MORELIA, Mexico -- Australian lefty Greg Chalmers birdied the final hole Friday for a 6-under-par 65 and a one-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the $625,000 Mexico Open presented by Corona, the second stop on the Nationwide Tour's 2008 schedule.
|Inside the Numbers|
|Chalmers thru 36 Holes|
Chalmers' two-day total of 9-under 133 is one stroke better than rookie Matt Every (65) and two ahead of first-day leader Tom Johnson (70). Jarrod Lyle (69) is in fourth place at 5 under, four back of his countryman. Jason Caron (70) and Steve Pate (69) are next in line at 4 under.
"This is a tricky golf course. The hardest thing to do out here is hit the ball the right distance," said Chalmers of the hilly Jack Nicklaus-designed Tres Marias Golf Club in the high plains of Central Mexico. "You almost need to be a MENSA student in arithmetic to get it right.
"You have elevation of 6,500 feet, a lot of forced carries, up-and-down hills and hitting into a 20-25 mile-an-hour wind. You have to pick the right club at the right time and hope you've guessed right with the wind."
Chalmers, winner of the 2005 Albertsons Boise Open, started his round on the back nine and guessed right almost all day, getting into contention with three consecutive birdies at Nos. 16, 17 and 18, the second straight day he's tripled up on those holes.
"You have to get through 15 and the rest of the tough holes on that side," he said. "You have to minimize the damage and then try to take advantage of the two par 5s and a short par 4."
Chalmers made another birdie at the par-4 second hole to get to 7 under and then kept the momentum going with a 30-foot par-saving putt at the par-3 third.
"The greens out here are so extreme. If you don't hit it in the right spots you're in trouble," said the leader. "The key is to keep the ball on the right levels because there are so many undulations."
Chalmers' birdie on the final hole gave him the lead over Every, whose two eagles on the day included his first career hole-in-one at any level.
"I was running a little hot after making bogey at the previous hole," said Every, who aced the 174-yard 14th hole. "The day before we guessed wrong, probably because of the huge elevation drop. I hammered at 9-iron right at it. I was just thinking 'be what I think you can be.'"
A couple of hops and the ball disappeared into the cup for the second of three aces recorded in the second round. It also meant the former Florida Gator didn't have to pull out his new belly putter, one that's been in the bag for only two weeks.
"I started using it about three days before we went to Panama last week," said Every, who finished 12th at the season-opening Panama Movistar Championship. "I got tired of watching everyone else using it make everything and me miss everything with a conventional putter. Last week was a step in the right direction."
A total of 62 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 4-over 146, but not veteran Greg Kraft, who shot a tournament-best 7-under-par 64. Kraft's second-round score was 19 strokes better than his 12-over 83 on Thursday but left him one shy of playing on the weekend.
Second-Round News & Notes: This week's 36-hole cut was 4 over par. The cut at last week's Panama Movistar Championship was 5 over par. The two-week stretch is only the second time in Tour history that back-to-back cuts have been 4 over par or higher. In 1991, South Texas Open had a cut of 10 over par and the cut at the Shreveport Open the next week was 4 over par. ... There were three aces during Friday's second round. Spike McRoy had the first ace of the 2008 season. McRoy used a wedge from 160 yards on the par-3 sixth hole Friday morning for his hole-in-one. Matt Every had an ace at the 174-yard 14th hole with a 9-iron. Miguel Rodriguez aced the 198-yard 13th hole with an 8-iron. ... Matt Every and Miguel Rodriguez each had two eagles Friday. Both players had aces and eagle-3s at the par-5 18th hole. ... A total of 15 players returned to the course Friday morning to complete round one, which was suspended Thursday evening because of darkness. Tom Johnson was the first-round leader at 6 under par. He led by two over B. J. Staten, Michael Sim and Juan Salazar. Eight players were next at 3 under. ... Craig Bowden and Mark Brooks withdrew prior to the start of the second round. ... Benjamin Alvarado completed the first round with a 3-under-par 68. His scorecard included only one par. He also had nine birdies, six bogeys, one eagle and one double bogey. ... Steve Pate's 2-under 69 was the only bogey-free round in round one. ... Fabian Gomez's opening-round 75 included an eagle-2 on a par 4 and a 7-over-par 10 on a par 3.