Staten edges Peters for one-stroke lead at Melwoodtext sizeJune 04, 2010
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR staff
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Lefty B.J. Staten shot a 7-under 64 Friday to take a one-stroke lead after 36 holes of the Melwood Prince George's County Open. Staten's bogey-free effort at the University of Maryland Golf Course put him at 11-under 131 and one better than Justin Peters, who was bogey-free with an afternoon 67.
Sharing third place are Jin Park, Darron Stiles and Nick Flanagan, who bogeyed the final hole. Michael Clark II, Monday qualifier Kyle Thompson and Australian Stephen Leaney are at 8-under 134 and tied for sixth place.
Staten stormed to the front when he closed his round with four consecutive birdies.
"It was a lot of fun, obviously," said Staten. "I think it's probably my best round this year. I think we got lucky today on quite a few holes to have some good numbers, where I could be aggressive with the shot. I did a lot of good things today. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and just gave myself a lot of chances. I missed some putts but played really, really solid so I can't complain at all."
Staten had every chance to complain after missing five birdie putts inside of 15 feet during a seven-hole stretch that started at No. 8. The misses turned into makes starting with a 6-footer at the par-4, 15th.
"I was getting frustrated," said the Texas resident. "The round could have been great but I just tried to stay patient. I knew if I could give myself a lot of opportunities coming down the stretch that a few might go in."
They finally did, giving Staten a 36-hole lead for the first time in his 86 career starts on the Nationwide Tour.
"The quality of play is so great and there are so many great players out here so you never know about the weekend," said Staten. "I'm just playing smart golf. I'm doing the right things to minimize my mistakes and maximize my opportunities."
Meanwhile, Park was squeezing everything he could from a day that had him criss-crossing fairways thanks to an erratic driver.
"I got a lot out of my round. I didn't hit it very well off the tee," he said after hitting 7 of 14 fairways. "It was a little more stressful than yesterday but when the putter is working, it takes the pressure off everything else. I made a lot of putts from the 5-15 foot range. I feel really fortunate to have my putter working so far. It feels nice because I've been hitting it well all year and not putting well. Now it's a little of the opposite, hitting it decent and putting really well, so the game is a lot more fun."
It was also a lot of fun for Peters, who snuck up the leaderboard late in the day with three consecutive birdies near the end of his round.
"It's nice to be in the final group, that's an experience I haven't had out here yet," said Peters, who is in his rookie season on Tour. "I know it's just Saturday but it's fun. It's what we play for, to be in those positions. I know B.J. [Staten] and it should be a fun day."
The first two days have been a walk in the park for Peters, who may best be known for winning the inaugural "Big Break" on the Golf Channel.
"I've been hitting a lot of greens but not making any putts," said Peters, who is No. 123 on the money list. "I wouldn't say I hit the ball great the last two days but my scrambling was good. That's the name of the game to keep rounds going."
• Six players returned to the course to finish first-round play this morning. They were unable to complete their rounds on Thursday when an afternoon thunderstorm suspended play from 4:56 to 7:00 p.m. ET.
• Brent Delahoussaye withdrew prior to the start of the second round due to foot injury.
• A total of 62 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 3-under 139.
• Second-round leader Staten, who finished T3 in his last start two weeks ago at The Rex Hospital Open, has made only one bogey in his first two rounds, a 3-putt bogey on the short, par-3, 17th Thursday. It is Staten's only bogey in his last 72 holes. He shot scores of 67-66?133 (-9) and was bogey-free for his final 36 holes at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
• Staten holds the 36-hole lead for the first time in his Nationwide Tour career. This is the 86th career start for Staten, who is in his fourth year on Tour. Staten's previous best standing after 36 holes was T3, which he has done three times, including at this year's Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open.
• Staten's 131 score matches his career-low score for 36 holes on this Tour. He also posted a 131 after two rounds of the 2007 Nationwide Tour Championship -- he finished T8.
• Park is making his 84th career start on Tour and is the best position he's ever been after 36 holes. Park's previous best through two rounds was a T6 at the 2005 Cox Classic. His career-best standing after ANY round was a T3 at the 2009 WNB Golf Classic.
• Park's 133 score also matches his career-low score for two rounds. Park has posted a 133 score for 36 holes three times previously.
• 21 of the top-25 leading money-winners were entered this week but only 9 of the 21 will be around for the weekend. Among those not advancing to the final 36 holes: No. 2 Bobby Gates, No. 3 Chris Kirk, No. 4 Martin Piller and No. 8 Jamie Lovemark.
Bobby MacWhinnie 71-68139 T44 Blaine Peffley 70-71141 m/c George Bradford 73-66139 T44 Blair Kennedy @ 80-69149 m/c
• There are four players in the field with University of Maryland connections:
• Dicky Pride leads the field in Driving Accuracy, hitting 24 of 28 fairways (85.71%). Pride ranks No. 29 on the Tour this year in that category (74.07%).
• Justin Hicks has hit 31 of 36 greens in regulation thus far (86.1%). For the year, he is No. 2 in that category at 78.40%.
• First-round leader Patrick Sheehan shot a 3-over 74 today and stands at 5-under 137, T24.
• Leading money-winner Kevin Chappell posted a 5-under 66 and is at 5-under 137, T24.
• Veteran Paul Claxton fired a 7-under 64 today, one off his career-lows. Claxton, who is making his 323rd career start, posted a 63 in the opening round of the 2009 Christmas In October Classic. This was his fourth career 64.
• Flanagan and Stephen Leaney each have 14 birdies to lead the tournament in that category.
• There are 57 players in the field this week that will be competing in various U.S. Open Sectional Qualifiers around the country on Monday. The majority of the total, 39 players, will be at Woodmont Country Club in Mitchellville, Maryland (about 15 miles away from the tournament site).
• Ryan Armour (72-70?142) missed the cut this week, his first in 2010. Armour had made all 10 cuts previously, though he was disqualified after the third round at The Rex Hospital Open for signing an incorrect scorecard.