John Oda takes 36-hole lead at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic
January 14, 2019
By Preston Smith, PGATOUR.COM
- January 14, 2019
- UNLV alum John Oda has opened in rounds of 63-68 at Sandals Emerald Bay. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas – After returning early on Monday morning to complete a first-round 9-under 63, John Oda added a 4-under 68 to lead the field at 13-under at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay. Oda completed the final three holes of his first round beginning at 7:15 a.m. with a par-birdie-par finish. Play was suspended again due to darkness during the second round with three groups left on the golf course.
Oda posted six birdies against one double bogey on Monday to reach 68 and pace the field by two strokes. The Las Vegas native is playing in his first Web.com Tour Regular Season event after competing in the 2018 Web.com Tour Finals.
“Just staying calm and staying positive all day really helped me today,” said Oda. “Yesterday was a slower round, but I stayed patient and it worked well for me. I think keeping the ball in play is tough; there are some tough shots out here on both nines. But I was just getting some putts to drop and that was the key.”
The 22-year-old might have been helped by strong competition in his group. Austin Smotherman (T3) and Matthew NeSmith (T9) played with Oda for the first two rounds, which reminded Smotherman of his college days.
“Playing with John and Matt, we all know each other from college and fed off of each other,” said Smotherman. “Obviously John’s playing incredibly right now and he’s done this a lot on a lot of different Tours and events. The last time we played together was at Stanford, I think my junior year and his sophomore year of college, and now here we are.”
Through 36 holes, Smotherman (9-under) has enjoyed a strong start in his Web.com Tour debut this week. In all, 17 players are making their Web.com Tour debut this week.
Starting on the back, Zecheng ‘Marty’ Dou birdied four in a row on a stretch of oceanfront holes (Nos. 14-17) to ascend the leaderboard and sit in second. Dou leads the field with 15 total birdies.
“I started off pretty well today, a lot more relaxed than my start yesterday,” said Dou. “Two years ago I played about 25 events on the Web.com Tour and only made about half of the cuts. So anything can happen out here. If you’re not playing well, you can miss eight cuts in a row. If I do that here starting this season, I have nowhere to go after four starts. So that is definitely in the back of my mind, thinking about where I want to be the rest of the year. That’s where the pressure comes in.”
The three remaining groups will continue their second round at 8 a.m. ET. Tuesday.