RENO - First round leaders Peter Jacobsen and Scott McCarron kept themselves near the top of the leader board on Friday, but Brian Henninger came out of nowhere to tie the course record and take a one-shot lead at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Henninger, who was one-under after the first round, shot a nine-under 63 during the second round at Montreux Golf and Country Club to tie Notah Begay's course record. Begay shot his 63 during the third round at last year's RTO, a tournament he eventually won.
Jacobsen and Steve Flesch both finished at nine-under par, one shot behind Henninger, while McCarron ended up at eight-under par.
"I was really looking forward to playing and things just didn't go quite my way," McCarron said. "But I'll take two-under par."
And as with McCarron, Jacobsen also played a role in elevating Henninger's game.
"I really tried to keep my eye out for Brian and watch him develop," said Jacobsen, who belongs to the same Oregon golf club as Henninger. "I'll say this, pound for pound, he's probably the most talented player on tour."
Jacobsen will get to see that talent first hand today at 12:30 p.m. when the two tee off together in the tournament's last pairing.
"He's always been terribly complimentary of me and I really appreciate that," Henninger said of Jacobsen.
Although making 10 birdies during his round on Friday, it was Henninger's long and accurate drives that kept giving him good looks at the pin.
"I'm using a new prototype Calloway that is an extremely good driver," said Henninger. "It's given me a few extra yards and I'm hitting it straight."
Henninger mentioned how it took some time adjusting to the 5,500-foot altitude, which he thinks might have had something to do with his quiet round on Thursday.
"The most difficult thing about this golf course is factoring the elevation change."said Henninger, a Sacramento native. "I was very confident in the ability to hit the fairway and confident that I was going to pick the right club."
Along with McCarron, Bob May and Matthew Goggin both shot 67 on Friday to keep pace with Henninger.
"I feel good about my position," said May, who's proving that his playoff with Tiger Woods at last weekend's PGA was no fluke. "I left a few putts out there on the golf course and that is a little upsetting."
And if playing conditions this weekend are the same as they were on Friday, May predicts a very low score will end up winning the RTO.
"If the weather stays the same, probably 20-under par or so," May said about the tournament's winning score. "When we get good conditions like this and good greens, you're going to see low numbers," he said.