First-round leader John Restino struggled with a 1-over 72 to finish alongside Anthony Rodriguez, John Wilson, Brian Claar, Dave Schreyer, Doug Garwood, Joel Kribel and Jeff Sanday at 7-under-par 135.
McLardy played the back nine first at Empire Lakes Golf Course and made his first birdie of the day at the par-five 11th. McLardy then hit a wedge to eight feet for birdie at the 13th and knocked an 8-iron inside three feet for birdie at the 14th.
He continued his fine play with a birdie at the 16th to make the turn at minus-8.
'I got off to a great start today,' said McLardy. 'Unfortunately I didn't build on my start on the front nine.'
McLardy found trouble with a bogey at the par-5 fifth but countered with a birdie at the very next hole.
'If I could have birdied No. 5 it would have been a really good round of golf,' said McLardy.
Gonzalez started on the front nine and picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-4 fourth before going on a stretch of four consecutive birdies starting at the sixth to jump to 10-under.
Gonzalez, who is playing in only his sixth event of the season, faltered with two bogeys on the inward nine to join McLardy in a share of the lead.
Both leaders were fortunate enough to play in the morning before the winds picked up later in the afternoon.
'It got tough out there on those last five or six holes,' said Claar. 'The wind definitely played a factor.'
Brian Wilson shot a 5-under 66 to finish two shots off the lead. Wilson was joined by Barry Cheesman, Steve Haskins, Tjaart van der Walt, Todd Fischer and Andy Miller at 6-under-par 136.
Defending champion D.A. Points carded his second straight round of 70 to make the cut on the number at 2-under-par 140. A total of 60 players survived the 36-hole cut.
Full-field scores for the State Farm Open