(Reuters) - Local favorite Rafael Campos rode the support of another enthusiastic gallery to maintain a one-shot lead over George McNeill after the second round at the Puerto Rico Open on Friday.
Both players carded one-under-par 71 on the Coco Beach course in breezy conditions on the Caribbean island.
Campos, trying to become the first Puerto Rican since Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1979 to win on the PGA Tour, could not emulate his opening 64, but did enough to post a nine-under 135 midway total.
American McNeill was alone on eight-under, with Englishman Ian Poulter (66) among a group two shots off the pace.
“It really does feel great to be in this position,” said Campos, who plays primarily on the secondary Buy.Com circuit.
”Ironically enough I feel really relaxed out there. I’m not thinking of my swing, not thinking of the problems out there. I’m actually enjoying it.
“It’s great having so much support. We’re trying to (make) golf here well known, so it’s great to be playing well.”
Second-placed McNeill was not exactly jumping with joy after a round that included birdies at the first three holes, but none thereafter.
”Overall I guess it was a decent day,“ he said. ”I would have liked a few more birdies.
“The wind’s blowing, it’s tricky, the greens aren’t very fast and this afternoon they didn’t putt as good as yesterday morning, with a lot of traffic on them. I guess that’s what I get to look forward to tomorrow.”
Poulter, meanwhile, jumped up the leaderboard in his first appearance in the event thanks to birdies at the first three holes and three in a row to close the round.
“It was a par sandwich with three birdies at the beginning and three birdies at the end,” said Poulter, who failed by one world ranking position to qualify for the WGC-Dell Match Play being held concurrently in Texas.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina