Riley stretches lead to three at halfway in Louisiana

March 28, 2008
John Bush, PGA TOUR Staff

BROUSSARD, La. -- Chris Riley recorded a 3-under-par 68 on Friday to increase his lead at the Nationwide Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Dynamic Industries.

Inside the Numbers
Riley thru 36 Holes
Category Total Rank
Eagles 0 N/A
Birdies 11 T1
Pars 23 T45
Bogeys 2 T137
Double Bogeys 0 N/A
Other 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 76.9% T5
Driving Distance 283.3 yds. T100
Greens in Regulation 75.0% T5
Putts per Round 27.0 T2
Putts per GIR 1.667 T4
Sand Saves 0 N/A

Riley, the winner of the 2002 Reno-Tahoe Open, moved to 9-under 133 and three strokes clear of Gavin Coles (66) and Scott Dunlap (68). The three-stroke margin equals the largest 36-hole lead at the 17-year event, set on three occasions and most recently by John Wilson in 1998.

"I feel good," said Riley, who missed just one of 13 fairways and connected on 13 of 18 greens in regulation. "I played pretty solid again today."

Riley regularly practices at the par-71 Le Triomphe Country Club when he is in town visiting his wife's (Michelle Louviere) family. His play so far this week has resembled those stress-free practice sessions, as he has posted just two bogeys through 36 holes -- both coming at the par-4 14th hole.

In addition to his comfort on the course, he also seems to be settling in to life on the Nationwide Tour -- even if temporarily as he seeks to regain the PGA TOUR card he has held since the 1999 season.

"I feel pretty comfortable out here," said Riley, winner of the 2007 Rochester Area Charities Showdown at Somerby. "I'm a lot more relaxed ... although the competition is still tough."

Riley began his round on the 10th hole and immediately posted four consecutive pars and a bogey, but he rallied by draining 20-foot birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 18, and then added birdies on the first and seventh holes to put some distance between his nearest competitors.

"I wanted a couple more birdies but 3-under is still 3-under," said Riley. "My whole goal is to be here (in the lead) on the back nine on Sunday. Hopefully I'll play well enough tomorrow so I'll have some shots to play with on Sunday."

Michael Bradley (68) and Richard S. Johnson (69) rounded out the top five at three strokes back. Tour rookie Matthew Every (68) and Aussie Greg Chalmers (67) are among a group of eight players who are five shots behind Riley.

Second-Round News & Notes: The start of the second round was delayed for 15 minutes due to fog. It was delayed again at 8:38 a.m. for eight minutes when fog rolled back in. ... The cut came at 1-over-par 143, with 61 players advancing to the weekend. It marks just the fourth time in 16 years that the Chitimacha Louisiana Open has had an over-par cut. A year ago, a Nationwide Tour record 81 players made the cut in Lafayette. ... Miguel Angel Carballo (70) equaled the best birdie-eagle streak of the season by going 5 under (B-E-B-B) on Nos. 4-7. ... Of the six past champions of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, 2001 champion Paul Claxton (2-under 140) was the only one to make the cut. Those less successful included 1996 winner Paul Stankowski (152), 1997 champion Joe Daley (146), 2004 winner Jimmy Walker (146), 2005 victor Ryan Hietala (149) and 2007 champion Skip Kendall (153). ... The second-round leader at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open has gone on to win five times in the previous 16 years of the tournament, including R.W. Eaks in 1993, Bill Porter in 1994, Joe Daley in 1997, John Wilson in 1998 and Skip Kendall in 2007. ... Le Triomphe Country Club Head Professional David Church (74-75) missed the cut by six strokes. ... The second-round scoring average was 71.601, with the par-4 14th hole playing the most difficult at 4.462. The par-5 seventh hole played the easiest at 4.503.