SEASIDE, Calif. – Matt Dobyns shot a 4-under 68 in windy conditions Monday to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Professional National Championship.
The 34-year-old Dobyns, the PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., had an 8-under 136 total. He played the Bayonet course, the site of the final two rounds, after opening at Black Horse on Sunday.
''I'm just happy to be here more than anything else,'' said Dobyns, making his first start in the tournament. ''Really I'm just happy to be playing golf, whether it's in this or at home with members. It doesn't matter what the venue is for me. I just love being out there. The fact that I'm playing well makes it a little more enjoyable, certainly. I get to play two more days and I'm excited about that.''
First-round leader Mike Small, the University of Illinois coach who won the event in 2005, '09 and '10, had a 73 at Bayonet to drop into a tie for second with Paul Scaletta at 5 under. Scaletta, a PGA assistant at The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Fla., shot a 72 at Bayonet.
''I salvaged my round with two birdies coming home, but for the most part, the things I did well yesterday, I didn't do well today,'' Small said. ''I didn't pay attention to detail today and that cost me. The wind was more difficult today than yesterday. The greens are drying out.''
The final top 20 will earn spots in the PGA Championship in August at Kiawah Island.
Dobyns plays right-handed and putts left-handed, using a cross-handed grip. He turned to the unconventional style when he was 19.
''When you miss enough putts, you need to find a way to figure it out,'' Dobyns said. ''That's what it comes down to. I needed to make a dramatic change. So I basically built it from scratch, took the knowledge I had and wasn't able to apply on the right side and then I turned around and just built a stroke left-handed.''
The former University of Texas player closed with a birdie on the 18th hole and needed only 25 putts on the demanding Bayonet layout.
''After I played the golf course, I knew that I had a chance because it really suited my eye,'' Dobyns said. ''I liked a lot of the tee shots, a lot of the framing. I was concerned about the contour of the greens and not being very familiar with them, but if you're careful and you pay attention, you can manage that somewhat and that's what I've done. Am I surprised? A little bit, but I'm not shocked.''
Matt Slowinski, a PGA assistant pro at Glen Oak Country Club in Glen Ellyn, Ill., had an albatross on the 518-yard, par-5 10th at Bayonet, holing out with a 5-iron from 205 yards. He missed the cut with rounds of 75 and 76.
''That shot was a career highlight,'' Slowinski said. ''We were in the fairway and I knew I hit a good shot but we didn't hear any applause.''