Roberto Castro and James Hahn still sit atop the leaderboard after Friday’s 2nd round at the Humana Challenge presented by the Clinton Foundation. Castro is in just his 2nd year as a pro but has played well through 36 holes shooting a 14 under 130. James Hahn is in his rookie season on the PGA after a long journey but the 31 year old finally got his card and is currently tied for the lead. These are two relatively fresh golfers that are leading a field of 156, albeit not crème de la crème of the golf world but still.
The fact that these boys are still ahead is a feat of its own although it will be difficult to hold off their competitors. There is no Friday cut because this tournament is played on 3 courses and every player must get the opportunity to play each course. That being said there are 32 golfers within 4 shots and 59 within 6 so anything can happen.
Roberto Castro played the Palmer Friday starting off of the 10th tee and he continued the success of Thursday until the final three holes. Castro had a bogey free 32 through 9 and worked his way to 7 under scoring birdie on 3 of the first 6 holes on the back nine. He was 16 under through 33 holes without a blemish on his scorecard for 2 rounds until he bogeyed his 16th hole of the day, the 7th. He would shoot par on 8 before missing a 6 foot putt for par on 9. He dropped 2 strokes in the final three holes.
James Hahn started off the 10th at the La Quinta Country Club scoring birdies on both par 5’s but bogeying the par 4 16th. Hahn started to gain momentum on the front birdieing the par 4 4th before heading to the courses back-to-back par 5’s at holes 5 and 6. Hahn would blast his drive off the 5th tee box over 300 yards leaving him about 220 to the flagstick. Hahn would hit his approach shot with a 3-iron but it landed in the center of the green and rolled off the back edge. Hahn had two chip-ins yesterday and did so again for eagle on Friday. He answered his eagle with a birdie on 6 and through holes 4-6 he was 4 under allowing him to finish with his 5 under 67.
There are three fellows just a stroke behind Hahn and Castro who all shot 66 on Thursday and followed that with 65’s today. Darron Stiles and Scott Stallings both recorded their 7 under par scores at the La Quinta course while Lee did it at the Palmer. Seems as if the LQ was friendly today as Stiles and Stallings had just one bogey between them. Stallings has yet to record a bogey in the first two rounds, while Stiles came on the par 3 15th. Richard Lee had a bogey of his own on the 7th hole at the Palmer course but he had a chance to tie for the lead on the 18th green. He had a 44 foot eagle putt that would have given him a 64 but it didn’t have enough and came to a stop about 4 feet short. He would knock that in for birdie, finishing with a 65 and putting him, Stile and Stallings all at 13 under on the tournament.
There was another fellow tied for the lead entering this round, Jason Kokrak, but as of now he sits 2 back after shooting a 3 under 69. He shot a relatively clean round with 4 birdies and a bogey on the par 4 9th hole at the Nicklaus course. There are 9 other golfers tied with Kokrak 2 off the lead including Charles Howell III, Aaron Baddeley, Zach Johnson, and Lee Williams. David Lingmerth is also 12 under because of a red hot start teeing off the back 9 of the Nicklaus course carding 7 birdies, a par and a bogey. He would follow that by scoring 5 birdies and a bogey on the front 9 giving him an 8 under 64 and jumping up 42 spots on the leaderboard with the best round of the day.
Phil Mickelson started putting together some decent shots after a shaky first round, scoring a 72 on the LQ course. He started off the 10th tee at Nicklaus would find himself 5 under through 13 holes before shooting par on the final 5 holes. Phil was most excited about his last two holes, because things just started to feel right. One of those holes was the par 5 8th where Lefty would 3 putt for par, but it felt right. Mickelson started to show signs but he’s still a few swings away and if he looks to become a 3-time winner of the Humana Challenge (’02.’04), he needs to start stringing together some birdies by making putts.
In the celebrity portion of this pro-am we saw that Michael Bolton came back to reality and his 12 handicap. He was tied for the lead after an adjusted 13 under but shot 2 over par on Friday to fall from the top. Eric Dickerson is tied with Bolton at 11 under and they are 3 shots behind Randy Blackwood, Jack Jacobson and Scott Wade. Carson Daly is 10 under through two days while Carlton, I mean Alfonso Ribeiro, is at 5 under despite being a scratch golfer and one of the best handicaps in the field. Marshall Faulk is at 8 under while Grant Fuhr and Alice Cooper sit at 7 under. Ozzie Smith suffered the biggest fall from grace of the “big name” celebrities shooting a 10 under after adjusting to his 4 handicap yesterday to losing 6 strokes on Friday and sitting near the bottom of the field at 4 under.