Four birdies in the first 10 holes of his second round helped Jeff Overton into a share of the lead at the Honda Classic today with Rory McIlroy handily poised heading into the weekend.
American Overton, without a PGA Tour win in 85 events, had started the day at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a shot behind four-under-par overnight leader Robert Allenby of Australia.
He got off to a great start with birdies at the first and second holes before turning with back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th to move to seven under for the tournament, one shot ahead of Will Mackenzie, who posted a 67 for the second round in a row to reach six under at the halfway mark, and Allenby, who followed his opening 66 with a 68.
A bogey five at the 13th, however, sent Overton back in line with Mackenzie and Allenby.
Ben Crane was lying a shot back in fourth having carded a five-under-par second-round 65 with John Rollins fifth on four under for the tournament after 14 holes.
Germany’s Alex Cejka was the leading European in the clubhouse, in a tie for sixth at three under alongside Australian Greg Chalmers, who shot a 64, and American David Mathis, who had reached the seventh.
McIlroy continued his great start as a professional in the United States by posting a two-under 68 today to lie in a large group of players at two under for the week.
McIlroy had made his pro debut in America at last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play in Tucson, Arizona, earning rave reviews Stateside as he reached the quarter-finals before losing to eventual winner Geoff Ogilvy.
World number two Sergio Garcia, Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobsen and Ireland's Darren Clarke were in a group tied at one under but Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas were among those golfers hovering around the projected cut mark of three over par.
South African Els was four over after 10 holes of his second round, while Villegas of Colombia was five over through 11 holes.
Definitely on his way out, though, was England’s Justin Rose, who followed his first-round exit in Tucson last week with rounds of 73 and 79, 12 over for the tournament.