|Taking advantage of a late tee time Kyle Stanley shot 66 to take a one stroke lead. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)|
Delighted to be 5 under par at the midway point of the windy
A few hours later, his lead was gone.
The gusts of more than 20 miles per hour abated some, and Kyle Stanley took advantage with his late tee time yesterday, shooting a 4-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Sabbatini.
Stanley, seeking his first PGA Tour title, was at 6-under 134. Sabbatini shot a 64, matching the tournament’s best round since it moved to PGA National in 2007.
Charl Schwartzel was third at 3 under after a 69, and Ricky Barnes (68), Jerry Kelly (67), Stuart Appleby (70), and Tommy Gainey (67) were 2 under.
Stanley had six birdies, including three in a row, to offset two bogeys. He was 1 under on holes 15 through 17, the daunting stretch known as the Bear Trap.
“The wind probably wasn’t as strong as it was Thursday,’’ Stanley said. “Late in my round it wasn’t really a factor.’’
Stanley, 23, played at Clemson, turned pro in 2009 and had a career-best 13th-place finish last week in the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
“I feel like I’ve been playing well all year but haven’t quite put four good rounds together,’’ he said. “I’m getting better, and that’s the main thing.’’
Among those five shots behind at 1 under were Lee Westwood, who fell to No. 2 in the rankings this week behind Martin Kaymer, and first-round leader Spencer Levin. Westwood shot a 69, and Levin a 72.
Matt Kuchar’s tour-best streak of 153 consecutive holes without a three-putt ended, but he shot a 70 and was also 1 under. He won the tournament in 2002.
The cut was at 6 over, highest on the tour this year. But the scores improved in the second round to an average of 72.3, compared with 73.9 in the opening round.
“It was much tougher Thursday morning than it was this afternoon,’’ Kelly said. “On Thursday you couldn’t hear anything; it was like a freight train coming through. Today you could hear people talking and things like that.’’
The wind was still stout yesterday morning, however, and had many players scrambling. Defending champion Camilo Villegas missed the cut, shooting a 78 that put him 17 over. Mike Weir had four double bogeys and a triple en route to a career-worst 85, leaving him 22 over.
Frank Chirkinian, the longtime golf producer for
Chirkinian died yesterday at his home in North Palm Beach, Fla., after a long bout with lung cancer, his son said. He was surrounded by friends and family.