The story of the morning wave and very likely the day was the display that Roland Thatcher put on at the Magnolia Course, shooting a 63 that has him atop the leaderboard at 16 under and four shots clear of his closest competitor.
Thatcher has just one top-10 this season and needs to finish in at least second place by himself to get inside the top 125 on the money list (he’s currently 179th with just one-top 10 this year). Friday, he hit 15 of 18 greens and took just 24 putts on his way to nine birdies and no bogeys.
”Pun intended, I wouldn't mind being referred to as Cinderella for the week,” said Thatcher, who admitted that he was okay with going to the second stage of q-school next week. Obviously his goals have now changed.
“After these first two rounds that I'd like to skip second stage finals if I can,” Thatcher said. “I'm hoping to have a nice long off season and start the year early next year.”
STROUD’S STRONG FINISH: Thatcher’s playing partner the first two rounds was Chris Stroud, who began the day with the lead after an opening-round 62. Friday, he didn’t come close to matching that with a 70, but three straight birdies to close out his round left him within reach of Thatcher.
“Any time you finish birdie, birdie, birdie on this golf course, the Magnolia, you're really happy,” said Stroud, who seven birdies -- and four bogeys -- despite hitting just eight fairways. “I’m just trying to get the ball on the green because I'm putting so well, and I just hung in there, got myself on the fairway the last three holes and got it on the green and made three great putts.”
PETROVIC’S ACE: At just 6 under through two rounds, Tim Petrovic isn’t exactly in contention, but he did have the shot of the day so far with a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th on the Palm Course.
Petrovic said he’s made 12 aces but thought this was his first on the PGA TOUR. “And it's been 10 years,” he added. “I think my last one was in 2000.
Actually, it wasn’t his first ace on TOUR. That came in 2004 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2004.
“But I’m not complaining because I've had three double eagles out here,” Petrovic added. “I think I'm the only guy out here with three double eagles.” -- Brian Wacker