DALLAS, May 28, 2011 (AFP) - Sergio Garcia started his week off on a disappointing note but he is enjoying some nice moments through the first two rounds of the Byron Nelson Championship.
The 31-year-old Spaniard fired a four-under 66 to reach eight-under 132 Friday and is the co-leader at the $6.5 million PGA Tour event after 36 holes.
American Ryan Palmer is also at 132 after shooting 67 in sun-baked conditions with winds gusting up to 58 kilometres per hour (36mph).
"You would be happy with those stats on a day with not much wind," Garcia said.
Chasing Garcia and Palmer is American teenager Jordan Spieth who shot a two-under 68 to move into a tie for eighth at the Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas. Spieth is at three-under 137 heading into the third round.
Earlier this week Garcia withdrew after five holes of the British Open qualifier and then decided not to practise going into the Dallas event because of a troublesome infected fingernail on his left hand.
After making bogey at the 523-yard par-four third hole, Garcia birdied three of the next four holes and was bogey-free for the remainder of his round.
Garcia blasted out of a greenside bunker to seven feet to save par at No. 14 and drained a 45-foot chip-in birdie at the 15th hole. He was prevented from putting the ball on 15 because three sprinkler heads got in the way.
Palmer is listening to his caddie more this week after making just once cut in seven previous tries at this event.
"He's never played good here and we finally decided that I was going to take over and just lead the horse around the ranch," caddie Jim Edmondson said.
Palmer shot 65 in the first round.
"I keep surprising myself how calm I am when it's that way. This is a golf course that I've struggled on so it's nice to not to think about it, just get up and hit the shot, and if I don't hit the shots it's on me," Palmer said. "So it's nice to be free-swinging like that."
Tim Petrovic (66) and Scott Piercy (69) were three strokes back at five under. Nick Watney (68), Joe Ogilvie (70) and Chad Collins (69) are close behind at four under.
This is the second consecutive year Spieth has made the cut. His high school graduation is scheduled for Saturday at 4 pm in Dallas.
"Right after the round ... I'm going to shoot over there as quickly as possible," Spieth said. "I don't know how long (graduation) usually lasts."
Seventy-four players made the cut at three over. Right on that mark was defending champion Jason Day (71). Canadian Mike Weir shot 70 and missed the cut by one shot.
Leading scores on Friday after the second round of the $6.5 million PGA Tour Byron Nelson Championship (USA unless noted):
132 - Ryan Palmer 65-67, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 66-66
135 - Tim Petrovic 69-66, Scott Piercy 66-69
136 - Nick Watney 68-68, Joe Ogilvie 66-70, Chad Collins 67-69
137 - Chris DiMarco 70-67, Ryuji Imada (JPN) 69-68, Chris Riley 66-71, Josh Teater 66-71, Keegan Bradley 66-71, Jordan Spieth (a) 69-68
138 - Rod Pampling (AUS) 70-68
139 - Carl Pettersson (SWE) 70-69
140 - Arjun Atwal (IND) 68-72, Steven Bowditch (AUS) 75-65
141 - Vijay Singh (FIJ) 68-73, Garth Mulroy (RSA) 67-74, Alexandre Rocha (BRA) 71-70
142 - K.J. Choi (KOR) 71-71
143 - Greg Chalmers (AUS) 73-70, Fredrik Jacobson (SWE) 70-73, Jason Day (AUS) 72-71, Cameron Percy (AUS) 71-72
Failed to make cut
144 - Mike Weir (CAN) 74-70, John Senden (AUS) 70-74, Jarrod Lyle (AUS) 69-75, Sunghoon Kang (KOR) 71-73
145 - Charlie Wi (KOR) 69-76
146 - Matt McQuillan (CAN) 73-73, Michael Sim (AUS) 71-75, Nick O'Hern (AUS) 69-77
147 - David Hearn (CAN) 73-74, Robert Allenby (AUS) 69-78, Andres Romero (ARG) 70-77, Marc Leishman (AUS) 70-77
148 - Brian Davis (GBR) 72-76, Nathan Green (AUS) 75-73, Bio Kim (KOR) 72-76, Chris Baryla (CAN) 71-77
149 - Aron Price (AUS) 77-72
150 - Steve Elkington (AUS) 73-77, Richard S. Johnson (SWE) 75-75
151 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 69-82, Fabian Gomez (ARG) 73-78
153 - Stephen Ames (CAN) 71-82