Ridings' late rally gives him halfway lead at Nationwide Mexico Open

PGA.com news services

Series: Web.com Tour

Published: Friday, June 08, 2012 | 11:32 p.m.

LEON, Mexico -- Paul Haley II stood on the ninth green, his 18th hole of the day, and next door, not 50 yards away, was Tag Ridings playing his final hole of the afternoon on No. 18. Haley got to the green with the lead in the Nationwide Tour's Mexico Open, but when he finished his second round after a three-putt bogey, Ridings stood alone atop the leaderboard, at 9 under.
"Well, that was good for me," said Ridings after learning of Haley's bogey. "It was a tale of two cities from the front nine to the back nine."

Ridings was right, but his was an inexplicable score as he shot a 2-over 38 on the front nine at El Bosque Country Club during somewhat benign conditions, then came back with a 5-under 31 with the wind blowing in the afternoon. He took the lead after getting up and down from off the 18th green. He got in trouble by hitting his tee shot into a fairway bunker.

"It's playing tough really right now, with the left-to-right crosswind," Ridings said following his round. "This is a golf course that makes you keep your mind on what's going on. It'll jump up and grab you if you don't stay focused.

Ridings, whose best finish this season is a tie for 18th at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, seemed to see everything clearly as he recovered from a bogey-bogey finish at the conclusion of his front nine to record five birdies and no bogeys on the back. Ridings, 37, has won once in his Nationwide Tour career -- 10 years ago at the Permian Basin Open in Texas. He also has a runner-up finish on the PGA Tour, at the 2004 Michelin Championship in Las Vegas.

While Ridings is looking for the second win of his career, Haley is seeking his second win this season after having won the Chile Classic in March. He walked away from his closing hole disappointed at his bogey-bogey finish, knowing he has work to do.

He hit his drive in the water off the tee on No. 8 (his 17th hole of the day) and then had that three-putt on his final hole that left him frustrated. "It broke more than I thought," Haley said of his par putt there.

"I have to correct some stuff if I'm going to contend," Haley added. "A couple of those bogeys out there were poor thinking on my part, and that's usually what I do better than everyone. For some reason, I let it slip today a little bit."

Coming off a bogey-free 64 Thursday that gave him the first-round lead, Ryan Armour, tied for second with Haley and Lee Williams, had more of an adventure Friday than he did during his opening 18. He had four birdies to go with two bogeys and a double bogey that left him even par for the tournament and 8-under overall.

"I didn't give myself as many chances , but I thought the hole locations were more difficult," he said. "I thought they were tough to get at and tough to putt to. On six, I thought I hit a good shot, and I end up making double (bogey). So my distances weren't there like they were , when they were spot on."

Second-Round Notes:

--Low-round honors belonged to Tim Wilkinson and Lee Williams. They both shot 5-under 67s. Williams is tied for second, while Wilkinson is tied for 18th.

--In his last 10 rounds, going back to the BMW Charity Pro-Am and last week's Rex Hospital Open, Tag Ridings has nine under-par rounds. He shot a 3-under 69 Friday to go with his 6-under 66 in the opening round. In six rounds at El Bosque Country Club, Ridings has never been over-par (72-69-69-70-66-69).

--When Paul Haley won the Chile Classic earlier this season, he got to the halfway mark of that event at 13 under (67-64). He held a two-stroke lead over Christopher DeForest. When he was runner-up at the TPC Stonebrae Championship in April, he shared the 36-hole lead with James Nitties and Michael Putnam.

--After the par-4 sixth hole played as the most difficult hole in the first round, the ninth hole at El Bosque took honors Friday. Only nine players recorded birdies there, with 38 bogeys, 12 double bogeys and six "others" on the 486-yarder. The stroke average was 4.541.

--The bogey-free rounds Friday came courtesy of Lee Williams (67), Dawie van der Walt (68) and Tim Wilkinson (67).

--In the first three years of the Mexico Open as a Nationwide Tour event, the 36-hole leader was at 9 under. In 2011, Casey Wittenberg was at 13 under. This year, Tag Ridings joins the throng of halfway mark leaders at 9 under.

--No second-round leader has gone on to win the Mexico Open in four previous playings.

--The Serna family has all four male members of the family playing this week. They are the Serna patriarch, Efren, Sr., and his three sons, Antonio, Oscar and Efren, Jr. Only Antonio will be playing on the weekend after opening 68-75 for a 1-under 143. Oscar finished at 5-over, Efren, Jr. was at 11 over and Efren Sr., finished at 15 over.

--Justin Bolli continues to enjoy El Bosque Country Club. A year after shooting four under-par rounds on his way to a tie for ninth (70-71-68-67), he's opened 67-71 this year and is tied for seventh. His stroke average in six rounds is 69.00.

--The cut came at 1-over 145, with 65 players making it to the weekend.

--After El Bosque Country Club yielded 21 eagles in the first round, there were only 13 Friday. Brady Stockton had the lone par-4 eagle. He chipped in on No. 16. No. 8 gave up five eagles for the most of any of the par 5s.

--Michael Letzig withdrew from the tournament Friday due to an injury to his arm.