Allenby, Lowery share WGC Invitational lead

 

Australian Robert Allenby smashed the course record to move into a tie for the lead with American Steve Lowery after the second round at the 5.5 million dollar World Golf Championships Invitational last night.

Allenby took advantage of ideal conditions to shoot eight-under-par 63, two strokes better than the previous best score at Sahalee, site of the 1998 PGA Championship.

He stormed home in 29 strokes, using his putter just 11 times on the back nine as he picked up five birdies and an eagle.

"I was very comfortable with the way I was swinging it and with my putting stroke," Allenby said.

"The last two days I've had really good concentration and I hope I can take it into the weekend doing the same thing."

Lowery didn't have a bad day either, compiling 65 to join Allenby at 10-under 132, one stroke ahead of South African Retief Goosen (68), while England's Justin Rose (67) was two shots behind.

Goosen was the joint first round leader with Japan's Toshi Izawa, who retreated with a 73 to fall six strokes behind.

Izawa was joined on 138 by Tiger Woods, who shot a pedestrian 70 in his quest to become the first man since 1930 to win the same US PGA Tour event four years in a row.

But the day belonged to Allenby, who shot his career best score on the US PGA Tour.

"The course was set up for scoring," he said. "I played very aggressive. Not much happened on the front nine but on the back nine I started reeling off a few birdies."

For the second time this year, a back injury prompted Scotland's Colin Montgomerie to withdraw during a tournament.

"My back has been causing problems all week," said Montgomerie, who pulled out after nine holes.

Darren Clarke heads up he Irish challenge on two-under despite dropping back with a poor 74. The Ulsterman is one shot a ahead of his compatriot Graeme McDowell who shot 69.

Padraig Harrington was stuck on level par following his 70 while Paul McGinley clawed his way back somewhat with a 69 which followed a disappointing opening 79.