Sabbatini Mallinger tied at Byron Nelson

By Associated PressMay 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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IRVING, Texas ' John Mallinger knew he had a perfect lie in the bunker. Next came the perfect shot for an eagle, which he only knew for sure because of what he heard.
 
I actually didnt see the ball go in because I was so deep, Mallinger said. But I heard my buddies yelling, so it was good.
 
Mallinger holed that 45-foot shot from the sand at No. 7, and had another eagle at the only other par 5 at the TPC Four Seasons on his way to a 5-under 65. That gave him a share of the second-round lead with Rory Sabbatini (64) at 8-under 132, a stroke ahead of five players.
 
2000 champion Jesper Parnevik is three shots back. (Getty Images)
Sabbatini had a season-low round, including four consecutive birdies following an unconventional par.
 
My par on No. 3 was better than any of the birdies, Sabbatini said. I drove it in the water, then hit a 5-iron in the right greenside bunker, then holed it. Just a regulation par.
 
That 96-foot par-saving bunker blast came at the 528-yard third hole, his 12th of the day. He then pitched inside 9 feet at Nos. 4 and 6, made a 13-footer at the 174-yard fifth and two-putted from 65 feet at par-5 7th.
 
Mallinger, who tied for third at The Players Championship earlier this month to match a career-best finish, got back even for his round with a 16-foot birdie at the par-4 sixth. He immediately followed that with his first eagle and another birdie.
 
He gave strokes back with bogeys at Nos. 11 and 12, but finished with four consecutive 3s ' the second eagle, two birdies and a par in that closing stretch.
 
I was proud of myself for coming back, said Mallinger, who got even with Sabbatini after his 15-foot birdie at No. 18. It was kind of slipping away. Now were in a perfect spot.
 
First-round co-leader James Nitties (68) was in the group at 7 under along with Brian Davis (65), Briny Baird (64), James Driscoll (66) and Dustin Johnson (65).
 
Nitties, the fun-loving PGA Tour rookie who had predicted his biggest challenge of the second round would be his 7:25 a.m. tee time, hit his first tee shot way left out of bounds and opened with a double bogey.
 
It was a poor start, theres no excuse, Nitties said.
 
But Nitties didnt let it carry over. He responded with eight consecutive pars before five birdies in a seven-hole stretch.
 
Davis, in the same group with Nitties, had a double bogey when he three-putted from 5 feet at No. 12. That was his only miscue of the day.
 
Driscoll, who lost in a playoff to Zach Johnson last week in the Texas Open, got to 9 under before finishing with consecutive bogeys. He three-putted the 198-yard 17th and missed the fairway off the tee at No. 18.
 
It stinks to end like that, but I did a lot of things great out there, too, Driscoll said. So its kind of what Im going to focus on.
 
Davis and Driscoll both have six consecutive rounds in the 60s. Davis has the longest active streak on the PGA Tour with 18 straight rounds of par or better.
 
Defending champion Adam Scott missed the cut by three strokes after consecutive 71s. Since a runner-up finish at the Sony Open in January and two World Golf Championship events that have no cuts, Scott has missed the cut and gone without a paycheck his last six tournaments.
 
Divots: Ken Duke, who shared the first-round lead, shot a 69 and was two strokes back with Robert Allenby (67) and D.A. Points (66). Justin Leonard had the best round of the day, a 7-under 63. That followed his opening 75. With inclement weather forecast for Saturday afternoon, players will tee off early in threesomes off Nos. 1 and 10. Sabbatini, Mallinger and Davis tee off at 9:30 a.m. local time. David Toms missed the cut, but still has a chance to earn exemptions to the U.S. Open and British Open as long as more than two players behind him do not knock him out of the top 50 in the world ranking. Among the closest behind Toms, who is No. 47, are Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell and Ben Crane. All of them made the cut in either the Nelson or in Europe.
 
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