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Syracuse, New York’s Daniel McCarthy shot a 6-under 66 on Friday at The Lakes Golf Club to take the 36-hole lead at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic presented by PC Financial.

McCarthy, a 29-year old returning to PGA TOUR Canada this season for the first time since 2010, went bogey-free on a six-birdie day and led by one over Moscow, Idaho’s Chris Williams through two rounds in Cape Breton.

“It’s nice to see some putts finally going in. I’ve been hitting it pretty well this year, but I’ve struggled a little bit with the putter,” said McCarthy, who sits 44th on the Order of Merit with four top-25s on the season. “I’ve driven it really well and kept it in play. I’ve hit a lot of nice iron shots and rolled in a few putts too, and it’s been two good finishes to the rounds for sure.”

With time ticking down in the 2014 season, McCarthy said he’s still got his mind on the rewards of finishing in the top-20, top-10 and top-5 on the Order of Merit at season’s end.

“Well, I’m 44th coming into the week. You’re still trying to get top-10 or top-5, so I know what I need to do,” said McCarthy. “I’m not changing anything, I’m just trying to hit good shots. Whether the putts go in is whether you’re going to win. Maybe it’s freeing me up a little bit knowing that I have top 60 locked up, so I might as well just go out and give it everything I’ve got.”

One shot behind McCarthy was Williams, who carded his second straight 67 to post 10-under, one stroke further ahead of Order of Merit No. 4 Matt Harmon, Big Break Greenbrier champion Mark Silvers and Forces & Families Open champion Greg Machtaler, who shot a 10-under 62 to reach 9-under par.

MACHTALER PLAYS SPECIAL ROUND IN HONOUR OF LATE FATHER

One year ago today, Greg Machtaler was mourning the loss of his late father, Glenn. On Friday, exactly a year to the day of his funeral, Machtaler honoured his memory with a brilliant round of 10-under 62, vaulting him into a tie for third at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic presented by PC Financial.

“I was thinking about him a lot today and maybe that had something to do with it,” said Machtaler, who birdied his final five holes to set the course record at The Lakes Golf Club. September 5th also represents his late father’s birthday, a fact Machtaler said was too good to be just a coincidence. “I just kind of got out of my own head and was thinking about him. I wanted to play another good round for him and I was able to do so.”

Machtaler, the champion at the inaugural Forces & Families Open earlier this year, is no stranger to 62s. In Ottawa, he carded a final round 62 to come from six shots behind and claim his first PGA TOUR Canada win.

“Sometimes I get that feeling and I seem to be very good at just running with it and not asking questions, and I was able to do that today,” said Machtaler. “Everything gets calm and a little slower. I find everything just slows down. That’s the best I’ve putted all year for sure.”

After opening with a 1-over 73 on Thursday, the 30-year old said he was much closer to missing the cut than shooting double digits under par. Some timely advice from fellow British Columbia native Brad Clapp came in handy, however, and put Machtaler over the top for Friday’s brilliant round.

“I gotta thank Brad Clapp, because I was lost yesterday,” said Machtaler. “I should have shot 78 yesterday and I was able to squeak out a 73. I was lost and said ‘Hey man, can you come help me for five minutes on the range?’ He was nice enough to do it and showed me a couple things. It always feels so far off when you’re not hitting it good. He just kind of helped me do some drills and I started hitting it quite good today.”

Machtaler’s round put him two shots back of the lead at 9-under par through 36 holes.

GLIGIC KEEPS IT ROLLING AT THE LAKES

After posting top five finishes in each of his last two starts, Michael Gligic kept the strong play going on Friday, chipping in for birdie on his final hole of the day for a 6-under 66 and 8-under total, good for a tie for sixth heading into the weekend.

“I played so well last week, you could be negative because I didn’t win, but I just stayed positive,” said Gligic, who lost in a four-hole playoff to Nate McCoy at The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial. “I’ve been playing too well to get down on myself and wanted to keep it going into this week. So far I’ve been playing half decent, so hopefully I can keep it going this weekend and give myself a chance.”

Notes:                                                   

Weather: 29 degrees Celsius (34 with Humidex). Sunny. Winds SW 22 km/h.
With Sean Shahi missing the cut, no player has made the cut in every PGA TOUR Canada event this season.
Order of Merit No. 60 Sam Ryder kept his season alive with a 5-under 67 to make the cut on the number.
Players ranked 55-65 on the Order of Merit and their performance through 36 holes:

No. Player Earnings and +/-
55 Adam Cornelson T24
56 Matthew Smith DNP
57 Drew Evans CUT
58 Devin Carrey CUT
59 Matt Marshall T24
60 Sam Ryder T55
61 Andrew Noto CUT
62 Bruce Woodall T24
63 Travis Ross DNP
64 David Byrne CUT
65 Max Gilbert T15

Bogey-free rounds: Daniel McCarthy (66), Phil Francis (67), Stuart Anderson (67), Robert Karlsson (68), Jeff Dennis (69), Jean-Philip Cornellier (68), Joseph Doramus (70)

With Order of Merit leader Joel Dahmen missing the cut for the second time this season, No. 2 Tim Madigan (T55) could pass him for the top spot with a win.

The 36-hole leader or co-leader has gone on to win three times on PGA TOUR Canada this season.

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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