Homa holds clubhouse lead at South Georgia Classic
May 02, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- Max Homa is the clubhouse leader, but will he stay on top when the second round concludes on Saturday? (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
MORE: Leaderboard | Highlights | Ortiz' shot at three-win promotion
VALDOSTA, Ga. – Max Homa said it almost felt like he was back in college after playing 32 holes Friday while moving to the top of the leaderboard in the rain-delayed South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank & Trust Co.
Homa, who graduated from California-Berkeley last year, has posted scores of 67-68 for a 9-under 135 total, good for the clubhouse lead by three over Washington’s Alex Prugh (68), Scotland’s Jimmy Gunn (68) and Florida State’s Daniel Berger (68).
Leading money winner Carlos Ortiz had a late afternoon tee time and is 5-under for the second round. He is currently 10-under par thru 12 holes. With a victory this week, Ortiz would earn a three-win promotion to the PGA TOUR. Andrew Putnam, winner of last week’s WNB Golf Classic, is solo third at 7-under thru 12* holes.
Ortiz, Putnam and half the field did not complete the second round and will resume play at 7:45 a.m. Saturday.
Thunderstorms Thursday delayed play a couple times and pushed the tournament behind schedule by five hours, forcing the current leaders to return to the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club course and finish up round one before and then making a U-turn to begin round two.
“It actually felt like a short day compared to some of the days we had in college,” said Homa, the 2013 NCAA Individual champion. “You stay in a rhythm and ride out the a rhythm. If things start getting bad you understand that there is a ton of golf left, and that’s just for the day.”
In the morning, Homa finished up a bogey-free, 5-under 67 that gave him a share of the first-round lead with Thursday finishers Carlos Ortiz and Jeff Curl. The California native wasn’t perfect off the tee in round two (8 of 14 fairways) but cleaned things up with his iron game (16 GIR).
“The course is long. You need to carry the ball pretty far out here to attack,” he said. “I can’t really be too displeased. I’ve just got to clean some things up and hopefully I can keep hitting like I am.”
Homa’s lone hiccup came on his final hole when he three-putted for his only bogey of the first two rounds.
“I played pretty stress-free and mistake-free golf until that last hole,” he said. “It’s been a good day.”
It was also a pretty good day for Ortiz, who was well rested for his 4:30 p.m. tee time. A two-time winner already this year and the Tour’s leading money winner, Ortiz blitzed his way to a 4-under 32 on the front nine to get to 9-under and then added another birdie at No. 10 to take the outright lead just before play was suspended for the day.
• Friday weather: Cloudy with light rain showers in the morning. Wind NNE 5-10 mph. High of 70.
• Saturday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high near 80 degrees.
• Lift, clean and place conditions are in effect for the second round.
• Play was suspended at 7:50 p.m. due to darkness. The second round will resume at 7:45 a.m. Saturday
• Following completion of the second round the field will be cut to the low 65 professionals (and ties).
• Veteran Jesper Parnevik was forced to withdraw early in the second round with back problems. Parnevik played nine holes earlier in the day and completed his first round with a 4-over 76.
• Homa finished T6 at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn status on Tour this year. Homa is making his fourth start of the season – he finished T51 at the Panama Claro Championship, T47 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and then missed the cut at the Mexico Championship.
• Homa, 23, graduated from the University of California-Berkeley last year. He was the 2013 NCAA Individual NCAA Champion for the Bears and a First Team All-America.
• Homa’s only previous start on Tour came at the 2013 Mylan Classic last year. He missed the cut while competing as an amateur.
• Homa has made eight starts on the 2013-14 PGA TOUR and made the cut four times. His career got off to a terrific start with a T9 finish at the Frys.com Open last October and earned $135,000. That was his only top-25 finish. Homa finished T48 at last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans and thus came up short of the FedExCup points he needed to attain Special Temporary Membership this season after exhausting all of his available (7) sponsor exemptions.
“I’m disappointed but my path was going to be tough. I thought I played well but I needed to play a little bit better,” he said. “I think I learned a lot and I think I belong out there. I learned that I can go out there and play my game and not try to force it.”
Homa said he will play full-time on the Web.com Tour for the remainder of the year in an effort to gain TOUR status for next season.
• Daniel Berger played 33 holes Friday and has posted scores of 70-68. His 6-under total is currently T2 among those who have completed two rounds.
“It was a long day and you know you’re going to make some bogeys,” he said. “The biggest thing was just to stay patient.”
Berger was a two-time All-America at Florida State, which is only about 90 minutes down the road and the former Seminole feels right at home this week but isn’t feeling any extra pressure.
“I feel pretty comfortable here. I think since I played well early in the year the pressure is off,” he said. “I have no expectations. I’m 21 years old and there’s nothing better that I’d rather be doing than playing golf.”
• Berger is also enjoying playing in front of a small, personal gallery that includes his Mom, Dad, coach and manager. In fact it’s the first time his father, Jay, who is the director for men’s tennis for the USTA, has seen him play.
“He’s a coach so he doesn’t say a word. He just watches me with his arms crossed, just like most coaches,” laughed Berger. “It’s great that he’s here!”
• Tom Hoge finished up a rollercoaster two days with scores of 68-80.
• Players who have posted bogey-free rounds this week:
R1: 67 – Carlos Ortiz; 68 – Andrew Putnam, Blayne Barber; 69 – Miguel Angel Carballo; 70 – Ryuji Imada, John Kimbell; 71 – Kyle Stough
R2: 68 – Jimmy Gunn, Cameron Percy, Tag Ridings, Chris Baker; 69 – Jason Allred, Ryan Spears; 70 – Peter Lonard;
• The first round resumed with players in position at 7:45 a.m. All of the players from the afternoon draw needed to complete their rounds. The round concluded at 12:43 pm.
• The first round took a total of 29:28 to complete after starting at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday.
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the first round.
• Here’s what the leaderboard looked like when the first round was suspended due to darkness on Thursday:
1. Carlos Ortiz 67 (-5)
Jeff Curl 67 (-5)
3. Andrew Putnam 68 (-4)
Blayne Barber 68 (-4)
5. Six players tied 69 (-3)
• Here is what the leaderboard looked like at the completion of the first round:
1. Carlos Ortiz
67 (-5) 4. Andrew Putnam
68 (-4) 9. Seven players tied at 69 (-3)
• There were 11 players who hit all 14 fairways in the first round and 13 more who missed only one from the tee.
• Five players hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
• There were three players who hit all 14 fairways and 16 greens and all three struggled a bit on the greens:
Player Fairways Greens Putts Score Colt Knost 14 of 14 16 of 18 31 3-under 69 Jonathan Randolph 14 of 14 16 of 18 35 1-over 73 Jose de Jesus Rodriguez 14 of 14 16 of 18 34 even-par 72
• Scott Pinckney (69) had the most birdies (7) and the fewest putts (23) in the opening round.
• There were only two eagles recorded in the first round: Brett Lederer at the par-3 2nd hole and Colt Knost at the par-4 12th. The scarcity of eagles is no surprise given the length of the golf course. Last year there were only 10 eagles recorded for the entire tournament.
• Scoring averages for the week:
Front 9 (36) Back 9 (36) Total (72) Round 1 35.987 36.744 72.731 Round 2 35.893 36.044 71.938 (incomplete)
NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour will be idle next week and return May 12-18 for the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C.