They both put themselves in some tough spots during Friday's second round, and the seasoned pro handled it better than the TOUR rookie.
'It's a miracle I don't have any bogeys yet, considering the places I hit it today,' Calcavecchia said after his 3-under 69 vaulted him from second place to the top of the leaderboard.
The 47-year-old former British Open champ stood at 9 under, one shot ahead of Lucas Glover (69) and Nick Watney (67).
'I shot the lowest score humanly possible today, considering the places I was,' said Calcavecchia, who won the PODS Championship last month for his 13th PGA TOUR title. 'It kind of reminded me of Tiger Woods, who seems to make every 10-foot par put he looks at when he needs to.'
Reifers, who shot a course-record 64 on Thursday, repeatedly pulled shots left off of the tee, costing him his first two bogeys of the tournament as he failed to consolidate the two-shot lead he had when the day began. He finished with a 73, leaving him tied for fourth at 7 under with Charley Hoffman (69).
'I just couldn't buy one. I felt like I was hitting good putts and they just didn't drop,' Reifers said. 'I'm only two off the lead so I can't complain. I want to get on that back nine on Sunday and have a chance to win. So I didn't shoot myself in the foot too bad.'
Certainly, it could have been worse, but the 23-year-old impressively saved par twice on the back nine, where he started his second round.
On No. 13, his drive laded at the base of a towering cypress tree that blocked his view of the green. With his back pressed against the trunk, his ball surrounded by protruding roots known as cypress knees, he chopped the ball into the middle of the fairway about 92 yards from the pin.
'Those aren't fun ones, just hitting it 4 yards. It's like giving away a shot,' Reifers said.
His next shot landed 4 feet from the hole, setting up his par putt.
On the picturesque par-3 17th, with an alligator lurking in the water nearby, he missed the green on his tee shot, then botched his chip so badly that one spectator could be heard hollering, 'That's horrible,' as the ball skidded nearly 31 feet past the pin. He redeemed himself with a one-putt that quickly turned the gallery in his favor, then he tossed his ball into the crowd.
Moving to the front nine, he birdied the par-4 fourth after hitting an approach shot from to the rough to within 9 feet of the hole.
It was the first time in his young career Reifers had begun a second or later round of a PGA TOUR event with the lead.
'I didn't feel out of place. I didn't feel like I didn't belong,' Reifers said. 'I just didn't hit it the way I wanted to off the tee and got into some squirrelly places and was kind of grinding all day.'
Calcavecchia made what he termed 'miraculous pars' with one-putts of about 11 and 8 feet on the sixth and eighth holes. Both putts came after he had hit into bunkers with difficult uphill lies.
On No. 15, his approach shot went over the green, then his chip about 9 feet past the pin. He putted in from there to save par. On the par-3 17th, he needed two shots to hit the green, then made par again with a 10-footer. He finished with a crowd pleasing 29-foot put to end his round on No. 18, holding his club in the air as the ball dropped.
'Maybe I'm wising up a little,' said Calcavecchia, who credited a calmer mental approach to his 20th-place finish at the Masters two weeks ago. He said he easily could have turned that 20th place into a 40th or 50th 'like I have in the past by losing it a little bit ... and doing some stupid things.'
Just don't try to call him more mature.
'No. I'll never mature,' Calcavecchia said. 'I'll be a kid until I'm dead.'
The cut was at 1 under, meaning 85 golfers moved on to the final two rounds. Boo Weekley, last weekend's winner at Hilton Head, S.C., was not among them after finishing his second round at 5 over. ... Six players finished the second round tied for sixth at 6 under, just three shots off the lead. They were Daniel Chopra, Wes Short Jr., Paul Stankowski, Jason Schultz, Steve Wheatcroft and Chris Stroud. Stroud was at 8 under before he hit into the water on No. 9, his final hole of the round, and ended his round with a double bogey. ... With Watney one shot back and Reifers and Hoffman two shots behind, chances were good that a first-time PGA winner could emerge from New Orleans' tour stop for the fifth time in the last six years. ... Former LSU star David Toms again had a large gallery following him. With a birdie on No. 8, he managed a 73 to go 4 under through the first two rounds. Because Reifers was fell back to into the field a bit, Toms predicted that 'anyone who makes the cut will have a chance.' ... After several players sponsored by Titleist played the opening rounds with Virginia Tech hats to show support for the university reeling from the murders of 32 people earlier this week, the PGA Tour received donated hats with the schools colors and trademark 'VT' to give to all players during Saturday's third round.
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