Piller, Gutschewski, Hicks share BMW lead

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Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Michigan's Justin Hicks has carded a 66-65 so far for a share of the lead at the BMW.
May 14, 2010
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff

Greenville, S.C. -- Three players share the 36-hole lead at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, the Nationwide Tour's ninth event of the year. Two-time Tour winner Scott Gutschewski, Michigan native Justin Hicks and first-round co-leader Martin Piller are knotted at 131, one stroke ahead of a trio that played Carolina CC today; Kevin Chappell (68), Fabian Gomez (68) and Tag Ridings (64).

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Playing the host Thornblade Club, Gutschewski carded eight birdies and an eagle while posting a 9-under 62. The score is the lowest round of his career, bettering his previous best by one shot. Gutschewski has 39 career top-25 finishes in the 89 events he's played on Tour.

"It didn't feel ridiculous," said Gutschewski, who equaled the 9-hole tournament record with a 28 on the front nine. "The courses we're playing this week are in great shape and they tend to put the pins in flatter spots since we're playing with amateurs so it's a little easier to make birdies. "

Hicks also played Thornblade Club and had a similar scorecard to Gustschewski. He recorded eight birdies and two bogeys en route to a 6-under 65. The 2008 Ford Wayne Gretkzy Classic winner has played in every event this year on Tour and his best finish, T5, came on the West coast at the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae.

"We had some opportunities coming in, but unfortunately I didn't capitalize on them as well as I'd like to," said Hicks after hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation. "We've still had two pretty good days and we've got a course tomorrow (Carolina Country Club) that's right there in front of us and there's a lot of birdies to be had out there too."

First-round co-leader Martin Piller backed up his 64 yesterday with a five-under 67 at Bright's Creek near Asheville, N.C.. Piller has his game under control as evidenced by his win in the Stadion Athens Classic, the Tour's last stop, two weeks ago. The Texas native is close friends with the leading Nationwide Tour money leader, Bobby Gates, who is playing in the Valero Texas Open this week on a sponsor's exemption.

"Whenever I was at A&M I always hated losing to Bobby," Piller said. "It motivates you to finish high on the money list and to win."

This event features celebrities and amateurs teaming up with Nationwide Tour pros in a best-ball format. There are 168 professionals paired with celebrities or other amateur contestants over three courses in Greenville, Spartanburg, S.C. and Mill Spring, N.C.

Fabian Gomez and his celebrity partner, Jennifer Mills, lead the way in the pro-celebrity portion after posting a 57 today at Carolina CC. The pair stands at 27 under for the opening 36 holes. Gutschewski and amateur partner Rolf Klam also carded 57, at Thornblade Club, and are only two strokes back at 25 under.

Second-Round Notes:

• The second-round leader has gone on to win the BMW Charity Pro-Am win four times: Russell Beiersdorf/1992, Chris Smith/1997, Tom Scherrer/1998 and David Mathis/2008.

• Players with area connections: Mark Anderson (USC), 73-69/T74; Tommy Biershenk (Boiling Springs/Clemson), 71-71/T88; Brian Duncan (Clemson), 76-73/T153; Alex Hamitlon (USC), 69-71/T57; William McGirt (Boiling Springs/Wofford), 70-70/T52; Phillip Mollica (Clemson), 72-71/T88; Stephen Poole (Spartanburg/Clemson), 69-72/T57; Kyle Stanley (Clemson), 69-68/T33; Kyle Thompson (USC), 69-68/T33.

• Stephen Leaney had a pair of eagles today at Carolina Country Club where he started on the back nine. He eagled the par-5, 13th hole and the par-5, 5th hole. He finished with a 67 and is T23.

• Keagan Bradley aced the 148-yard, 4th hole at Thornblade Club today. Bradley used a pitching wedge for his ace, the seventh of the 2010 Nationwide Tour season.

• Keagan Bradley broke the Thornblade Club course record with a 10-under 61. Bradley broke the mark of 62 set by Michael Clark II in the first round last year and matched by Sebastian Fernandez and Michael Sim.

• Keagan Bradley's 61 today is the lowest 18-hole score on Tour this year. Jim Herman also posted a 10-under par round, but his was a 62 in the opening round of the Moonah Classic, which he went on to win in a playoff.

• Keagan Bradley's 61 today matched the lowest 18-hole score in tournament history. Todd Barranger posted an 11-under 61 in the third round at The Cliffs Valley course in 2002.

• Scott Gutschewski matched the lowest 9-hole score of the year with a 28 on the front nine at the Thornblade Club today. Gutschewski had five birdies and an eagle in shooting his 7-under score. He finished with a 9-under 62 and is tied for second at 12 under.

• Danny Wax had a pair of eagles today at the Thornblade Club. Wax began his round on the back nine and eagled the par-5, 16th hole and the par-5, 5th hole. He finished with a 7-under 64 and is at 11-under, T4.

• Davd Mathis, winner of this event in 2008, moved into contention with a 9-under 63 at Carolina Country Club. Mathis is at 10 under, T10.

• NFL great Jerry Rice (92-82) was disqualified for violating rule 14-3 (using a measuring device). Rice's caddie used a laser to measure a distance on the opening hole during Thursday's round, without Rice's knowledge. Rice was not aware of the incident at the time and was informed of the decision after signing his scorecard on Friday.

• First-round co-leader Ted Potter Jr. carded a 1-over 73 at Bright's Creek GC and stands at 7-under for the first two days.

Scoring averages for the three courses
  Round 1 Round 2
Thornblade Club (par 71) 71.107 70.143
Carolina Country Club (par 72) 70.500 70.382
Bright's Creek CC (par 72) 71.429 70.696

• 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.

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