Ridings retains lead with late run of birdies in Bogota

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Tag Ridings rallied after an early double bogey early Friday.
March 05, 2010
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Tag Ridings used a birdie on the final hole Friday afternoon to post a 2-under par 69 and take the second-day lead at the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open. Ridings is at 8-under par 134 after two rounds in the Nationwide Tour's $600,000 event and leads South Carolina rookie William McGirt (66) by one stroke.

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Veteran Steve Pate (66) and lefty B.J. Staten (67) share third place at 6-under 136 with another rookie, Jamie Lovemark (69) of California. First-round co-leader Dave Schultz (72) and England's Gary Christian (70) are tied for sixth, three behind Ridings, who had six birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey in his rollercoaster round.

"I did my best to grind it out and I made a couple of bounce-back birdies, which was really helpful," he said. "The rollercoaster part of it was that it didn't go down the whole time, it came back up a few times."

Ridings, like most of the field, has taken a shine to the Bogota Country Club course that traces its' roots back to 1917 when the club, the first in Colombia, was founded.

"It's an old classic design with a lot of style to it," he said. "The ball goes a lot farther than it did back in the day but the course still has some teeth to it. The greens are fast and undulating and the design around the greens is very well done. It just makes you work and think the whole time."

Ridings admitted he wasn't thinking on the par-4 second hole. His tee shot on the 382-yard hole was down the right side and he thought his sand wedge was the perfect club. What he didn't to take into account were the tree branches that ultimately gobbled his shot and resulted in a double bogey.

"I was looking at the pin and there was an overhanging limb up there that I never really noticed," he said. "One little branch that was a perfect height for the sand wedge. I didn't realize the tree was in the way. It was a mental error."

The former Arkansas Razorback didn't make any more mental mistakes the rest of the way as he battled the tree-lined course that has earned the respect of everyone in attendance.

"I fell in love with it the other day after about six holes," said McGirt, who held the clubhouse lead for most the day. "I don't like bomb-and-gouge golf courses. I like ones where you have to think your way around and shape the ball. It was a nice to get here and not see a 74-hundred yard, wide-open golf course."

McGirt, a rookie making his first start of the year and only the second of his career, was just happy to be here when the week began. The Spartanburg resident finished second in a mini-tour event in Savannah, Georgia last Saturday and then headed south on I-95. He made it to Daytona Beach before stopping. He continued on to Palm Beach Gardens and attempted to Monday qualify for this week's PGA TOUR stop, The Honda Classic. After missing out in Florida, he boarded a plane for South America.

"I think Monday was the first time since the finals at q-school that I didn't have a rain suit on," said McGirt. "It's a little surprising to play this well because it's been so cold at home. I haven't played much and I haven't been able to practice. It's been brutal at home. I'm about sick of it. Give me 100 degrees."

Temperatures in the upper 60s are more suited to spring but McGirt looks to be in mid-season form after rounds of 69-66, with today's round highlighted by a pair of eagles within four holes of each other.

"I don't feel like I putted as well today as yesterday," he said. "I played a lot better tee to green today and hit a few shots close. I hit a couple of loose shots but you're going to do that out here because anything you hit off line is magnified."

Second-Round Notes:

Kelly Grunewald and Bubba Dickerson both withdrew in the second round due to illness.

• A total of 73 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 1-over par 143.

• Colombia's Manuel Villegas (73-68) advanced to the weekend but countryman Camilo Benedetti (76-69) missed the cut by two strokes.

• Friday's second-round scoring average was 71.068.

• Saturday's tee times will run from 7:07 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. with an expected finish time of 4:30 ET.

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