Cejka edges to halfway Turning Stone lead

Alex Cejka had toiled in 227 PGA Tour events before arriving in Verona this week for the Turning Stone Resort Championship, still in search of his first victory.

Of course, such a drought pales next to what Cejka has gone through in real life, including escape as a child from what was then Communist Czechoslovakia, fleeing with his family through Europe before settling in Germany.

Still, the golfing drought lingers - but it might not last much longer if Cejka keeps playing like he did for the first two days at Atunyote Golf Club.

Following up a bogey-free 66 on Thursday, Cejka ignored far more difficult conditions in Friday's second round and put together a four-under-par 68 to seize sole possession of the lead by day's end.


With a 10-under-par 134, Cejka leads first-round co-leader Rory Sabbatini and Chris Tidland by one shot, with six golfers - Robert Garrigus, Steve Elkington, Omar Uresti, John Mallinger, Woody Austin and Brian Davis - sitting three shots back.

Everyone in the field had to deal with a far different Atunyote than in Thursday's sticky opening round. The main culprit was a fierce west wind, sustained at 15 miles per hour and gusting to 25, which drove up scores as a whole, but didn't suppress them.

Cejka didn't mind it. He played an uneven front nine and turned in even-par 36, but then took off with consecutive birdies on 10, 11 and 12, then added a fourth birdie on the tough 17th to come back home in 32.

Up to now, Cejka's biggest golfing moment was leading the 2009 Players Championship after three rounds, only to sky to a 79 in the final round as Henrik Stenson passed him. He also finished fourth in the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill, near Rochester, but barely made the cut in his two previous Turning Stone appearances.

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