RENO, Nev. (AP) — Robert Garrigus shot a 7-under 65 to share the second-round lead with Matt Bettencourt at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Tour veterans Chad Campbell, who posted his second 69 in a row, and Chris DiMarco, who slipped to 71 after an opening 67, were among those within four strokes of the lead at Montreux Golf & Country Club.
John Mallinger shot a 67 for third-place alone Friday at 8-under 136, a stroke ahead of Bob Heintz, Bill Lunde, John Merrick and Kevin Stadler. Stadler shot 70 on Friday and the other three 69 to get to 7-under 137.
Shiv Kapur missed the cut but made the fourth double eagle on tour this year, holing out his second shot with a 3-wood from 297 yards on the 616-yard, par-5 ninth.
Bettencourt led the first round with a 66 and had a three stroke lead with three holes to go in Friday’s second round. But he bogeyed the last two to finish with a 68 while Garrigus added his seventh birdie of the day on No. 17.
“It was just one of those days that nothing was going wrong,” Garrigus said. “I didn’t make any bad swings. Not one bad swing today.”
The unusually hot weather in the mid-90s on the mountain course 30 miles from Lake Tahoe gave way to strong winds gusting up to 40 mph by early afternoon as the skies darkened and towering pines swung back and forth – making for generally higher scores the rest of the day.
“It was really the old cliche – you’ve got to weather the storm,” said Garrigus, who said he was the his second hole when “it started blowing 35 miles an hour.”
“I kind of thought, ‘Oh, it’s kind of like the British Open. The guys in the morning got no wind, and we’re out here in the elements,'” he said.
Not that he minds the mountain atmosphere, where most players figure the ball travels 10 percent farther in the thinner air than at sea level. Garrigus said his swing, hitting down on the ball and causing it to spin, ends up making his shots go anywhere from 20 percent to 25 percent father.
“I’ve got 270 yards to the hole (on the par-5 17th) and I’ve got a 5 iron in my hand. I hit it the pin high. I mean, it’s ridiculous how far the ball goes,” Garrigus said.
“I just joke with everybody it’s like playing on the moon because you are out of breath walking up the hill and there’s no oxygen and the ball just goes forever.”
Bettencourt won the money title on the Nationwide Tour in 2008. His finish overshadowed what was otherwise another fine round, capped by his second eagle of the tournament – a 40-yard chip-in out of the rough on his second hole of the day, the par-5 11th.
But he bogeyed his last two holes of the day, hitting his second shot wide left of the green in the rough on the 616-yard par-5 ninth before chipping and three-putting from 23 feet. The 35-year-old native of North California blamed a footprint in the greenside bunker on the difficult par-4 No. 8 for his inability to get up and down from the sand there.
“Had no shot. I’m just frustrated right now,” Bettencourt said. “I just need to keep playing the way I’m playing and everything will be fine.”
Thanks to sharp iron and wedge play, Mallinger made five birdie putts inside 12 feet but said he felt as if he should have made more.
“I missed a lot of putts today. I had a lot of good looks that didn’t fall,” he said. “Club selection is the biggest thing out here. With the altitude and the wind, it is tough.”
Garrigus is trying to bounce back from his loss to Lee Westwood in a playoff at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis last month after he blew a three-stroke lead on the final hole of regulation with a triple bogey and bogeyed the first playoff hole.
He said he made a stupid mistake because he thought he had a two-stroke lead on the 72nd hole instead of three, but has put it behind him.
“I know how good I’m playing,” he said Friday. “I keep getting my getting the mojo going on the weekend has been a problem because I’ve been all the way in the back of the pack.
“It’s kind of nice I’ll be in the last group. Maybe I can keep going.”