John Mallinger opened a four-stroke lead in the Frys.com Open by making an eagle and two birdies on the final four holes of Friday’s second round, moving to 9-under 62.
Mallinger eagled the par-5 15th – hitting a 5-wood to 10 feet – and closed with consecutive birdies to cap his second straight bogey-free round and reach 14-under 128.
He matched the CordeValle record and his PGA Tour best with the 62.
”Any time you get it that low everything was kind of clicking,” Mallinger said. ”Drove it great, irons were great, and made putts.”
He tapped in for birdie on 17, and made a 15-footer on 18.
”It’s the same grass I practice on at home,” Mallinger said. ”I’m just real comfortable with the speed. I just have some good thoughts over the putter right now, and that’s not every week. Hopefully, I can take advantage of it and keep it going into the weekend.”
The 33-year-old Mallinger is winless in seven seasons on the PGA Tour. He has finished second twice, losing in a playoff to Bo Van Pelt in Milwaukee in 2009.
”I feel like I’m close,” Mallinger said. ”I’m not going into the weekend scared. I’m going to play and compete as hard as I can.”
Billy Horschel and Jhonattan Vegas were second. Horschel had a 65, and Vegas shot 67.
Horschel also birdied the final two holes, escaping trouble on the par-4 17th.
Vegas is 126th on the money list, with the top 125 earning full 2013 cards.
”It’s never good to finish one spot out, but it’s something you got to deal with,” Vegas said. ”Just got to try to put that behind and focus on the next tournament.”
First-round leader Nick O’Hern followed his opening 62 with a 71 to drop into a tie for fourth at 9-under with European Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts and Scott Dunlap.
”Didn’t play as well as yesterday,” O’Hern said. ”Probably had nine more putts, so there is the nine strokes. I didn’t quite hit it as close as I did, but, all in all, I’m pleased.”
Colsaerts had a 68, and Dunlap shot 63.
Colsaerts is a special temporary PGA Tour member and needs to finish the equivalent of 125th on the money list to earn a full 2013 card. The long-hitting Belgian player has earned $652,886, enough now for the 120th spot.
”My goal was to just make sure that I get the most out of this week so I can have the freedom to do whatever I want next year,” Colsaerts said. ”We’re looking good right now, but there are still two rounds to go and a lot of guys can still move up the leaderboard.”
British Open winner Ernie Els was 3 under after a 68.
Mike Weir missed the cut by a stroke with rounds of 71 and 71, leaving the Canadian 0 for 13 this season. John Daly also failed to advance to weekend play, shooting 75-70.