By Joe Chemycz, Web.com Tour staff
MIDLAND, Texas – Reid Edstrom and former champion Danny Lee share the 36-hole lead at the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas. They each stand at 10-under 134 after two trips around the Midland CC course, one better than 21-year old South Korean Whee Kim (66), two-time PGA TOUR winner Rod Pampling (67), South Carolina’s Brian Duncan (68), Brice Garnett (65) of Missouri, first-round co-leader Daniel Chopra (69) and Argentina’s Clodomiro Carranza (67)
Nick Flanagan (68) and Josh Broadaway (69) and are at 8-under, two shots off the lead and round out the top 10.
Edstrom, 38, has been flawless thus far – he is the only player in the field of 156 to play bogey-free for the first two days while posting scores of 68-66.
“I kind of sprayed it around a little bit but always seemed to get away with it,” said Edstrom, who hit only 8 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens. “The trees are so tight generally that if you hit it in there, nine times out of 10 you’re going sideways to get it back into play.”
Edstrom wandered into the woods on several occasions but each time was able extract himself cleanly, even making birdie on one occasion.
“It’s just one of those weeks where things have been working and you’ve got to enjoy those weeks, they don’t happen often,” said Edstrom, who missed the cut at the Colombia Championship and finished T26 at the Chile Classic last month. “I don’t think I’ve missed a putt inside of 10 feet yet. It’s been stress-free for the most part.”
The same can be said for Lee, who won this title in 2011 and was a runner-up here last year. The former U.S. Amateur champion admits he is catching more than his share of breaks en route to a 68-66 start.
At the par-5, 12th hole he pushed his tee shot and thought he was in the trees but wound up around the dogleg, some 350 yards from where he started, needing only an 8-iron to reach the green in two. He made birdie.
At the 601-yard, 15th hole, his tee shot landed in a fairway bunker, but then bounced out. He made birdie again.
Most folks would calls those “member’s bounces.”
“Stuff like that, it just happens all the time for me, which is good,” said Lee, who lives at Los Colinas in Dallas now. “I’m not a member here but maybe I should be. I might move down here.”
Second-Round Notes & Quotes:
-- Friday weather: Mostly sunny skies. Winds S 10-20 mph with gusts to 25. Overnight low of 46. Daytime high of 82.
-- This week’s purse is $600,000 with $108,000 going to the champion.
-- 22 of the top-25 players on the money list are competing this week. The only one’s missing are No. 2 Benjamin Alvarado, No. 10 Scott Brown and No. 13 Jordan Spieth. Brown won the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open last month and Spieth tied for second in that same event.
-- A total of 77 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 2-under-par 140.
-- The number of players making the cut (77), is the most in the tournament’s 22-year history in the Permian Basin. The previous high was 75 in 2002, the first year the event was played at Midland CC.
-- Saturday’s third-round play will be in twosomes off the first tee starting at 7:40 a.m. The leaders will tee off at 1:35 p.m.
-- Stuart Deane had a hole-in-one at the par-3, 3rd hole. Deane used a 7-iron to ace the hole, which measured 195 yards. He finished with a 71 but missed the cut.
-- Brett Wetterich withdrew during the second round due to a back injury.
-- John Riegger withdrew during the second round due to a wrist injury.
-- Mike Standly withdrew during the second round due to a back injury.
-- Martin Piller had five birdies in a row starting at No. 2. He shot a 68 and is T22.
-- Leading money-winner Edward Loar had a pair of eagles during his 5-under 67 Friday. Loar, who lives in Dallas, is at 6-under par and T16.
-- Fort Worth’s Franklin Corpening, a 2008 TCU grad, also had a pair of eagles on the back-nine par-5s (#12, #15). He shot a 2-under 70 and is T50.
-- Rod Pampling, 43, is making his first start on the Web.com Tour since the end of the 2001 season. Pampling made the cut in 21 of 26 starts that year and had nine top-10 finishes. He finished second three times and third twice and ended the season No. 4 on the money list. At the time, his total of $306,573 set a Tour record for most money in a single season without a victory.
Since then, Pampling has been a regular on the PGA TOUR and has made 195 cuts in 286 starts. He has two victories, including the 2006 Bay Hill Invitational and earned more than $13.6M. He finished No. 127 on the money list last year.
“Everyone’s panicking because it’s a short year and so a bunch more guys are playing more. There’s no flow to anything when you don’t know if you’re going to get in week to week,” he said. “It’s hard to prepare if you don’t know you’re in. Everyone is playing more.”
Pampling has made only five starts on the TOUR this year and but made only two cuts and his best finish is a T57 at the Puerto Rico Open.
“I don’t have the luxury of being patient. When you get in you have to play well,” he said. “Competing and getting the juices going was the original reason for this week. It’s nice being in contention again and now its more about trying to win and putting yourself in position.”
-- Brice Garnett birdied his first four holes en route to a 7-under 65, which put him at 9-under for the first two days and T3.
-- Camilo Benedetti’s 8-under 64 Friday afternoon is the best score of the first two days. Benedetti put seven birdies and an eagle on his card after opening with a 1-over 73 Thursday. His 7-under 137 total puts him T11. .
-- First-round co-leader Daniel Chopra birdied three of his final four holes for a 3-under 69 that moved him to 9-under 135 and T3.
-- Aron Price 72-69--141 (T50) is having a terrific ball-striking week but has struggled mightily on the greens. Price has hit 23 of 28 fairways (T1) and 32 of 36 greens (1st) but has needed 69 putts to date, which puts him last in the field (77th).
-- Did you know that Midland Country Club was founded in April of 1927 when 84 residents of Midland purchased stock shares at $200 per share to establish the club? The original club was located just north of downtown and featured a 9-hole course. In the early 1950’s the club moved to its current location and the 18-hole Ralph Plummer-designed course opened in 1951. Among the notable club members – Presidents George H. and George W. Bush as well as LPGA Hall of Fame member Judy Rankin.
-- This turned out not to be a good week for those players who finished well at last week’s Brasil Classic presented by HSBC in Sao Paulo:
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