McLachlin ties course record to take lead at Montreux
August 1, 2008
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO ” Mention volleyball in Hawaii, and the name McLachlin is likely to pop into the conversation at some point.
Chris McLachlin played volleyball and basketball at Stanford. His wife, Beth, was the captain of the 1976 United States Olympic squad. Their son, Spencer, is a 6-foot-7 freshman volleyball player at Stanford.
Parker McLachlin led his team to three state volleyball titles in high school, but at 6-foot-1 he didn’t have the game to play at UCLA.
“When I went to UCLA, and I thought that I might be able to (play both golf and volleyball),” McLachlin said. “I practiced with the volleyball team my freshman year when I got there. I practiced with them for maybe four practices, and realized that I wasn’t physical enough. I didn’t have the height or build for it. So I had to go to Plan B.”
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For Parker McLachlin that meant golf and it’s proven to be the correct choice. He has already eclipsed the $1 million mark in one-plus years on the PGA Tour.
The 29-year-old McLachlin tied the Montreux Golf & Country Club course record with a 10-under-par 62 Friday to take the second-round lead at the 10th annual Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.
At 14-under-par 130, McLachlin enjoys a four-shot lead over John Merrick, who has posted back-to-back 67s, Nick Flanagan, who followed up his first-round 69 with a 65, former Masters champ Larry Mize, who has shot 68 and 66, and Brian Davis, who has back-to-back 67s. Veteran Bob Estes is another shot back at 135 after a second-round 66.
First-round leader Jeff Overton, who played in the afternoon, struggled to a 3-over-par 75, and is at 140, 10 shots off the lead.
McLachlin is on a pace to break the tournament record for 72 holes, and was one shot shy of tying the 36-hole record of 129 by Estes in 2006. Vaughn Taylor was 13-under-par 267 when he won in 2005.
Among the notables to miss the cut were Michelle Wie, who shot a second-round 80 and finished at 9-over par 153. Also failing to move on was Reno’s Scott McCarron (146), David Duval (154), Mark Brooks (147) and Jeff Maggert (150).
McLachlin had 10 birdies and no bogeys. Of his 10 birdie putts, only two were 10 feet or longer. He knocked in an 11-footer on No. 9, a 616-yard par-5, and he sank a 10-footer at the 355-yard par-4 13th.
The 62 was McLachlin’s best round on tour.
“I think I had a 63 at a Nationwide event and a 61 in a Gateway Tour event, and I shot 59 at the course I represent back home.” McLachlin said. “It seemed like everything went smoothly out there. I hit a lot of fairways, lots of greens and you know, made a bunch of 10-footers. I mean just kind of the way you like to draw it out.
“I didn’t know what the course record was. I told myself I was thinking about shooting a 59 (when I was) on No. 14. I thought if I birdied the last five holes I would shoot 59. That’s the worst thing to think about. I kept telling my caddie that I wanted to get to 15-under. So we birdied 16 and birdied 17 and just missed that one on 18.”
McLachlin faced a downhill 4-footer in his attempt for a new course record, but missed it.
“Downhill and pretty quick,” McLachlin said of the shot. “You’ve got to get it barely started and it just keeps going. I just got it started a little left. You would like to have an uphill putt for that one, but your nerves are already going and to have a downhill putt like that was pretty challenging.”
McLachlin pointed to two key holes in his round ” Nos. 6 and 11.
“At No. 6, I hit it in the left green-side bunker,” he said. “I hit a bunker shot to maybe 10 feet and made that one. At that point I had just birdied 4 and 5, so to keep the momentum going was huge. To make par there, you are still 3-under. If you make bogey you are back to 2-under, and you feel like you let one fly by.
“I think probably the other one was maybe the 3-wood at No. 11. I think I had 300 yards (to the green), and I killed a 3-wood and got up on the green and two-putted for birdie there, and then birdied the next two holes after that.”
The round should make good reading in McLachlin’s next column in the Honolulu Advertiser. He started it in 2007 and has continued it. He also started his own Web site “www.parkermclachlin.com.
“I do it once a week,” McLachlin said. “It’s just a way for me to stay in touch with the people in Hawaii. I think it’s interesting for the people in Hawaii to see one of their own out on Tour and for them to be able to live through my experience and see what goes on besides what they see on TV. ”
McLachlin said that people told him it was the first thing they turned to on Thursday mornings, which is why he continues to write it.
The second-best round of the day belonged to Flanagan, and it was enough to boost him into a second-place tie with Merrick.
Flanagan rolled in eight birdies and had just one bogey. Merrick had five birdies in his bogey-free round.
Young players like Will MacKenzie and Taylor have won this tournament and gone on to bigger and better things, and Flanagan believes he can do the same thing.
“This is a good week for a lot of young guys who haven’t had that many starts this year, or finished down in Q School or finished down the bottom 25 on the Nationwide list,” Flanagan said. “Events like this are good for those guys and good for me.”
Flanagan, who was the Nationwide Player of the Year in 2007 and won the U.S. Amateur in 2003, admitted that it will take a pretty nice score today to catch or pass McLachlin. He also said his game is starting to round into shape because his backswing has improved.
“Parker is playing well; 10-under out there is a great score,” Flanagan said. “I don’t think the scoring will go backwards on the weekend unless there is a lot of wind out. I have to play pretty well to catch the leader and get to 17 or 18-under-par over the weekend.
“It (my technique) is still not great, but I feel more confident going out to the golf course everyday whereas before, it felt like I was just going out there to do the same thing and struggle every week. But I feel like I can go out there and shoot numbers. I had a couple of good weeks lately and hopefully I can have a good weekend.”
Mize, who will be eligible for the Champions Tour in September, carded six birdies. The veteran said only one of his birdie putts was past 15 feet, and that was a 17-footer at No. 13.
– Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 881-1281
LEGENDS RENO-TAHOE OPEN
Where: Montreux Golf & Country Club
Purse: $3 million, $540,000 to the winner
TV: Golf Channel, 3:30 p.m. (live)