Allred makes charge at Wyndham
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Jason Allred put on a late charge and not only made the cut, but moved up the leaderboard in the Wyndham Championship Friday.
The Ashland product made an eagle and two birdies over his final five holes to finish off a round of 4-under-par 66 and move into a tie for 28th place heading into the weekend. He’s at 135, five shots off the lead.
Allred isn’t a member of the PGA Tour, but he has non-member earnings this year that would rank him 130th on the money list. If he’s able to move up five spots and finish this week in the top 125, he’d earn exemption on the tour for next season.
Allred had an afternoon start on the 10th tee at Sedgefield Country Club and got off to a nondescript beginning. He was 1 over and tied for 87th place through five holes. Then he birdied his sixth and eighth holes to begin what would be a stretch of 5 under in 12 holes, with a bogey thrown in.
On his 14th hole, the 529-yard par-5 fifth, he hit a 301-yard drive, then knocked his next shot to about 12 feet and made the putt.
He made an 8-foot birdie on the next hole and a 5-footer on his 17th.
Allred played the first six holes in 5 under on Day 1. He’s 7 under on Holes 1-8 over two rounds.
Allred and Michael Thompson tee off at 8:17 a.m. Pacific time today. The tournament will air on the Golf Channel at 10 a.m. and switch to CBS at noon.
Others are playing for high stakes as well.
Heath Slocum needs a strong finish to earn a spot in the PGA Tour’s postseason. Scott Langley isn’t on the playoff bubble — but he sure knows how his friend is feeling.
Slocum and Langley each shot 5-under 65 for the second straight day Friday to share the lead at 10-under 130.
Brian Stuard, Nick Watney, Martin Laird and Andrew Svoboda were a stroke back. Watney and Svoboda shot 64, Stuard had a 65 and Laird a 66.
Ryo Ishikawa had the best round of the day — a 62 that was one stroke off the course record and included six birdies on the back nine.
In what’s become an annual rite of mid-August, the field is littered with players trying to prolong their seasons for at least one more week by cracking the top 125 on the points list and qualifying for the first round of the playoffs, which begin next week at The Barclays in New Jersey.
Langley isn’t one of them. The second-year pro’s main concern is chasing his first PGA Tour victory. He isn’t feeling quite as much stress as he did here last year, when he missed the cut yet squeaked into The Barclays at No. 124.
“Last year, so much going through my head as a rookie, not knowing how to handle it,” Langley said. “I was thinking a little too much about things that I really have no control over in terms of keeping my card, what other guys are doing. Lesson learned.”
Langley ran off three straight birdies early in his round and closed with two in a row after putting both of his approach shots less than 6 feet from the stick. At No. 81 on the points list, his spot next week is safe.
Slocum’s isn’t. He’s at No. 158 but is well aware that if you can somehow get into the playoffs, anything can happen.
Five years ago, he made the playoffs “by the skin of my teeth” at No. 124 — and then went on to win The Barclays.
“I came into this week trying to create a little bit of momentum for me to whether I could somehow get myself into the playoffs or the (Web.com) finals,” Slocum said.
Slocum had seven birdies and moved atop the leaderboard after a run of four in a row late during his second consecutive 65. He’s in position to challenge for his fifth PGA Tour victory and first since the McGladrey Classic in 2010.
“I do miss this feeling of being in contention,” Slocum said. “Not being in contention for a while, I’m going to savor it.”
First-round leader Camilo Villegas, who opened with a 63, shot 69 and was in a pack of players two strokes back. He had three birdies but closed his round with his first two bogeys of the tournament, coming on the 17th and 18th.
Among those bubble players hoping to play their way into the postseason, No. 125 Paul Casey shot a 69 to move to 6 under and put himself well past the cut line of 2 under.
Others ran into trouble: No. 122 Robert Allenby, No. 127 Charlie Beljan and No. 128 Greg Chalmers were among the borderline players who missed the cut.