Buena Vista :Little-known American Roland Thatcher kept his PGA Tour card hopes alive by charging four shots clear in the second round of the Disney Classic at Lake Buena Vista on Friday.
Three strokes behind the pacesetting Chris Stroud overnight, Thatcher took command with a scintillating nine-under-par 63 on the Magnolia Course, one of two layouts hosting the event.
The 33-year-old, who has played most of his tournament golf on the satellite Nationwide Tour, rattled up nine birdies in a flawless display to post a 16-under total of 128.
Stroud followed his opening 62 with a 70 on the Magnolia layout to share second place at 12 under with fellow American Brian Gay (65).
Another American, Robert Garrigus, was a further stroke back at the midway point in the final PGA Tour event of the season after firing a 65.
Thatcher, who lies 179th in the money list and needs to climb into the top 125 to secure full playing privileges for next year, was delighted with his scoring on the tougher of the two host layouts.
"There really weren`t many opportunities for me to make much more than what I did as far as the round went," the three-times Nationwide Tour winner told reporters. "It was as low as it could go.
"I didn`t hit it inside of five feet all day. I made a good number of 15- to 20-footers, and that`s how you turn a ball-striking round of 67 into 63. If I can do that two more days, it`s going to be a really special week."
Thatcher, whose best PGA Tour finish was a tie for second behind Tiger Woods at the 2009 Buick Open, needs to end the week no worse than joint second to secure his 2011 card.
"Obviously after 65 and 63, my goals have changed quite a bit," he said. "I`m hoping to have a nice long off season and then start the year early (with full privileges) next year."
Former world number one Vijay Singh of Fiji was 12 strokes off the pace after carding a 71, one shot better than multiple PGA Tour winner Davis Love III, who returned a 70.
The cut fell at three-under 141 with former major champions Todd Hamilton, Justin Leonard, Shaun Micheel and Rich Beem among those failing to advance.