Gove leads after 36 holes at BMW Charity Classic

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May 15, 2009
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Media Official

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Jeff Gove posted a bogey-free, 7-under-par 65 Friday to move into sole possession of the 36-hole lead at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, an event that features celebrities and amateurs teaming up with Nationwide Tour pros in a best-ball format.

Gove birdied two of the final three holes at Carolina Country Club to get to 13-under par and separate himself from the pack in the event that is played on three different courses in two states.

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Gove leads by one over Argentina's Fabian Gomez and Canadian Jon Mills and by two strokes over Scott Dunlap, D.J. Brigman, former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson, Daniel Summerhays and leading money-winner Michael Sim of Australia.

Gove, Gomez (68), Mills (66) and Dunlap (67) all played at Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg and will head to Bright's Creek Country Club in Mill Spring, N.C. for Saturday's third round. Brigman (67) and Sim (65) were at Bright's Creek and now shift to Thornblade Club, the host course in Greenville. Dickerson (64) and Summerhays (67) rotate to Carolina Country Club for round three.

In the team competition, South Carolina stars Kyle Thompson and former Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers are at the top of the heap. Thompson and Roger won the celebrity portion of the tournament in 2002 and 2004 and were runners-up in 2003. The former Gamecocks are 27-under par after 36 holes and lead by three over the team of Sim and singer Javier Colon, who was a runner-up last year with Colt Knost.

Gove is among the leaders each year in greens in regulation and the former Pepperdine standout hit 16 of 18 during the second round, despite hitting only five fairways.

"All around it was a pretty good day," said the leader. "I didn't drive the ball quite as well today but my putting is very solid. I'm not focused on being in the lead right now."

The margin is slim over a host of challengers including Mills, who rolled in a pair of birdie putts from 20 feet and another from 40 feet.

"I drove the ball well, which really helped, especially on the par-5s," he said. "It's nice to be at the top of the leaderboard but I'm trying not to think about it and just stay patient."

Patience is the key in this format, where the foursomes sometimes need six hours or more to finish.

Sim, who has four top-4 finishes in six starts this season, didn't get much going early on but remained calm and waited for his game to kick into high gear.

"When I made the turn at one-under I knew I wasn't lighting it up," said Sim, who rallied with six birdies on the inward nine. "I started giving myself much better opportunities and made the putts I needed to make."

The day's highlight round belonged to Augusta, Ga., resident Scott Parel, who celebrated his 44th birthday with a course-record 10-under 62 at Carolina Country Club.

"I certainly didn't feel like I was hitting the ball well enough to shoot 62," said Parel, who bettered his career-best by two shots, thanks to needing only 23 putts. "I wasn't hitting it to two feet or anything like that. I just made some putts that you always think you have a chance to make, those 15- and 20-footers. The putter felt really good in my hands. The key is to hit the putts at the pace you're seeing the line. A lot of times you have the line right but you can't match it to the pace. Today I felt like I had the pace."

Second-Round Notes:

• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect at only the Bright's Creek Country Club course. The same rules will be in effect for the third round to ensure that all competitors play under similar conditions at that site.

• Second-round play was delayed at Bright's Creek from 4:17 to 5:02 p.m. due to rain.

• Texas rookie Jhonattan Vegas posted a 7-under 28 on the front nine at Thornblade Club, matching the lowest 9-hole score in tournament history. Jay Hobby carded a 7-under 28 on the back nine at Keowee Vineyards in the second round back in 2001. Vegas' score was also the lowest front nine score in tournament history.

• Argentina's Sebastian Fernandez matched the Thornblade Club course record with a 9-under 62. Fernandez opened with a 6-over 78 at Bright's Creek after hitting only seven greens. He hit 17 during round two. His 16-stroke improvement is the largest one day turnaround in tournament history.

Keoke Cotner withdrew during the second round because of back problems. Cotner was not replaced in the field. His amateur partner finished play today and will play as a solo in round three on Friday.

Seung-su Han withdrew after the second round at Bright's Creek due to a wrist injury.

• First-round co-leader Michael Clark carded a 3-over 75 at Carolina Country Club and stands at 6-under for the first two days.

• A 54-hole cut will take place on Saturday with the low 60 professionals (and ties) advancing to the final round. The low 14 amateur teams will also advance to play on Sunday at Thornblade.

Scoring averages for the three courses:
Course Par Round 1 Round 2
Thornblade Club par 71 68.750 69.327
Carolina Country Club par 72 70.214 69.500
Bright's Creek CC par 72 71.018 70.750

• There were 16 bogey-free rounds posted on Friday -- three at Bright's Creek Country Club; four at Thornblade Club; nine at Carolina Country Club.

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