Gonzales stays in front at Soboba Classic
San Jacinto, CA (Sports Network) - Andres Gonzales fired a one-under 70 on Friday to stay in the lead after two rounds at the Soboba Golf Classic.
Gonzales carded three bogeys during a tough back nine to fall out of first, but birdied the last to head into the weekend as the solo leader. It was a different round than his first, when he played mistake-free golf on the way to a 67, but it was enough.
He sits at five-under-par 137, one stroke ahead of Shawn Stefani, who shot a three-under 68 on Friday to get into second place at the halfway point of the tournament.
Aaron Goldberg (68) and Joe Durant (67) share third at three-under 139.
Those near the top of the leaderboard are part of a select group of players to excel during a very tough tournament. The cut fell at four-over 146, and only 11 players sit below par.
Gonzales, still in search of his first Nationwide Tour victory, began to run away with the tournament thanks to a clean front nine. He birdied the second, then ran home two more at the fifth and sixth -- holes he also birdied on Thursday.
But after making the turn at minus-seven, he began to struggle. He bogeyed the 11th and 13th, both of which he gained strokes at a round earlier, and dropped another shot at the 17th to fall right back to four-under.
However, at the last, he drained a six-footer for birdie to move a shot in front of Stefani.
"The greens got bumpy towards the end of the day and the wind picked up," said Gonzales. "I played nicely on the front nine and then just missed some putts that could have gone in but didn't. That's golf."
Stefani began on the 10th tee Friday, and mixed two birdies and two bogeys during his first nine holes. But after making the turn at minus-one, he immediately started to climb the leaderboard. He rolled in consecutive birdies at one and two, then added another at the seventh.
Stefani is in contention a week after making the cut at the Houston Open, a PGA Tour event. He finished tied for 36th.
"I think knowing that I can compete with those guys on a golf course like that with a good field gives me a lot of confidence to play well," Stefani, who has shot 14 consecutive rounds below par, said.
Goldberg and Durant limited their mistakes on Friday to get into contention. Durant had only one bogey to counter five birdies. Goldberg had two bogeys, but also sank five birdies -- including at the first and last.
Reid Edstrom (69) and Alistair Presnell (68) are tied for fifth at two-under, while a group of five holds seventh. Roger Tambellini (70), Justin Bolli (72), Jason Allred (71), Andrew Svoboda (70) and Aaron Watkins (71) have managed to go one shot under par through two rounds.
NOTES: Stefani has never won on the Nationwide Tour...Durant owns four PGA Tour wins, with the last coming in 2006...Will MacKenzie (illness), Brett Wetterich (back injury) and Alex Cejka all withdrew during the second round...Brenden Pappas was disqualified after signing in incorrect scorecard after round two. Stuart Anderson was also disqualified.
04/06 23:21:12 ET