Owen grabs halfway lead in North Carolina

Greg Owen shot 6-under-par 66 on Friday to grab a 1-stroke lead through two rounds of the Chiquita Classic.

Owen, who is attempting to play his way back onto the PGA Tour after ranking No. 134 on the FedExCup points list, sits at 8-under-par 136 through 36 holes at River Run Country Club.

"It's not easy out there," he said. "The greens are quick and the wind was blowing around but I got away with a few loose shots."

Andrew Svoboda fired a 65 to move into a share of second place at 7-under-par 137. He stands alongside Camilo Benedetti (67), Will MacKenzie (68) and Kris Blanks (67).

Overnight co-leaders Ben Kohles and Hudson Swafford carded matching 71s to drop into a tie for sixth with Peter Malnati, who shot 68 to reach 6-under for the tournament.

This is the second event of the Tour finals. The field is primarily comprised of the top 75 on the money list and Nos. 126 - 200 in the PGA Tour's FedExCup standings. The top 25 from the regular season Tour money list already have their PGA Tour cards for next season, but are still playing for priority ranking. The next available 25 from the finals series money list will also earn their PGA Tour cards for next season.

Owen, winner of the 2003 British Masters on the European Tour, got off to a strong start Friday with an eagle at the par-5 second. The Englishman followed with a birdie at the third, then turned the trick again at the fifth to reach minus-6 for the tournament.

The 41-year-old Owen stumbled to his first bogey of the day at the par-4 seventh, but bounced back with a birdie at the ninth wrap up an outward 32.

Around the turn, Owen tripped to another bogey at No. 10 before catching fire from the 12th to go in front of the clubhouse leaders.

The run started with back-to-back birdies from No. 12 and, after a par at the 14th, concluded with a 60-foot birdie putt at the 15th, which moved Owen into the lead at 8-under. He tripped to a bogey at the next, but rebounded with a birdie at the 17th, then parred the last to grab the halfway advantage.

"I'm not thinking about position," he said. "I just know that I got to play better than I did today. I'm not worried about the lead on Friday afternoon."

NOTES: Owen's best finish on the PGA Tour this season was a tie for 12th at the RBC Canadian Open ... Sixty-three players made the cut, with the line falling at even-par 144 ... Marcel Siem recorded a hole-in-one at the par-3 17th. It was the fourth hole-in-one of his professional career.