Shelton leads as second round suspended at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship
April 19, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- April 19, 2019
- Robby Shelton shot 5-under 67 on Friday. (Kevin Prise/PGA TOUR)
PRATTVILLE, Ala. – After a three-hour delay pushed back tee times on Friday morning, Alabama native Robby Shelton carded a 5-under 67 to lead by five strokes at 12-under 132 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship. With the morning delay, caused by heavy rainfall on Thursday night, half of the field did not finish their second round as play was suspended due to darkness at 7:16 p.m. at The Senator Course.
Windy conditions and scattered showers were reflected in the scoring average. After averaging a score of 71.49 on Thursday, players averaged a 73.62 on Friday at the par-72, 7,654-yard course.
“Today was one of the toughest rounds I’ve ever played,” said Shelton, referring to the winds with gusts up to 30 miles per hour. “I just kept hitting it close. I had a lot of looks and a lot of guys didn’t. I had a few putts fall as well, but this wind was tough…This is the first time I’ve played the course like this, it’s not very often the weather is like this in April.”
On a course that showcases public golf in the state of Alabama, Shelton embodies golf in the state. The 23-year-old grew up in Mobile, played as a junior golfer across the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and starred as an All-American at the University of Alabama. He recalls winning several junior tournaments on The Senator Course growing up.
“Being on this course makes me comfortable,” said Shelton. “I have family here and there really is no pressure here when I’m playing well…There’s probably 8-10 family members out here and some sisters back at the house…Feeling comfortable is huge for me.”
Shelton posted a bogey-free round on Friday, one of two bogey-free rounds posted by players who finished their second round. He leads the field with 14 total birdies through 36 holes and led the field on Friday with only 21 putts over 18 holes (of players who finished).
“Having the three birdies in a row on the back nine was great,” said Shelton. “I was 1-under on the front and thought I played well, but I just couldn’t get anything going. To birdie 10, 11 and 12 was the highlight of the day for sure.”
In addition to the trio of birdies early on the back nine, Shelton birdied the par-4 sixth and the par-5 17th to complete his 67.
Shelton is in his sophomore campaign on the Web.com Tour after an up-and-down rookie season last year. The avid outdoorsman holds the solo lead of a round on the Web.com Tour for the first time in his career. He shared the lead after the first round with Chase Seiffert and shared the second- and third-round last year at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation before eventually settling for a T2 finish.
Virginia Commonwealth University alum Lanto Griffin sits solo-second at 9-under through 13 holes in his second round. Griffin birdied six in a seven-hole stretch on Friday evening before play was suspended due to darkness (Nos. 16-4).
Second-round play will continue starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.
• Friday’s weather: Scattered showers and windy, high of 60, winds W at 10-20 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour. Due to heavy rain on Thursday night, the start of play was delayed three hours on Friday morning. Play was suspended due to darkness on Friday night at 7:16 p.m. with half the field still on the course.
• With half the field returning on Saturday morning to complete their second round, the 36-hole cut will be made to the top-65 players (and ties) after completion. The projected cutline is currently at even-par 144.
• Robby Shelton is looking to become the third player this year (and third in a row) to go on to win the tournament after leading/co-leading after the second round. Last year, eight of the 27 champions led/co-led after the second round.
• In his Web.com Tour debut, Akshay Bhatia (-1, T47), is in position to make the cut, pending completion of play tomorrow morning. The 17-year-old Monday qualified into the tournament after making his PGA TOUR debut last month at the Valspar Championship. Bhatia is currently the eighth-ranked amateur in the world.
• Davis Riley, a former star at the University of Alabama, survived a 7-for-1 playoff at the Monday qualifier by chipping in from 30 feet for birdie to get into the field. Through 36 holes Riley is 3-under (T18). Alabama native Garrett Osborn, who also Monday qualified and played with Riley and Bhatia through the first two days, is also 3-under (T18).
• Tyler McCumber (-7, T3) is seeking his fourth top-10 finish on the Web.com Tour this season. He is currently tied with Scottie Scheffler and Brett Stegmaier with three top-10s this year, the most on Tour.
• Joseph Winslow followed up an opening-round 68 with a Friday 69 to reach 7-under (T3).
• Only two eagles were made on the course on Friday. Tyrone Van Aswegen eagled the 17th and Vincent Whaley eagled the 14th.
• This is the first Web.com Tour tournament in the state of Alabama since 2005. The Web.com Tour Championship was hosted at The Senator Course from 2001-2005. The LPGA had an event at The Senator Course from 2008-2016 and the Symetra Tour’s Guardian Championship has been held at the course each of the past two years.
• This week’s purse is $550,000, with $99,000 going to the champion. The champion will also earn 500 points in the Web.com Tour points system.
• Forty-seven former Web.com Tour champions are competing in the field, amounting to 68 victories, as well as 10 PGA TOUR champions (equaling 25 victories).
• The par-4 15th hole (448 yards) ranked as the toughest hole on the course on Friday with a scoring average of 4.550.
• The par-4 sixth hole (420 yards) ranked as the easiest hole on Friday. The hole played to an average of 3.788 and yielded 36 birdies to the field.