John Mallinger fired a seven-under 65 Friday stroke lead after two rounds of the News Sentinel Open.
Mallinger, who is winless on the PGA and Nationwide Tours, finished 36 holes at 16-under-par 128. His total of 128 matched the tournament record that Tim Conley set in 1993.
"It seems like you have to birdie every hole," Mallinger said. "These guys don't quit out here. I feel like by the time I tee off [Saturday] I'll be a few back."
Garrett Willis, who is from nearby Knoxville, posted a six-under 66 to move into second place at minus-14 at Fox Den Country Club. PGA Tour veteran Kirk Triplett fired a 64 to jump into third place at 13-under-par 131.
J.J. Killeen and Mathew Goggin have the most to gain this week as they could both advance to the PGA Tour with a victory. Both have two wins this year and a third win earns an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour.
Killeen managed an even-par 72, but slid into a share of 56th at five-under- par 139. Goggin had the low round of the day with a nine-under 63, helping him go from 79th into a tie for 10th at minus-10.
Mallinger opened his round with a chip-in birdie on the par-five 10th and collected back-to-back birdies from the 13th to move to 12-under. After three pars in a row, Mallinger birdied the 18th.
The 31-year-old Californian followed with birdies on one and two to climb to minus-15.
Mallinger birdied the fifth and seventh, but stumbled to a bogey on the par- four eighth. He parred the ninth, his last, to lead by two.
"A win is a win. Anytime you can prove to yourself and everyone else that you can win it's a good thing," Mallinger stated. "The way I look at it is I would take that momentum into the Fall Series."
Willis also played the back nine first and birdied the 10th and 12th. His birdie on No. 17 helped him make the turn at 11-under.
The 37-year-old Willis made eagle on the par-five first and followed with birdies on two and five. After three straight pars, he bogeyed his final hole to end two back.
"I didn't really know what to expect after playing so well yesterday. I know when you start off on a par-five you want to get off to a good start," Willis said. "I made a solid six-foot putt on the first hole and it took a lot of pressure off me to ease into my round."
Boo Weekley and John Daly are both in the field this week. Daly fired a seven- under 65 to soar into a share of 14th at minus-nine, while Weekley carded a five-under 67 to move into a tie for 29th at seven-under-par 137.
NOTES: The cut line fell at five-under-par 139 with 67 players advancing to the weekend...This is Weekley's first Nationwide Tour event since the 2006 Nationwide Tour Championship...Michael Sims was disqualified before the round for signing an incorrect scorecard on Thursday.