Gainey leads Phoenix after 36 holes

BY foxsports • February 5, 2011

Tommy Gainey, seeking his first PGA title, completed a six-under-par 65 Saturday to seize a one-stroke lead after the second round of the frost-disrupted Phoenix Open.

Gainey, who fired a 63 in the final group to lead after the first round ended late Friday, stood on 14 under par after 36 holes at the $6.1 million event.

A man who once worked on a production line wrapping water heaters for transit now finds himself in contention for a PGA title.

"It would be unforgettable," Gainey said. "It's something I've worked for my whole life. I'm just trying to take advantage of my chance."

Mark Wilson was one stroke back with Bill Haas third on 12-under and Chris Couch fourth on 11-under.

Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who fired a second-round 65, and Rickie Fowler, who had five birdies and an eagle in the final seven holes to card a tournament-best 62, shared fifth on 10-under.

"It was a lot of fun out there," Mickelson said.

Australians Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddeley, the highest-placed non-US players, shared seventh on nine-under with Americans Jason Dufner and Jonathan Byrd.

A Monday finish is all-but assured after frozen greens and morning frost in unusually cold conditions delayed the start of play Thursday and Friday for a combined total of more than seven hours.

"You come to the desert, the last thing you would think of is frost," said Gainey, who is nicknamed "Two Gloves" for wearing a pair of rain gloves while playing.

Gainey was three-under after nine holes of his second round on Friday when darkness fell, then returned Saturday morning and began the front nine, his second nine of the round, with three birdies and finished with six more pars.

Gainey, a past winner on the developmental Nationwide Tour, finished second at Disney World as a rookie in 2008 but could not crack the top 20 at an event last season.

"I feel like if I can win on the Nationwide Tour I can win out here," Gainey said. "I feel like I can compete."

Aussie Jarrod Lyle hit a hole-in-one at the par-3 16th, the TPC Scottsdale's trademark hole surrounded by stands and luxury boxes where spectators yell and scream with every tee shot.

"If there was ever a hole in world golf where you want to have a hole-in-one, that would be right up there," Lyle said.

"It was one of those amazing feelings that you can't re-create."

Lyle, 29, used an eight-iron to smack his first ace as a professional, calling it the greatest moment of his career. He watched the ball bounce twice and roll into the cup, thrusting his arms skyward as the crowd went wild.

"When I hit it I thought it was too long. I told it to get down," Lyle said. "When it took its second bounce, I thought it was all right."

Lyle compared the noisy explosion of joy to something he might hear back home from 100,000 spectators.

"You can almost explain it like when they sing the national anthem in Australia before the Australian Rules [football] grand final."

As he walked off the 16th green, Lyle was reminded by a spectator of the tradition of players who hit aces buying drinks for those who saw it happen.

"Somebody said I owe everybody a drink," Lyle said. "I'm looking around and thinking, 'There's 20,000 people here. That's a lot of drinks.'"

Lyle finished with a 67 to stand nine strokes off the pace.
 


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