Entering second-round play tied at 8-under, both carded 4-under 68 at Palma Real Golf Club for a two-day total of 132. California surfer boy Bryan Saltus is just one shot back, while Mayson Petty of Charlotte, N.C., is at 10-under. Brad Fritsch of Manotick, ON is the top Canadian, five strokes behind the leaders.
Alex Quiroz of Mexico was the big mover of the day, vaulting from a tie for 61st to seventh with a 7-under 65.
After coming down with flu-like symptoms Thursday night, McKenzie, 34, didnt seem to show the effects during the second round, allowing him to keep pace with del Olmo, who received a sponsors exemption into the event. After an even-par 36 over his first nine holes, McKenzie reeled off birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 13 en route to a back-nine 32.
I feel awful right now, so I think I just need to get some sleep, said McKenzie moments after his round. I hit some good shots today, but I also missed a few short putts. I missed more greens in the first four holes today than I did all Thursday.
While obviously pleased with his position after 36 holes, McKenzie isnt about to let up. He knows it is what he does from here on in that will count.
If you dont shoot 4-under, you are going backwards. The score is great, but it wont matter if I am not around on Sunday.
The 32-year-old del Olmo, who is playing here during a break in the Asian Tour schedule, has missed just six of 36 greens in regulation through the opening two rounds. Should he win here and gain a Canadian Tour card, del Olmo admits he will weigh his options.
Its a well-organized Tour with a lot of guys that play at a high level, said del Olmo. If I win this weekend, I would consider playing here but would have to see how things go on the Asian Tour.
Saltus has spent most of this year trying to overcome a back injury that has limited his swing, something that hasnt been a problem over the first two days.
Its been hard to try to figure out golf, but I think I finally have the confidence to swing without thinking about my back, he admitted. It feels great to be within striking distance again. I wont do anything different on the weekend, thats for sure.
NOTES: Octavio Gonzalez of Mexico provided the drama for yet another crocodile tale Friday. After wading into the water to play an awkward shot on the par-5 13th, a full-grown croc reared its head from a drainage pipe a mere four feet behind Gonzalez as he finished his swing. Gonzalez high-tailed it out of the pond no worse for wear.