this year, faring no better than 43rd, and this is his first start since missing the cut last month at the Masters.
Cabrera, nicknamed “El Pato” or “The Duck” for his waddling gait, has not won a title on the US tour other than his major triumphs, his best non-major showing a third place at this event in 2010.
Starting on the back nine, Cabrera opened with a 23-foot birdie putt at the par-five 10th, but missed a four-footer at 12 to take a bogey. He birdied the par-five 15th from four feet, but missed the green at the par-three 17th for a bogey.
Cabrera added back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes and again at the seventh and eighth before closing with a bogey after finding a greenside bunker at the ninth.
“I had a great day today, especially on my back nine,” Cabrera said. “It’s unfortunate to finish with a bogey, but I’m in position. I hit the ball really well through there and made the putts that I had to. And for that reason, I’m in the position I need to be.”
Cabrera’s only other 36-hole lead was at the 2007 US Open when he went on to win by one stroke over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.
Flores, who seeks his first PGA title, also began off the 10th tee. He started birdie-eagle, holing a 105-yard fairway shot at the 11th, and he added an 11-foot birdie putt at the 15th.
Flores, with four top-20 efforts in his past six US tour starts, began his second nine with a double bogey but left his approaches inches from the cup on seven and eight to set up birdies and sank a six-foot par putt at nine to claim a share of the lead.
Flores has not had a top-10 finish sice sharing fourth at July last year’s John Deere Classic, his best US PGA result.
England’s Justin Rose was third on 136 after a second-round 67 with Americans Shawn Stefani and J.B. Holmes sharing fifth on 137 and Germany’s Martin Kaymer joining Americans Stewart Cink and Kisner in sixth on 138.
Australian Geoff Ogilvy, Scotsman Martin Laird and American Jonathan Byrd were on 139.
In all, 73 players made the cut on 145, with 2010 winner Rory McIlroy among those to make it on the number.
England’s Lee Westwood and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke were among those failing to reach the weekend.