No player from Brazil had ever lead a PGA Tour event after any round of play, that is, until Friday.
Alexandre Rocha made seven birdies and an eagle against three bogeys in his second round to put up 14 points in the Modified Stableford scoring system and take the halfway lead at the Reno-Tahoe Open. His 24-point total is good for a two-point lead over Americans John Mallinger and J.J. Henry.
After the round, Rocha was proud of his accomplishment amid a poor season.[A]t the end of the second round, I'm sitting in the lead on the PGA Tour," he said. "For some guys it's just routine. I've never done that before. As a matter of fact, nobody from my country has ever done that before. So having said that, this is one milestone I've achieved, and nobody is ever going to take that away from me."
Rocha has been working the last three seasons to get to the PGA Tour, find a way to maintain status and continue to gain confidence so he can represent his nation when they host golf's return to the Olympics in 2016.
"When I learned that (golf would be in the Rio Games), I really got a sense of motivation," he said. "I thought to myself, 'If you can't get up and get ready to go play the Olympics in your home country, then you might as well walk away from the game now.'"
This is just another step, then, in preparing to play on that stage.
"I am not ready for it yet," he said. "I grow on little steps but constant ones, so this is going to mean a lot, you know, looking forward to the Olympics.