Date: April 18, 2009
Author: PA Sport and Sportal

Pampling stays in touch

Australian Rod Pampling remains three strokes adrift of the lead at the halfway point of the Verizon Heritage. Pampling posted a 68 for the second day in a row to be in fifth place at six-under and has leader Brian Gay (nine under) within his sights. Pampling began his second round with a bogey on the 10th tee but picked up birdies at No.12 and 17. He bogeyed the 1st hole too but reeled off three birdies in his final eight holes to record a three-under-par round. New Zealander Tim Wilkinson is the next-best Australasian on four-under in a share of seventh position. Gay charged into the halfway lead as former Open champion Todd Hamilton made a timely return to form. Gay shot a five-under-par 66 at Harbour Town Golf Links thanks to six birdies on the front nine that got him out in 30. A bogey at the 11th was the only blemish as Gay fell back to nine under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of fellow American Hamilton. “The front nine was awesome, I got hot with the putter and made five in a row there on the front,” Gay said. “I played real solid on the back. The wind was tough and swirling a lot, and I hit a lot of tough shots. I was just lucky to get it close to the hole.” Hamilton had scored his first top-20 finish of the campaign last week with a tie for 15th at The Masters having made the cut for only the third time in 10 starts in this the final season of his five-year exemption on the US PGA Tour for winning the 2004 Open at Troon. The American&aposs bid to retain his card via the money list got a big boost on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, however, when he shot a bogey-free, five-under-par second-round 66. That sent him into the early clubhouse lead at eight under for the first 36 holes, and he will start the third round in second place. “I was allowed a five-year exemption for winning The Open in &apos04 and this is the final year for that,” Hamilton said. “So I need to do something.” “I felt like this was going to be a good year. And getting off to a slow start, I think that&aposs when I started thinking, man, you better start doing something and not waste your opportunity.” “You&aposve got one year of a free pass left, you better start getting after it.” Aussies Nathan Green and Aron Price are on one-under in equal 27th spot, Stephen Leaney and Nick O&aposHern are even in a tie for 36th position while Aaron Baddeley, Mathew Goggin and Peter Lonard are all a stroke further back on one-over. Germany&aposs Alex Cejka is seven under in equal third after posting a level-par 71 having shot an opening 64 on Thursday to secure the first-round lead. Cejka began his second round poorly with back-to-back bogeys, his first of the week, on his 3rd and 4th holes having started from the 10th tee. The German had a birdie at the par-five 15th, his sixth, and moved to within a stroke of Hamilton with a second successive birdie at his 7th, only to fall back to six under par with a bogey at the par-three 17th, where he had sunk a 47-foot putt the previous day for birdie. Two birdies and a bogey followed on his inward nine to keep Cejka on seven under and level with American Lee Janzen, who carded a 70. Former US PGA champion Davis Love III was on five under following a 67. Rory Sabbatini of South Africa was in the clubhouse with a 68 that took him to four under in a five-man group. Spanish veteran Jose Maria Olazabal opened with a three-under 68 and the two-time Masters champion followed that with a second-round 71 to stay at three under at the halfway mark in a group including Tom Lehman and Ernie Els, who also hit a 71. Els&apos South African compatriot Trevor Immelman slipped down the leaderboard with 74 having shot a 66 on day one and will resume on Saturday at two-under, as will England&aposs Greg Owen, who shot a 71, and Jeev Milkha Singh of India. English duo Paul Casey and Luke Donald both carded 70s to move to one-over while Northern Ireland&aposs Rory McIlroy undid a good round with a double bogey at the par-four 18th that sent him down to one-over with a 71. Sweden&aposs Fredrik Jacobson birdied his last hole to make the cut on the line at two-over but compatriot Carl Pettersson and American former US Open champion Jim Furyk were among those finishing on the wrong side of the mark at three-over. Another Swede Daniel Chopra also has the weekend off following a 76 that took him to five-over. Meanwhile, Australians Robert Allenby, John Senden, Steve Elkington, Jarrod Lyle, Greg Chalmers, Marc Leishman and James Nitties all missed the cut too. Verizon Heritage After Round 2 -9: Brian Gay 67 66 -8: Todd Hamilton 68 66 -7: Alex Cejka 64 71, Lee Janzen 65 70 -6: Rod Pampling (Australia) 68 68 -5: Davis Love III 70 67 -4: Tim Petrovic 68 70, Rory Sabattini 70 68, Scott Verplank 72 66, Tommy Armour III 70 68, Ted Purdy 67 71, Tim Wilkinson (New Zealand) 71 67 -3: Scott Piercy 69 70, Jose Maria Olazabal 68 71, Tom Lehman 70 69, Charley Hoffman 70 69, Ernie Els 68 71, Bob Estes 68 71, Tommy Gainey 71 68, Ken Duke 69 70 Also: -1: Nathan Green (Australia) 70 71, Aron Price (Australia) 68 73 E: Stephen Leaney (Australia) 68 74, Nick O Hern (Australia) 72 70 +1: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 75 68, Matthew Goggin (Australia) 73 70, Peter Lonard (Australia) 72 71 +3: John Senden (Australia) 74 71, Marc Leishman (Australia) 72 73, Steve Elkington (Australia) 71 74, Robert Allenby (Australia) 73 72 +5: Jarrod Lyle (Australia) 73 74 +6: Greg Chalmers (Australia) 76 72 +9: James Nitties (Australia) 74 77