RTO NOTES: Merrick and Mallinger represent Nevada State Bank
RENO – John Merrick and John Mallinger sported Nevada State Bank hats and shirts during the second round of the 12th annual Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf & Country Club.
“Dallas Haun is the CEO of Nevada State Bank,” said Merrick after his second-round 68 Friday afternoon. “He’s a long-time friend of mine. He’s from Long Beach and a member at Virginia Country Club where I play golf at.
“John Mallinger and I have a sponsorship there, and we go out and play a couple of days with his clients. He’s got a bunch of golf-crazy clients. He likes the exposure out in tour, so that’s the connection there.”
Mallinger, who sits at 136 after 36 holes, said he and Merrick actually played an outing earlier in the week in Northern Nevada.
“Twice a year we help him out,” Mallinger said. “Dallas has been great to us. It’s been a good relationship.”
Mallinger and Merrick also know each other very well.
“John’s brother (Brian) was my roommate in college,” Mallinger said. “That’s where we met originally. I’ve known the Merricks since ’97.”
SURPRISED TO BE HERE
Bob Heintz wasn’t even expected to be in Reno this week for the 12th annual Reno-Tahoe Open.
He was trying to qualify for the Nationwide Tour event in Cincinnati.
“I was pulled off (in the middle of the round) and they said I was in the field,” Heintz said after carding his second consecutive sub-par round (69-68) at Montreux Golf & Country Club en route to a 36-hole total of 137. “I was eating a banana when Barbara Potts from the PGA office called me. She said I had committed to Reno and we’d gone down all the way to the extended money list (150 to 200) which they never do. It’s like the third time in 12 years.
“So I flew here Tuesday morning. It’s nice to be sitting in this room. I don’t care if somebody passes me today. I’m making money today and it’s in Reno. It’s more money than I would make in Cincinnati.”
Heintz played nine holes Tuesday night. He’s played here several times, and the Yale grad said he just needed to get used to the altitude again.
Heintz’s putting has given him problems, and that normally is the strongest part of his game, hence the frustration.
“I’ve been awful,” Heintz said. “I used to be one of the best putters on the tour, and this year I’m literally anxious about 3-footers, so it’s been a bad year.
“It (my putting) really isn’t terribly better. I’ve made several 15-footers, and my speed has been good. I still don’t feel stable over the ball. I feel like I’m moving a little bit.”
Heintz, who posted birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 which jump-started his round, admitted he had entertained thoughts of quitting after winning just $3,700.
“I have a Yale degree, so I’m not totally without some kind of credential,” he said. “There are a lot of Yale alums who follow my career. Those are the people I would go to.”
A win or top-10 finish would certainly boost Heintz’s game and confidence.
DOUBLE EAGLE TIME
Shiv Kapur, who shot a 1-over-par 73 on Thursday, recorded this year’s first double eagle.
Kapur holed out from 297 yards on the par-5 9th. He missed the cut, however.
Three players – Keith Clearwater (back), 2008 RTO champ Parker McLachlin and Jerod Turner (neck) – withdrew prior to Friday’s second round.
According to Mark Stevens, PGA Tour media rep, McLachlin’s reason for withdrawing was unknown.
Poor play may have something to do with it. McLachlin shot a 9-over-par 81 on Thursday. In 14 starts this year, he’s made the cut four times.
There were 49 players who shot par or better in the first round, and 39 of those rounds were under par.
As usual, the 464-yard par-4 8th played the toughest in the first round, yielding 15 birdies and 43 bogeys or worse. The easiest was the par-5 4th which played to a 4.744 average, yielding 53 birdies and one eagle.