RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kyle Thompson moved into sole possession of the lead on Friday with a 6-under 65 at the Rex Hospital Open, the 13th of 32 events on the 2007 Nationwide Tour schedule.
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS|
|KYLE THOMPSON THRU 36 HOLES|
Thompson began the day in a tie for the lead with Tom Carter (70) and Michael Letzig (71), but seized the outright lead early with birdies on three of the first four holes at the par-71 TPC Wakefield Plantation. At the conclusion of his round -- which included successful 10-foot birdie putts on Nos. 17 and 18 -- Thompson sat at 13-under 129, three strokes in front of Bob Burns (63) and four ahead of Rick Price (68).
Thompson closed the round impressively, but his opening four holes were the talk of his post-round press conference. He began the day by draining a 25-foot birdie putt on the opening hole, followed by a 20-footer on the par-4 second hole and a 35-footer on the par-4 fourth hole.
"My putter feels great right now," said Thompson, currently No. 79 on the official money list. "I made some great putts today. The ball is going exactly where I'm looking. The putts on the first four holes were dead center. They didn't have a chance of missing the hole."
Making his 120th career start on the Nationwide Tour, Thompson is still looking for his first career victory. He's also looking for a trip to the PGA TOUR, after barely missing his card in 2003 (tie for 25th on the money list) and 2004 (tie for 22nd).
"I am finally buying into the self-belief that it can be done," said Thompson. "My friends are all doing it on the PGA TOUR, so I know I can do it, too."
This is the third time in Thompson's career he has held the second-round lead. The first two -- both in 2004 -- resulted in runner-up finishes at the Virginia Beach Open and Scholarship America Showdown.
"The last two days have been as good mentally on the golf course as I've ever been," said Thompson. "I'm looking forward to the weekend."
Burns, a 10-year veteran of the PGA TOUR, posted a bogey-free 63 that was highlighted with four consecutive birdies on No. 3-6.
"It is fun to play golf that way every now and then," said Burns, who hit all 18 greens in regulation. "It is always nice to get a round like this under your belt."
Tommy Biershenk (65) and Tom Carter (70) round out the top five at 8-under 134. A former standout for the Clemson Tigers, Biershenk posted seven birdies and just one bogey to stay within shouting distance of Thompson's lead.
"I've been hitting it pretty good and leaving myself in good positions," said Biershenk, who ended the day with just 22 putts. "I made the putts I was supposed to make and luckily had a couple others fall in the hole."
Biershenk played full-time on the Nationwide Tour from 2000-03, tallying 34 top-25 finishes and a career-best runner-up finish at the 2000 Oregon Classic. He rode a wave of momentum into this week's event, having won two of his last three starts on the NGA Hooters Tour.
"I've been playing good," said Biershenk, who currently leads the Hooters Tour money list after finishing third a year ago. "But I've been hoping to play on the Nationwide Tour again to get my status back. I don't want to rely on q-school again."
Second-Round News & Notes: The cut came at 2-under 140 with 63 players advancing to the weekend. ... 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize (69) stands at 5-under and has now made the cut in both of his Nationwide Tour starts this season (T30 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open). ... Kyle Thompson's 13-under 36-hole score is the lowest since the Rex Hospital Open moved to TPC Wakefield Plantation. It is just one shy of the overall tournament record of 14-under 128, set by Jimmy Green in 1998 at the Raleigh Country Club. ... The second-round leader has gone on to win three of 12 times on Tour this season. ... The 36-hole leader at the Rex Hospital Open has prevailed twice in 13 tournaments (Michael Christie in 1995, John Maginnes in 2001). ... There were 12 bogey-free rounds on Friday -- Bob Burns (63), Matt Hansen (64), Garth Mulroy (66), Scott Gardiner (68), Zoran Zorkic (68), Jason Allred (68), Keoke Cotner (68), Ramon Bescansa (69), Jay Delsing (69), Scott Weatherly (70), David McKenzie (70) and Garrett Clegg (70). There have been 24 such rounds so far this week. ... Tyler Williamson became the first player this week to post two eagles in a round, doing so at Nos. 4 and 13. ... Bill Glasson withdrew during the second round.
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