Vegas takes two-stroke lead in Wichita

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After being a part of a three-way tie for first place after 18 holes, Jhonattan Vegas is the sole leader after 36 holes.
August 07, 2009
Kin Lo, PGA TOUR Staff

WICHITA, Kan. -- Jhonattan Vegas fired a 4-under-par 67 in the second round to get to 11 under and leads by two strokes over Justin Hicks, Jonathan Fricke and Chad Collins at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.

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Vegas finished his first round in near darkness just before 9 p.m. on Friday evening -- with a birdie to gain a share of the lead. The 24-year-old Venezuelan returned to the course on Saturday for an 8:50 a.m. tee time and started with a bogey on the par-4 10th. He bounced back with a birdie on the 11th and carded another solid round in difficult playing conditions. There were sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph and temperatures nearing 100 degrees.

"It's playing really hard out there with this wind," he said after birdieing his final hole of the day. "Fortunately I hit a lot of good shots today and kept the ball in control."

Yesterday was the first time the Vegas held a share of the lead in his rookie season on the Nationwide Tour. He has played his last six competitive rounds on Tour under par.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "Like I said yesterday it's my first time [in the lead] and I hope to stay there over the weekend. It's fun -- and why you practice and put all the time in at the course."

Born in Maturin, Venezuela, Vegas was a top junior when he moved to Houston in 2002. He graduated from the University of Texas where he was a four-year letterman on the varsity golf team.

"It's always been my dream to come here and get to the PGA TOUR. Hopefully I'll be there soon," he said.

Collins threatened Vegas' lead and was 10 under with one hole to play, but three-putted the ninth hole to finish at 9 under in the group tied for second.

The field was cut to 60 players at 2-under par or better. Round 3 begins at 8:24 a.m. CST on Saturday with the final group of Vegas and Hicks teeing off at 12:55 a.m.

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Notebook

• First round co-leaders Andre Stolz and Joey Lamielle are currently tied for 12th and 19th, respectively.

Blake Adams has 18 consecutive rounds of par or better after today's 2-under 69, the most of any player on Tour. He is 7 under for the event and four shots off the lead. He has finished in the top-10 in his last three events.

• There were 14 players from "The 25" leading money-winners for the 2009 season in the field this week; 10 of them made the cut.

Stuart Deane, currently tied for fifth at 8 under, won $1 million in Trump Million Dollar Invitational in 2006.

• The low round of the day was a 66 by Bubba Dickerson. After making the turn at even-par on the day, he made four birdies and an eagle in his final eight holes.

• The hardest hole on the course was No. 6, a 468-yard par-4. It played to an average of 0.417 strokes over par. The easiest was the 563 yard par-5 second, which played to 0.410 strokes under par.

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