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Sabbatini, Mallinger share Texas lead

RORY Sabbatini, enjoying a rare weekend at home, carded a six-under 64 to grab a share of the second round lead with John Mallinger at the US$6.5 million Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas, on Friday.

South African Sabbatini, who lives in the Dallas area, recorded four successive birdies on his inward nine to join American Mallinger, whose 65 included two eagles, at eight-under 132.

"As much as we all travel, it's nice to have a home week where quite literally you really are going home. It just seems a little more relaxing," he told reporters.

The pair finished a stroke ahead of Briton Brian Davis, Australian James Nitties and Americans James Driscoll, Briny Baird and Dustin Johnson.

Sabbatini recorded his lone bogey at the third hole, and also made an unlikely par save at the 12th, finding the hole with bunker shot from 100 feet out.

The four-time PGA Tour winner came into the event without much form and had missed the cut in his past two starts.

Mallinger, who tied for third at The Players Championship two weeks ago, sank a 45-foot bunker shot at the par-five seventh for his first eagle and grabbed a second at the par-five 16th from 16 foot.

Englishman Davis, meanwhile, stumbled with an early double-bogey - three-putting from five feet at his third hole - but was flawless after that on his way to a 65.

Nitties, who shared the overnight lead, had a nightmare start with a double bogey at his first hole but battled back for a respectable 68.

Last year's champion Adam Scott missed his sixth consecutive cut as he continues to struggle with a swing change.

In Virginia Water, England, a pair of eagles rocketed Wentworth specialist Paul Casey into a two-stroke lead after the BMW PGA Championship second round on Friday.

The 31-year-old Briton, who scooped a first prize of one million pounds (US$1.58 million) when he landed the 2006 World Match Play title on the same leafy West Course, fired a five-under 67 for an eight-under total of 136.

With a fresh breeze and tight pin-placements making scoring tough, Casey was two ahead of holder Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain (70), Dane Soren Kjeldsen (69) and British trio Anthony Wall (71), David Horsey (71) and Marc Warren (66).

Among the casualties of the cut were US Masters champion Angel Cabrera, world No.4 Henrik Stenson, former European NO. 1 Lee Westwood and twice major winner Retief Goosen.


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