Cabrera, Flores tied for lead at Quail Hollow
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Angel Cabrera made two exquisite shots late in the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship on Friday to claim a share of the lead alongside Martin Flores.
The Argentine finished with a 3-under 69 to lead a PGA Tour event after 36 holes for the first time since the 2007 U.S. Open.
With one of the most powerful and reliable swings in golf, the mystery about the 44-year-old Cabrera is that his only two on the PGA Tour are majors — Oakmont for the U.S. Open, and Augusta National when he won the Masters in a playoff in 2009.
“I’m of course happy to be in position to win this tournament, but every time I go out and play, I’m hoping to win,” Cabrera said. “It’s difficult to know exactly when you’re going to play well. I don’t think anybody knows when they’re going to play well.”
Flores began his second round birdie-eagle when he holed out with a wedge from 105 yards in the 11th fairway. He added a pair of birdies late in his round for a 68.
They were at 9-under 135, one shot ahead of Justin Rose, who had a 67.
Phil Mickelson, one shot off the lead to start the round, had a 75 and fell seven shots off the pace.
“Yesterday, I saw every ball go in the hole,” Mickelson said. “And today I couldn’t get them to fall and was three-putting, which is funny because the greens today were so perfect.”
Rory McIlroy’s round quickly unraveled. He had a three-putt from 18 feet on the second hole, drove behind a tree on the third hole and hit into a bush on the fourth hole, both times taking a penalty drop and making double bogey. He wound up with a 76 and made the cut on the number at 1-over 145.
McIlroy missed five putts from 6 feet or closer.
“I just didn’t have my game today,” McIlroy said. “Off the tee it was good. I didn’t get the ball close enough. My putting didn’t feel as comfortable as it did yesterday.”
The biggest turnaround in the other direction belonged to Brendon de Jonge, who opened with an 80, and followed that by tying the course record at Quail Hollow with a 62.
“Strange game,” de Jonge said.
The leaderboard was filled with players trying to win for the first time. Flores is in his fourth full season on the PGA Tour and has never finished in the top three. Shawn Stefani had a 68 and was two shots behind, while Kevin Kisner had a 66 and was three back.
And there are plenty of major champions who haven’t been heard from much over the last few years.
Martin Kaymer (2010 PGA Championship) had his second straight round of 69. Stewart Cink (2009 British Open) salvaged bogey from the water on the 17th and finished with a birdie for a 70. They were in the group at 6-under 138. Geoff Ogilvy (2006 U.S. Open) had seven birdies in his round of 67 and was four shots behind.