Randolph takes lead at Chitimacha Louisiana Open
March 30, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- Jonathan Randolph heads into the weekend with the lead in Louisiana. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
BROUSSARD, La. – Mississippi’s Jonathan Randolph fired a 6-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead at the halfway point of the 23rd Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Nacher. Randolph’s 11-under 131 score topped that of 2010 champion Fabian Gomez (67) of Argentina, Ryan Blaum (68) and veteran Bill Lunde (64).
Mexico’s Sebastian Vazquez (65), Bronson Burgoon (65) of Texas A&M, 2013 NCAA Champion Max Homa (65) and Colombia’s Andres Echavarria (67) are knotted at 8-under 134 and tied for fifth place. Eleven others are in at 7-under and four off the pace.
Randolph went out early in the morning and posted the number to beat. The former All-America from Ole Miss grew up about three hours away in Brandon, Miss., so it’s no surprise that he feels comfortable at the Le Triomphe Country Club.
“Being so close to home, these greens look so natural to me,” said Randolph, who is tied for first with just 53 putts through two rounds. “If you just give them a good roll, they’ll go in. They may hit a bump here or there but if you just keep giving yourself good looks you’re going to roll in a lot of putts.”
Randolph’s seven birdies included a pair of 20-footers and admitted afterward that things were good but they could have been a little better.
“I probably missed three putts inside four or five feet,” he said. “I had a lot of really good looks. You have to keep going or you’re going to get lapped.”
With a favorable wind (SW 10-15 mph) and lift, clean and place conditions in effect for the second straight day scores were low and birdies were everywhere. Thursday’s opener produced a 71.264 average on the par-71 layout with a total of 478 birdies. Friday’s average of 68.757 ranked as the second-lowest in the tournament’s 23-year history and there were 654 birdies, an increase of 36.8% from the first round.
Blaum, a first-round co-leader with family ties to the area, shared the lead at 11-under until his tee shot at the par-4, 18th splashed into the water that runs down much of the right side of the fairway.
“I just missed and missed it right and that’s where you didn’t want to miss it,” he said after a double-bogey 6. “I should have no problem carrying that water if I hit it anywhere on the clubface. I just played the hole poorly, there’s nothing else to that. I deserved to make double the way I hit the ball on the last hole.”
Second-Round Notes & Quotes:
• Friday weather: Partly sunny. Winds SW 10-15 mph. Daytime high of 82. Overnight low of 67 with 0.10” rainfall.
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the second round.
• A total of 67 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 3-under par 139. Last year, 69 players made the cut at 2-under par.
• The lowest cut in tournament history was 6-under par (2002, 2003) and the highest cut in the 23 years the tournament has been played was 6-over par in 1998.
• Saturday’s third round will be in twosomes off the first tee. Times will run from 7:52 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CT.
• There were 478 birdies in the first round or an average of 3.31 per player. Friday’s total of 654 birdies averaged out to 4.54 birdies per player.
• The Le Triomphe Country Club course played to a par of 72 for the first 13 years of the tournament. The layout changed to a par of 71 in 2006, making Friday’s average of 68.757 the lowest since the change took place.
• Randolph was a college standout at University of Mississippi, where he was named to the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman team as well as first-team All-SEC in 2010. He was first team All-America in 2010 and named to the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll from 2008-10. Randolph was a member of the United States team in the 2010 Palmer Cup and a semifinalist at the 2011 U.S. Public Links Championship where he lost to Derek Ernst 3-2. He also won the Mississippi State Amateur in 2009.
• Randolph was born, raised and still lives in Brandon, Miss. He graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in Business Marketing in 2011.
• Randolph is making his seventh career start on Tour and his fifth this season. He started his rookie year with a T14 at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, followed by a T23 at the Chile Classic, a missed cut at the Brasil Championship and a T15 at the Panama Claro Championship last week. He is currently No. 29 on the money list.
• Ryan Blaum was a two-time All-America selection at Duke and the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Blaum attended Westminster Christian HS in Miami.
• Blaum finished the season No. 1 on the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order or Merit to claim the Roberto De Vicenzo Award and earn fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour for 2014. His campaign included two victories, two runner-up finishes, seven top-10 efforts and 10 cuts made in 13 starts. Earned $99,135 in prize money to finish $752 ahead of No. 2, Mexico’s José de Jesús Rodríguez.
• Blaum opened the year with a T29 finish at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship and then was T42 at the Chile Classic. He missed the cut in his last two starts at the Brasil Champions and last week’s Panama Claro Championship.
• Fabian Gomez earned his first career title at the 2010 Chitimacha Louisiana Open, where he fired a final-round, 7-under 64 to win by six strokes, the largest winning margin in tournament history.
• First-round co-leader Kyle Reifers shot a 1-under 70 and is T9 heading into the final two days.
• Two-time winner Brett Wetterich (2003 and 2011) posted scores of 69-70-139 (-3) and advanced to the weekend. Casey Wittenberg, the champion in 2012, shot rounds of 70-69-139. Bubba Dickerson, the winner in 2009, missed the cut after rounds of 70-72-142 (E).
• Alistair Presnell (64) had 10 birdies during the round.
• Jon Curran (64), Roland Thatcher (63) and Steve Saunders (66) each had nine birdies.
• Ryan Blaum leads the tournament with 14 birdies through 36 holes.
• Players who posted bogey-free rounds this week:
R1 – 67 - Andres Echavarria; 68 - T.J. Vogel; 70 – Bubba Dickerson
R2 – 64 – Bill Lunde; 65 – Sebastain Vazquez, Bronson Burgoon, Max Homa, Derek Gillespie; 66 – Ash Hall, Philip Pettitt Jr.; 67 – Jason Gore, Chris Epperson, Fabian Gomez
• Best rounds of the day:
63 – Roland Thatcher
64 – Jon Curran, Alistair Presnell, Andrew Putnam, Bill Lunde