Brazilian on Top at Reno-Tahoe Open


Alexander Rocha had a fine second round at the Reno-Tahoe Open. The 34-year-old Brazilian totaled a whopping 16 points Friday to jump into the lead in the $3 million PGA Tour stop, which started Thursday at Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nev.

Rocha, who's accumulated 10 wins internationally but none on the PGA or European tours, carded seven birdies, an eagle on the par-5 13th and three bogeys to reach 24 points through 36 holes, two ahead of John Mallinger and J.J. Henry. For the first year, a Stableford format is being used at the popular tournament.

Mallinger racked up 11 points thanks to six birdies and a bogey, while Henry totaled 12 points off five birdies, an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole, and three bogeys.

The points for the format are: double eagle 8 points, eagle 5, birdie 2, par 0, bogey -1 point and double-bogey or worse -3.

"Played solid the last two days," said Mallinger, who's still looking for his first Tour victory. "This is a new format for me. I've never played it before. I'm just trying to get used to it to just, you know, getting the score out of my mind and just playing golf. I think it's actually helped me to have the scoring situation. So overall I just basically made one bogey today and played solid all day. You know, finally started to make some putts, which helps."

"I think I was still asleep the first two holes in the morning," said Henry, who got off to a rugged start with two straight bogeys. "Actually hit good drives and a couple shaky approach shots that let to two bogeys. I knew coming in that I was playing really well. Obviously excited about being here. I've had some past success here. I've enjoyed coming here. Obviously as much as you would like to be playing in Akron, this is a definitely a fun place to come. Again, I've enjoyed my time here in Reno Tahoe and have had some past success here. I think I finished maybe top 5 once or twice in the past.

"You know, it's all about controlling the distance out here," Henry said in reference to Reno's 4,500-foot elevation. "I'm sure that's obviously what everybody says, but between elevation and then uphill, downhill and then you factor in some swirling winds, you know, it's important to keep the ball in play. If you do and you control your distances, you're going to have some pretty good spots," added Henry, whose sole Tour title came in 2006 at the Buick Championship.

I think this is a great golf course for this format. I'm so glad the tournament decided to go this route. Obviously the players used to love playing the International in Castle Pines in Denver. To have an event like this on a golf course which in a lot of ways is similar, you know. And the fact that you're at altitude and there is a lot of risk/reward, I think it sets up for a lot of excitement both for the players and fans."

First-round leader Andres Romero of Argentina followed up his 14-point opening round with 7 points Friday with six birdies and five bogeys. He's tied for fourth with India's Arjun Atwal (14 points).

Matt Bettencourt, the 2010 champion at Reno, is in sixth with 20 points thanks to an eagle on the par-5 13th, five birdies and three bogeys. Henry is hoping to atone being unable to defending his title last year, when he had to withdraw beforehand due to injury. "Yeah, so disappointing last year," said the 37-year-old Californian.

"I was so looking forward to coming out and defending my title, and it was just the biggest disappointment of the year. So, yeah, really excited to be back and feeling well and just enjoying the course and the town. I just love it here."

Two-time major winner John Daly is in solo seventh with 19 points through after, over two days, racking up 13 birdies, four bogeys and a double Friday on the par-5 13th hole.

J.B. Holmes and Hunter Haas completed their rounds and had 18 points apiece. The cut was set at 7 points. Holmes, who's been coming back from a couple of brain surgeries, put up nine birdies and a bogey for the day's best round of 17 points and is in good position for his third PGA Tour victory, and first since the 2008 FBR Open.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboards/current/r472.


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