By Royce Thompson, PGA TOUR staff
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Greg Owen recorded seven birdies and an eagle in the second round of the Chiquita Classic, the second of four Web.com Tour Finals’ events, to take a one-stroke lead heading into the weekend. Owen fired a six-under 66 and sits at eight-under 136 through 36 holes.
Tied for second at seven-under 137 are Camilo Benedetti (67), Andrew Svoboda (65), Will MacKenzie (68) and Kris Blanks (67).
Two strokes back in a share of sixth are Ben Kohles (71), Peter Malnati (68) and Hudson Swafford (71).
The Finals match Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR players together competing for 50 PGA TOUR cards and position for the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season that begins in early October.
River Run CC was playing tough on Friday but that didn’t slow down Owen. He hit 14 of 18 greens and had a couple of chip-ins during the round. The Englishman did make a few errors but was able to “make the most of it”.
“It’s not easy out there,” he said. “The greens are quick and the wind was blowing around but I got away with a few loose shots.”
Owen knows that there is a lot of golf left to play with a crowded leaderboard and a ton of proven talent behind him.
“I’m not thinking about position,” he said. “I just know that I got to play better than I did today. I’m not worried about the lead on Friday afternoon.”
Benedetti has had an up and down season making 10 cuts in 22 starts and only once this year has the Colombian played the weekend in two consecutive events. Even though this year really hasn’t gone as expected for the University of Florida grad, Benedetti is staying focused on the present.
“I thought I was going to have a great season at the beginning of the year,” he said. “I was not expecting it, but everything is in the past now.”
Through all the struggles Benedetti realizes the opportunity that is in front of him. The way the Finals are set up, missing the cut at last week’s Hotel Fitness Championship doesn’t hurt him that bad because he has three more chances to make enough money to earn one of the 50 TOUR cards awarded at the conclusion of the Web.com Tour Championship
“That’s the beauty of this format,” he said. “I think guys like me that finished between the 26th and 75th spot on the Regular Season money list are going to like it because it only takes one good week.”
Benedetti feels great about his game and where he currently stands. He is excited and ready to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him
“It is emotional for me to be there because I have played well the last couple of days,” he said. “It will be fun to be up there again.”
MacKenzie missed the cut at the Hotel Fitness Champion last week but has been working with his coach this week.The two are trying to get him to detach from the result. This change to his mental approach has freed him up the first two rounds.
“I’ve got the right attitude right now,” he said. “I’m just trying to take care of my business over the ball.”
MacKenzie, who has his children here in Davidson with him this week, knows the challenges that await him this weekend. His strategy is to keep it in play and stay in the present.
"It is a tough golf course,” he said. “I’m just plodding along and trying to stay in the moment.”
Second-Round Notes & Quotes:
-- A total of 63 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at even-par 144.
-- Guy Boros was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard after his round.
-- Tom Gillis withdrew before the start of round two.
-- Alex Cejka withdrew midway through his second round with an elbow injury.
-- Greg Owen played in 24 events on the PGA TOUR in 2013 and made the cut 13 times. His best finish came at the RBC Canadian Open (T12).
-- Owen is two of two in Sand Saves and tied for first through 36 holes.
-- Owen has made 11 birdies and an eagle through two rounds. He ranked T86 in birdies and T44 in eagles on TOUR in 2013.
-- Camilo Benedetti made eagle on the par-5, 2nd hole in round two. Coming into the week he was T11 with 10 eagles on the year.
-- On the year Benedetti’s putting average per GIR is 1.766 (T43), this week through two rounds he is 1.609 (5).
-- Ben Kohles was in a tie for second heading into the weekend of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in 2012, He would win the tournament in a playoff over Luke Guthrie. Kohles also won the following week at the Cox Classic giving him two wins in his first two starts on the Web.com Tour.
-- Kohles had one top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR in 25 starts, a T7 at the Valspar Championship. He finished his rookie season on TOUR ranked 148th in the FedExCup Standings.
-- Peter Malnati has been hot this summer making seven top 25 finishes in just 9 starts on Tour.
-- Malnati won the News Sentinel Open earlier this year and was in a tie for 20th at the half-way mark. The victory vaulted him inside the top 25 on the Regular Season money list earning him a TOUR card for the 2013-14 Season
-- Marcel Seim hit a 7-iron from 199 yards on the par-3 17th. The shot landed six feet in front of the cup and went in for the second hole-in-one in tournament history. This is the fourth ace of Seim’s professional career, his last one came on the second hole at Wentworth in the second round of the BMW Championship in 2012. Corey Nagy recorded the first ace in the third round of the 2011 event.
-- John Peterson has three top-10 finishes this year. The last two weeks he finished third at the Cox Classic and tied for fifth at the Hotel Fitness Championship.
-- Peterson is ranked second on Tour in Ball Striking, which takes into account total driving and GIR. In round two he hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation and 11 of 14 fairways.
-- Through 36 holes Peterson has birdied five of eight par-5s, for the year he is ranked second in Par-5 Birdie or Better Leaders on Tour.
-- Peterson’s third round scoring average is 68.38.
-- Putnam eagled the par-5 18th on Friday and the par-5 6th on Thursday of the Chiquita Classic, coming into the event he was tied for fifth with 12.
-- Edward Loar leads the Web.com Tour in Birdie average at 4.61. Through two rounds he has made 10 birdies.