MITCHELLVILLE, Md. -- Jaco Van Zyl, Peter Tomasulo and Patrick Sheehan share the second-round lead at 9-under-par 135, one stroke ahead of Omar Uresti, Esteban Toledo and Paul Claxton at the inaugural $600,000 Melwood Prince George's County Open.
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Van Zyl's low-round of the day (65) on Friday included eight birdies and one bogey and was highlighted by his second birdie on the 493-yard, par-4 16th hole in as many days. The 16th has played as the toughest hole for the week, allowing just 21 birdies over the course of the first two rounds, two of which belong to Van Zyl.
"It was out there for the taking today," said the 28-year-old South African. "Up until last week, I've been playing nasty all year. But this golf course fit my eye quite nicely from the word, 'Go.'"
Van Zyl started the year as a rookie on the PGA TOUR after a remarkable 2006 Qualifying Tournament. Entering the final round of q-school at even-par tied for 75th, he shot a low final-round 64 to finish T29 and earn his card. Things have not gone as well for Van Zyl to start his season, missing his first five cuts. He made his first cut on the PGA TOUR last week with a T48 finish at the AT&T Classic.
Tomasulo recorded just the second eagle of the day on the 564-yard par-5 18th hole to move into a tie for the second-round lead. Coming off a T5 finish at last week's BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs, the University of California All-American ranks No. 28 on the money list and can move into "The 25" with a strong finish this weekend.
"It was nice to make an eagle on the last hole and to leave on a good note," Tomasulo said. "I'm excited for the weekend. I'm pumped to be in the spot I'm in."
Nationwide Tour leading money-winner Nick Flanagan sits two strokes back. Winner of last week's BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs and the Henrico County Open three weeks ago, Flanagan needs one more victory to earn an instant promotion to the PGA TOUR. Flanagan said the promotion does not way heavily on his mind out on the course.
"I'm not feeling overly pressured," said the 22-year-old Flanagan. "I just have to keep playing good golf. The Nationwide Tour is a great place to prepare for the PGA TOUR."
Sheehan fired a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Friday. He has three top-10 finishes this season on the Nationwide Tour, including his last two events. Sheehan won on this Tour in 2002 at the Price Cutter Charity Classic. He spent the last four years playing on the PGA TOUR, his best season coming in 2004 when he made more than $1.2 million with three top-10 finishes.
Uresti, who ranks No. 4 on the money list, won the difficult Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship at Wente Vineyards earlier this year with a score of even par. Uresti was a member of the PGA TOUR in 1995-2000 and 2004-06, and the Nationwide Tour in 1993-94 and 2001-03. Before his win this year, his last victory in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event came here on the Nationwide Tour at the Shreveport Open.
Already the leader in career earnings on the Nationwide Tour, Paul Claxton is in position after two days to become the Tour's first player to earn more than $1 million for his career. Claxton needs just less than $7000 this week to reach $1 million.
Second-Round News & Notes: U.S. Naval Academy graduate and All-American golfer Billy Hurley III, who received a sponsor's exemption, made the cut at 3-under-par at T37, as the Nationwide Tour visits the Washington, D.C., area for the first time. ... Patrick Sheehan, Bob Burns, B.J. Staten and Ron Whittaker shot bogey-free rounds on Friday. ... The scoring average during the second round was 71.513. For the second straight day, the toughest hole was the par-4 16th hole with a 4.240 average. ... Chris Smith was the other player to eagle the par-5 18th hole on Friday. ... While the course isn't one of the longer courses the Tour plays this year, seven of the top-eight ranked players in driving distance this week missed the cut. ... Zoran Zorkic withdrew during the round due to a back injury.
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