LaBelle Leads Gila River


2005 Gila River ClassicCHANDLER, Ariz. -- Doug LaBelle II fired his second straight bogey-free round -- an 8-under 64 -- to take the lead midway through the Gila River Golf Classic.
LaBelle stands at 14-under-par 130 for a one-stroke lead over Nick Cassini and David McKenzie at the Cattail Course at Whirlwind Golf Club. Cassini and co- overnight leader McKenzie held the clubhouse lead for a while on Friday after early rounds of 66 and 67, respectively.
Charley Hoffman matched LaBelle's 64 in the second round and leads three players tied for fourth place at minus-12. Jerry Smith (66) and Troy Matteson (66) are the others.
LaBelle's second bogey-free round included six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 second, which he also eagled during Thursday's round.
'My caddie told me (earlier this week) we had not had any bogey-free rounds together, and now we've had two,' said LaBelle, who has never won on the Nationwide Tour. 'To go around here for 72 holes without a bogey would be four really good rounds.'
An obvious statement, but one that could ring true if LaBelle continues to play consistent -- if somewhat unremarkable -- golf.
The 30-year-old Lansing, Michigan, native hit eight of 14 fairways in his second round, found 15 greens in regulation and needed just 27 putts to complete his round.
'I put the ball in the right place and kept the hole in front of me,' he acknowledged. 'It was nothing really unbelievable. My misses were in spots where I could play from.'
LaBelle has made just seven cuts in his 22 starts this season, but he showed promise this summer with a second-place finish at the Pete Dye Classic and a tie for sixth at the Canadian PGA Championship, both in July.
Cassini also pieced together a bogey-free second round after dropping just one shot on Thursday. He hit 17 greens in regulation.
'I'm hitting the ball well and giving myself a lot of birdie chances,' Cassini said. 'But the real key is I've only made one bogey the first two days.'
McKenzie's round included six birdies and just one bogey at the par-3 15th, where he three-putted. But that was a rare misstep in a round that included just 25 putts.
'We've still got a long way to go ... but I'm happy with my position at this point,' said McKenzie.
Scott Weatherly stands alone in seventh place at 11 under after a second-round 66. Robert Garrigus (66), Fran Quinn (67) and Camilo Villegas (66) are one stroke further back in a tie for eighth.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard -- Gila River Golf Classic

  • Full Coverage - Gila River Golf Classic