Trahan, Gamez move into tie for lead at Hope Classic

January 18, 2008

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) —D.J. Trahan is confident he can win on the PGA Tour.

One victory convinced him.

“Obviously you would like to think you could win every week, but until a guy actually goes out and wins, there may always be that seed planted in the back of your mind, ‘Can I?”‘ he said Thursday after moving into a tie for the lead in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

The 27-year-old Trahan, beginning his fourth year on the tour, is looking for his second title. His first tour win was at Madison, Miss. in 2006.

He beat Joe Durant on the third playoff hole in that tournament, and he believes the pressure of winning that way benefited him more than a runaway victory would have.

“You really have to have that gut check when you’re coming down the stretch and you’re grinding and trying to win a close one,” he said. “That’s the way it was for me two seasons ago at Mississippi.”

Trahan shot an 8-under 64, and Robert Gamez had a 65 to share the lead through two rounds of the five-day Hope.

Trahan began the day with a string of four birdies and had just one bogey to go to 13-under 131 through 36 holes of the 90-hole tournament.

Gamez turned in a bogey-free round. The co-leaders played at La Quinta Country Club, one of four courses used for the first four rounds.

Wind is often is a factor in the Hope and Trahan was happy to score well despite some gusts.

“It was definitely a little bit tough today. The wind was blowing over here,” he said. “But (I’m) obviously very pleased with the round like that in these conditions.”

Trahan’s quick start could have been even better — he missed a short birdie try on his fifth hole.

“But I mean, four birdies to start the day, what more could you ask?” he said.

Gamez described his round as “just solid golf.”

“I had some chance the last couple holes and just didn’t capitalize, but overall it was pretty good,” he said.

The 39-year-old Gamez, in the Hope on an exemption, is a three-time winner on the tour but doesn’t have a victory since 2005.

He found out a couple of weeks ago that he would get into the Hope.

“I would have hated missing this tournament,” Gamez said. “it’s in my top five of the year on the tour, and I just love playing it and I love being here.”

Justin Leonard, the 2005 champion, had a 64 at La Quinta and was one shot off the pace, with Steve Elkington’s 68 at PGA West leaving him another stroke back.

Durant, who set the tournament record of 36-under 324 in 2001, began the second round in a five-way tie for the lead, but had a 73 at SilverRock Resort to drop into a tie for 21st.

The other four players who shared the opening-day lead fell behind. Tim Petrovic had a 70 and was tied for fifth. Omar Uresti (72) Mathew Goggin (73) and Siege Maruyama (76) dropped back into the pack.

Notes: Leonard said he enjoyed his round, when he played with rockers Alice Cooper and Meat Loaf and longtime Hope participant Skeeter Holt. “It’s a nice relaxing atmosphere and it’s fun to be here,” Leonard said. … Defending champion Charley Hoffman had a 72 and was tied for 42nd. … David Duval, who had a tour record-tying 59 on the final day to win the Hope in 1999, was tied at 126th — next to last — after the second day this time, with cards of 73-77.