RENO - Notah Begay's future on the PGA Tour looked bright after winning twice in 1999 and 2000.
Then came a lower back injury in 2001, and his career went on a downward spiral.
Since the 2001 season, Begay has failed to win and has just 16 top-25 finishes. He has missed the cut in 12 straight tournaments dating back to the 2009 AT&T event.
Begay would love nothing more than to end his decade of failure with a win at the RTO, the site of his first-ever PGA win in 1999. He is at 6-under-par 138 at the halfway point.
"Well I'm usually going home after the first two rounds," said Begay. "It's been two years (since I made a cut). I was conveniently reminded of that yesterday by members of the media that will go unnamed.
"It feels good. I played great (Friday). The game is driven by putting, and my putting has been fabulous. I made a few 15-20-footers. It (Montreux) is a good place. Good memories. As a past champion, people remember you and cheer for you. It gives you good energy."
Begay III has been hitting it well off the tee, too.
"I'm driving it pretty well, you know, putting the ball in good spots on the fairway," Begay III said. "I would like to play the par-5s better. I birdied one today and one yesterday."
PAR-5s ARE THE KEY
One way to beat Montreux is to master the par-5s. All four are reachable in two. Nos. 8 and 17 are over 600 yards (636 and 616) and Nos. 2 and 13 are 584 and 518 yards, respectively.
Steve Elkington said the par-5s are even more important at a site where you are playing in elevation (approximately 5,500 feet).
"They're reachable you know, so very important," Elkington said. "It seems like the long hitters can get there real easy. I'm just sort of just getting'em - can just get there. You have to play those holes well if you want to shoot low."
Begay III agreed.
"You can reach all those par-5s, so you've got to play those in 2-under to maintain your position," he said.
Robert Garrigus, a long hitter, birdied two of the par-5s. He usually plays the par-5s well because of his length off the tee.
"I can hit 3-woods off the tees on the par-5s and still get to them in two, and some of them are 600 yards," Garrigus said. "It's a lot of fun being able to hit it this far. I know I hit it far, but it's extra special when you can hit a tee shot 400 yards and you really don't have to do much."
GONZALES, GORDON MISS CUT
Andres Gonzales and Scott Gordon, both of whom played the Stage I qualifer at Dayton Valley last October, failed to make the cut.
Gonzales shot an even-par 72 to finish 36 holes at 2-over-par 146. Gordon, who opened with a 5-over-par 77, came back with a 1-over par 73 for a 36-hole total of 150.
Gonzales had three birdies in a four-hole stretch (8, 9 and 11). He made birdie putts of 6,9 and 9-feet, respectively. He gave a stroke back with a bogey at No. 12, and then parred 13 through 16.
His fortunes took a turn for the worse when he double-bogeyed the par-5 17th to go 1-over for the day. He got that stroke back with a nice birdie at the 18th.
Gordon had three bogeys and two birdies on his round.
The 220-yard 16th hole played the toughest with an average of 3.83, while the par-5 13th was the easiest with an average of 4.625.
A total of 75 players made the cut at 1-over-par 145. It was the second-highest cut in tournament history ... There were seven bogey-free rounds on Friday, led by Steve Elkington's 65 ... On Friday, the front nine played to a 36.078 and the back nine played to a 35.828 ... Tournament host Scott McCarron missed the cut (148) after a second-round 77. Other top players missing the cut were Marc Leishman, Jason Bohn, John Daly, Rich Beem, Ben Curtis, David Duval, Rocco Mediate, Paul Goydos and Lee Janzen ... There were 12 eagles on Friday, four on No. 18, five on No. 8 and three on No. 13 ... There were 39 rounds below 70, 58 rounds below par and 76 rounds at par or below. There were two rounds of 80 or more.