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Robert Allenby five off lead at Torrey Pines

Farmers Insurance Open | Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

By Ben Everill
Courtesy of AAP

ROBERT Allenby has muscled his way into contention halfway through the US PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines in California.

Allenby is five shots from the lead in a tie for seventh after an impressive second round five-under par 67 on the harder south course.

He trails American Kyle Stanley who backed up his north course 62 with a south course 68 to lead outright at 14 under par.

Brandt Snedeker is second at 13 under while South Korean Sang-Moon Bae and American Martin Flores share third place a shot further back at 12 under.

After shooting four under on the opening day on the easier north course Allenby went one better in round two on the more difficult south.

Starting on the back nine he reeled off three straight birdies after an opening par to make a significant jump up the leaderboard. On the par three 11th the Victorian carved a beautiful five-iron to eight feet and holed the putt and then backed it up by rolling in a six-footer on the 12th and a 10-footer on 13.

His momentum was stalled slightly with a somewhat unlucky bogey on the 14th hole.

An untimely loud but accidental sneeze came from the gallery during his backswing on the tee and the ball sprayed right into tree trouble.

But he rolled in back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18, the first courtesy of a great 30-foot putt, to find himself inside the top 10.

When he stiffed a wedge to four feet on the third hole and converted the birdie he was knocking on the door of the lead but bogeys on the fifth and seventh holes created space once more.

On both occasions Allenby found sand trouble and couldn't recover but rather than be discouraged he fought back with consecutive birdies to close his round.

A precision iron on the par three eighth and a precise short wedge into the par five ninth ensured short-range birdies and the 40-year-old re-entered the top page of the leaderboard.

"I'm happy with the way I'm going," Allenby said.

"It's a cliche but I was really just trying to make as many birdies as possible without making too many mistakes and I did pretty good at that today.

"I always seem do better on the south. The greens seem to be a bit better. I know I'll generally be a little behind when I play the north but I'm confident I can make it up on the south and I started that today."

Greg Chalmers was the next best of the Australians at seven under par in a tie for 12th after he carded an even par 72 on the south course.

Rod Pampling couldn't back up his day one eight under par north course heroics, notching up 11 more strokes on the south course for a three over 75.

But at five under for the tournament he, along with Nick O'Hern, remains in contention in a tie for 30th.

Mark Leishman (-3), Geoff Ogilvy (-2), Aaron Baddeley (-2) and Jarrod Lyle (-2) all made the 36-hole cut but will have work to do if they are to threaten.

Nathan Green (-1), Gavin Coles (-1), Steven Bowditch (Even), Mathew Goggin (Even), Stuart Appleby (+5) and Matthew Giles (+5) all failed to make the weekend.

Kiwi Danny Lee also bombed out on day two, shooting a six over 76 to fall to one over par.

 

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