The US’ John Mallinger had an eagle and two birdies on his final four holes en route to a nine-under 62 and a four-shot lead in the second round of the Frys.com Open on Friday.
The 33-year old Mallinger closed with two-straight birdies to cap his second consecutive bogey-free round and reach a 14-under 128 at the US$5 million PGA Tour event.
He also had an eagle on the par-five 15th hole and his 62 equaled the CordeValle course record.
“Any time you get it that low everything was kind of clicking,” Mallinger said. “Drove it great, irons were great and made putts.”
Jhonattan Vegas, of Venezuela, shares second after shooting a four-under 67 on Friday. He is tied with the US’ Billy Horschel, who had a 65.
Mallinger’s round included a birdie on 17 and a 15-foot putt on 18 for another birdie.
“It’s the same grass I practise on at home,” Mallinger said. “I’m just real comfortable with the speed. I just have some good thoughts over the putter right now, and that’s not every week. Hopefully, I can take advantage of it and keep it going into the weekend,” he said.
Mallinger is winless in seven seasons on the PGA Tour. He has finished second twice, losing in a playoff to Bo Van Pelt three years ago in Milwaukee.
“I feel like I’m close,” Mallinger said. “I’m not going into the weekend scared. I’m going to play and compete as hard as I can.”
Vegas is 126th on the money list, with the top 125 earning full playing cards for next year.
“It’s never good to finish one spot out, but it’s something you got to deal with,” Vegas said.
First-round leader Nick O’Hern followed his opening 62 with a 71 to fall into a tie for fourth at nine-under with European Ryder Cup hero Nicolas Colsaerts, of Belgium, and Scott Dunlap.
“Didn’t play, obviously, as well as yesterday,” O’Hern said. “I didn’t quite hit it as close as I did, but, all in all, I’m pleased.”
Colsaerts shot a three-under 68 and is a special temporary PGA Tour member, so needs to finish the equivalent of 125th on the money list to earn a full card for next year. He has earned US$652,886, good for the 120th spot at the moment.
“My goal was to just make sure that I get the most out of this week so I can have the freedom to do whatever I want next year,” Colsaerts said. “We’re looking good right now, but there are still two rounds to go and a lot of guys can still move up the leaderboard.”