Date: March 07, 2009
Author: PA Sport and Sportal

Allenby lets lead slip

Australian Robert Allenby has relinquished the lead at the Honda Classic to world No.460 YE Yang after only managing a two-under 68 in the second round. Allenby enjoyed outright leadership of the tournament after the first round thanks to a four-under in his first 18 holes but now sits in equal second with Will Mackenzie and Jeff Overton on six-under overall and one shot off the pace. Allenby&aposs countrymen Greg Chalmers, who shot a course record-equalling 64, and James Nitties are three shots further back on three-under in a share of seventh position. Chalmers&apos round featured seven birdies and the only blemish came in the form of a bogey at the 6th. Korea&aposs Yang, a five-time tournament winner in Asia, had started the day at the par-70 PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens two shots back from Allenby in a tie for eighth place. After one birdie over his opening nine holes from the 10th tee, 37-year-old Yang holed three birdies in succession at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd before taking the lead with another at the par-three 7th. Yang, in the last group of the day, completed his round in regulation to post a second-round 65 to lead by a stroke from Allenby, Mackenzie and Overton. Four birdies in the first 10 holes of his second round had helped Overton into an early share of the lead. The American, without a PGA Tour win in 85 events, had started the day a shot behind Allenby and he joined him and Mackenzie on six under with a bogey at the 13th. Overton, yet to win in 85 starts, is one of 17 golfers among the leading 22 not to have picked up a winners&apos cheque on the PGA Tour but the American believes that points to the strength in depth on tour. “I think if you look at the PGA Tour, it just goes to show how much more competitive it&aposs become over the last few years,” Overton said. “Tiger (Woods) has raised the bar. It&aposs unbelievable how good these guys are, it really is.” “It&aposs unbelievable how many players have not won yet, but only one guy wins each week. You only have 35, 40 weeks, whatever it is, and you get Tiger winning half of them, there&aposs not a lot of room for other players.” “There&aposs an unbelievable amount of talent out here, so it&aposs pretty amazing that more guys haven&apost.” Germany&aposs Alex Cejka was the leading European in the clubhouse, in a tie for seventh at three-under with Chalmers and Nitties. Northern Ireland teenager Rory McIlroy continued his great start as a professional in the United States by posting a two-under 68 to lie in a large group of players at two under for the week. McIlroy, 19, made his pro debut in America at last week&aposs WGC-Accenture Match Play in Tucson, Arizona, earning rave reviews Stateside as he reached the quarter-finals. World No.2 Sergio Garcia and Sweden&aposs Fredrik Jacobsen were in a group tied at one-under. Ernie Els, though, had to scramble to make the cut. The South African was four over and in need of a birdie at the par-five 18th to reach the weekend, which he accomplished with a seven-foot putt. Not so fortunate, though, was world No.9 Camilo Villegas whose second-round 74 left the Colombian at seven-over, four shots adrift of the cut mark, while England&aposs Justin Rose followed his first-round exit in Tucson last week by finishing 12 over for the tournament.