Eight-birdies put Stroud clear

Chris Stroud has fired eight straight 2nd-round birdies to surge into the lead at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

Chris Stroud fired eight straight birdies in his second round 63 on Friday to surge into a three-stroke lead at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

At 11-under 131, unheralded Stroud leads Kevin Stadler, Cameron Percy and Sunghoon Kang by three shots heading into the weekend.

Stadler and Percy both shot 66s and Kang a 67 at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course south of Cancun on the Caribbean coast.

Two of the for first round leaders, David Toms and Australian Mark Hensby, are five shots off the pace after each carded 70s while Kyle Stanley is a further shot backs after a 71 and Argentina’s Andres Gonzales two further back after a level-par 72

Stroud, in the meantime, is taking nothing for granted.

“You can never get ahead of yourself,” he said. “Tomorrow is another day. I’ve got to come out and do the same thing and look for a consistent routine and stick to my process, and whatever happens at the end of the week is where I end up.”

Winless in five seasons on the PGA TOUR, the 29-year-old Stroud birdied the eight holes from the 9th to the 16th to get to just one birdie behind Mark Calcavecchia’s record of nine straight birdies set in the second round of the 2009 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.

“I was just trying to stay out of my own way,” Stroud said. “I wasn’t really thinking about it. I really had two good chances on 17 and 18, had about a 25-footer up the hill and then probably an 18-footer on 18.

“Seventeen, I left it a little short and I told myself, ‘Let’s just hit a good putt.’ I hit a pretty good one, but it didn’t break.”

Stroud began the birdie run with an 8-foot putt, then made a 10-footer on the 10th, and added an 18-footer on the 11th.

On the par-4 12th, he lipped out a 6-iron for eagle, but holed a 6-footer for birdie. He made a 4-foot putt on the par-5 13th after hitting a 2-iron just short of the green and chipping close and then made a 25-footer on 14, hit an 8-iron to 2 feet on the par-3 15th, and then nailed a 25-footer on 16 for his final birdie.

“Everybody knows what its all about it out here, it’s all putting,” Stroud said. “Most of us hit it pretty well, and a lot of days when you don’t hit the ball that well and you putt and chip well, you’re still going to make a pretty good score.”

Stroud has missed the cuts in his last three events, but said:”I’ve actually been playing pretty well.

“This is my fifth event this year. I played pretty well in California, but only made one cut out of four, and that just goes to show you how difficult the PGA TOUR is. You can play well and not make a cut.

Aaron Baddeley might agree. The winner of last week’s Northern Trust Open, he missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 71 as did John Daly after shooting 73-75.