TRAVELERS REST, SC -- Playing one of the premier events on the Nationwide Tour, Jason Allred and Tommy Gainey moved into a share of the lead after the second round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs.
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Allred posted the round of the day at the Cliffs Valley Course with a 6-under 66, while Gainey recorded a 1-under 70 at the Cliffs at Walnut Cove. The leaders are currently one shot clear of Peter Tomasulo (69/CV) and Richard Johnson (69/Keowee Vineyards).
Allred showed no ill effects from the windier conditions that greeted the players on Friday morning. In fact, the 27-year-old native of Ashland, Oregon reveled in the change.
"Ever since I was a little kid I've enjoyed playing in the wind," said Allred, who hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation. "I love being creative on courses. On nice days I don't focus as well as I do on windy days. Playing in the wind forces you to be more creative."
After a solid rookie season in 2006, including a 38th-place finish on the money list and third-place finishes at the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic and the Albertsons Boise Open, Allred has admittedly struggled on Tour this season. He couldn't think of a better place to make a turn for the positve.
"I think part of it is I grew up in the Northwest," said Allred. "This area reminds me of home. You can't imagine playing three more beautiful courses than what we play here."
Allred credits a teenager for his positive outlook on the course this week. Allred and 13-year-old Tucker MacDonald -- the son of BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Tournament Director Darin MacDonald -- have teamed up in the pro-am/pro-celebrity portion of the tournament and are performing quite nicely. They currently sit in a tie for third place.
"It has been fun playing with Tucker this week," said Allred. "I see so much of myself in him. He is so playful and has so much fun out there. We're having a good time as a team."
Gainey is having his share of fun as well. After a stellar opening-round 65 at Cliffs Valley -- which included nine birdies and 17 of 18 greens hit in regulation -- Gainey was a little unsteady in the ball-striking department on Friday. He hit just nine of 18 greens, and posted his only birdies at the par-5 eighth and 17th holes. But a clutch par putt on the closing hole had him walking off the course with a smile on his face.
"The key to my round was making the 10-footer on the last hole," said Gainey, who made his first start in a PGA TOUR-sponsored event two weeks ago with a missed cut at the Wachovia Championship. "That was huge for me. It was great to finish the day with an under-par score and to have a share of the lead."
While receiving plenty of attention for this upcoming Tuesday night's final episode of the GOLF CHANNEL's Big Break VII -- in which Gainey will battle Ashley Gomes -- Gainey is hoping to garner an even bigger prize this week in Upstate South Carolina.
"I couldn't be happier (right now)," said Gainey. "This is a great position to be in. I am excited to get out there and give it a go tomorrow."
After a relatively benign scoring day on Thursday, strong winds were particularly harsh to competitors at the Walnut Cove Course during the second round. The scoring average soared to a hefty 76.107 -- easily the highest scoring average for a single round this season.
"This course is really tough," said Gainey. "The wind is drying out the greens and they're getting faster and harder."
Second Round News & Notes: The second-round leader has gone on to win just twice in 14 events at the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs (Chris Smith in 1997 and Tom Scherrer in 1998). This season the second-round leader has won three of nine times ... There were five bogey-free rounds on Friday, bringing the total for the week to eight - Chez Reavie (69/KV), Skip Kendall (68/KV), Nicholas Thompson (68/KV), Tim Wilkinson (69/KV) and Pat Bates (68/KV) ... Second-round scoring averages: Cliffs Valley (72.696), Keowee Vineyards (71.268) and Walnut Cove (76.107) ... With a three-course rotation being used this week, the cut will take place following Saturday's third round.