McNealy eagles last hole for PGA lead

Michael NagamanAAP
Maverick McNealy eagled the last hole to take a two-shot lead at the PGA's Fortinet Championship.
Camera IconMaverick McNealy eagled the last hole to take a two-shot lead at the PGA's Fortinet Championship. Credit: AP

Maverick McNealy overcame three consecutive bogeys and holed out from 74 yards for eagle on the last to sign for an eight-under 64 and the second-round lead in the Fortinet Championship.

Winless in 66 career starts on the PGA Tour, McNealy had nine birdies - one from a greenside bunker to offset his stumbles to get to 12 under at Silverado Resort and Spa.

Beau Hossler matched McNealy's 64 to get to six under with Mito Pereira (67). Three others, including tour rookie of the year Will Zalatoris (67), were nine under.

First-round leader Chez Reavie barely made the cut after a round of 75 that included five bogeys and a double bogey left him eight strokes behind. Phil Mickelson (69) was seven back at five under.

McNealy, who missed the cut here a year ago, began the day three shots off the pace after an opening 68, but made that up quickly with birdies on three of his first four holes.

The 25-year-old Northern California native was nine under at the turn before stumbling when his approach shot on No.1 sailed into a greenside bunker. McNealy had to scramble for bogey, dropped another shot on the next hole when a short putt missed long, then fell to six under after going into a greenside bunker again.

One of McNealy's bogeys came after his tee shot on No.3 ricocheted backward off a tree and went 50 yards down a cart path.

"Actually I think a golf cart ran over my ball so I had to take a drop," said McNealy, ranked 110th. "The front nine I played just about flawless golf. Made the turn and it's funny how things go. All of a sudden I made three bogeys in a row."

McNealy got back on track with a 10-foot birdie putt on No.4. Two more birdies followed before he made a brilliant shot out of a bunker for another birdie on seven. After a par on eight, McNealy left his approach short on the, 571-yard, par-5 final hole, then used a sand wedge to hit a bump-and-run that rolled in for eagle.

"I was actually a little nervous because it looked like it landed in a pitch mark and then shot forward and right," McNealy said. "Turns out it was a great kick."

That left McNealy in good shape heading into the weekend as he seeks his first tour victory.

Australia's Aaron Baddeley shot a 68 to move up 53 spots to be tied 24th. At five under, he is seven behind McNealy and one ahead of compatriots Cameron Percy (69) and Marc Leishman (71).

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