Date: March 14, 2009
Author: Sportal and PA Sport

Pampling in the hunt

Rod Pampling kept up his good form with another solid round to have him well in contention at the halfway point of the WGC-CA Championship in Doral. The Australian couldn&apost repeat his opening round 66, but stayed amongst the leaders with an up-and-down three-under-par round of 69. With six holes left to play Pampling found himself at one-over, but four birdies to close his round elevated him back up to a tie for fifth place at nine-under, four strokes behind leader Phil Mickelson, who posted a 66. Robert Allenby fell down to a tie for 26th place after he could only manage a 71, while Stuart Appleby also hit a 71 to be at two-under, equal with Geoff Ogilvy who had an encouraging three-under-par round. Aaron Baddeley also shot a 69 to take him to even-par, but Adam Scott had a disastrous four-over 76, which has him just three shots clear of last place. American Nick Watney is in second place at 11-under, one stroke clear of Kenny Perry and 19-year-old Rory McIlroy, who is bidding to become the youngest winner in US PGA Tour history. World No.3 Mickelson had finished in style for his 65 on Thursday, chipping in for birdies at the both the 17th and 18th holes to complete a back nine of six birdies and no bogeys. It led the American left-hander, a three-time major champion, to state he was playing as well as he ever had, and he started in confident mood with a birdie at the 10th. Mickelson overcame a bogey six at his third hole before hitting his stride with four birdies before striking gold again with a chip-in from 33 feet at the seventh, his 16th, for a birdie three. No sooner had he joined Prayad Marksaeng in the lead at 12-under than the Thai carded a triple-bogey seven at the final hole to drop back to-nine under for the tournament after a second-round 70. Mickelson holed another birdie at his 17th on the way to a second-round 66. Perry hit an eight-under 64, equalling Spain&aposs Alvaro Quiros for the lowest round of the day, while Camilo Villegas of Colombia shot a four-under 68 to take him to nine-under alongside Marksaeng and Pampling. World No.1 Tiger Woods, however, did not get the lift-off he had hoped for following an opening 71. The American was still finding the going hard in his first stroke play tournament in nine months following reconstructive knee surgery. Woods posted a 70, three-under for the week. “As of now, what am I, 10 back?” Woods said. “That&aposs not a very good spot to be in.” “Hopefully I can shoot a good round and at least give myself somewhat of a chance going into Sunday. Depends what the leaders do – if they run off and hide, it&aposs a totally different story.” Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, Australian duo Jason Day and Matt Jones hold a share of the lead at the halway mark. First round leader Day backed up his opening 66 with a 68 to remain at the top at 10-under, but it was Jones who stole all the headlines on day two of competition. Jones shot six birdies and an eagle on his way to a blistering eight-under-par 64 to rocket up the leaderboard. The duo hold a one-stroke lead over American Bart Bryant with a further four players tied for fourth at eight-under. Greg Chalmers is four shots back, while Aron Price and Jarrod Lyle are in a tie for 34th at three-under. There was disappointment for Steve Allan and Marc Leishman who both failed to make the cut.