Molder Kribel Still Lead Clearwater Classic


Bryce Molder and Joel Kribel each shot rounds of 3-under 69 Friday to maintain their position atop the leaderboard through 36 holes of the Holden Clearwater Classic in Australia. The former college standouts from the U.S. finished two rounds at 9-under-par 135, one shot ahead of fellow American Brad Ott and Australians Anthony Painter and Peter O'Malley.
Molder made his way around the Clearwater Resort course without a bogey for a second straight day. He seemed to be headed for a very low score with two birdies in the first three holes, but cooled down from there with 14 pars and a birdie at the par-5 14th.
The four-time first-team All-American from Georgia Tech hit just eight of 14 fairway in the second round, but found 15 of 18 greens in regulation. He tallied 30 putts, three more than he needed during his opening 66 from Thursday.
Molder is seeking to improve upon his second-place finish from last week's Jacobs Creek Open Championship in Australia. He owned a one-shot lead midway through the back nine in the final round at Kooyonga Golf Club, then stumbled home with four consecutive bogeys to finish two strokes behind winner Gavin Coles.
Kribel birdied the same three par-5s as he did in Round 1 - the second, fifth and 14th - before birdieing the par-4 17th to take the outright lead at 10-under par. He bogeyed the 18th for the second day in a row, setting up a third-round pairing with Molder.
'I haven't played that much with Joel in the past but we know each other well, so the weekend should be fun,' said the 23-year-old Molder, who shares the same birthday with Kribel but is two years his junior.
Kribel, a teammate of Tiger Woods while at Stanford, lost 2-and-1 to Matt Kuchar in the final match of the finals of the 1997 U.S. Amateur at Cog Hill.
Ott posted seven birdies against two bogeys for a 67, while Painter matched the low round of the tournament with a 66. He was mistake-free with four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 second.
O'Malley, who fell off the pace with two bogeys over his first 10 holes, battled back with five straight birdies. He finished with a 69.
'After I woke up I started hitting them pretty close and dropped in some birdies,' said O'Malley, who pulled off a stunning upset of Woods in the first round of the WGC-World Match Play Championship three weeks ago.
Americans Charles Warren (66) and Tommy Biershenk (67), and Aussies Stephen Leaney (69) and Nick O'Hern (70) were two shots back at 7-under 137.
1988 Western Open winner Jim Benepe (70) and Kevin Wentworth (70) finished tied at minus-six.
A total of 67 players made the cut, which fell at 1-under-par 143.
Two-time Australian Open winner Aaron Baddeley missed the cut for a second straight week. His rounds of 77-74 included eight bogeys and two double-bogeys.
The Holden Clearwater Classic, the second of two Buy.Com Tour events co-sanctioned with the Australasian Tour, is the richest golf tournament to be held in New Zealand.
Full field scores from the Clearwater Classic