Mills out to midway lead at South Georgia Classic

April 29, 2011
Adam Wallace, Nationwide Tour Staff

VALDOSTA, Ga. -- The second round of the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank & Trust Co., the fifth stop on the 2011 Nationwide Tour schedule, is officially in the books. For the first time this week all the players in the field have completed the same number of holes, 36, and there is a defined leaderboard.


Canadian Jon Mills racked up six birdies in the second round to get to 9-under 135. He leads by three strokes over Georgia native John Kimbell and Missouri native Michael Letzig. Gary Christian, Mathew Goggin, Troy Kelly, Brent Long, James Nitties and Ted Potter Jr. are four back at 5-under 139.

Mills is no stranger to great golf. He was an All-American in 2001 at Kent State, where he was teammates with 2003 British Open winner Ben Curtis, and has two career wins on the Nationwide Tour (Canadian PGA Championship/2005 and Albertsons Boise Open/2007).

"I've been making putts," said Mills, who became a father in March. "Putting seems to always be the difference between good golf and bad golf. I haven't played much this year but I'm playing well and I have a lot of confidence right now."

This week is Mills' third Nationwide Tour event of the year. He missed the first two events in anticipation of the birth of his son, Benjamin Andrew, but finished T13 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Classic and T49 at the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae.

Eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star John Smoltz received a sponsor's exemption, making his first start in a PGA TOUR co-sanctioned event. The 43-year-old who carries a +2 handicap recorded rounds of 84-87--171 to miss the cut by 27 strokes.

The third round began at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Second-Round Notes

• Smoltz quotes:

"The people here were great. Never in a million years did I think I would shoot those two rounds but it happened. I'm going to learn from it and stick to recreational golf for right now until I get back to the point where I want to be."

"It was a good opportunity and I don't regret it at all. The fans were great. I've never been applauded for such mediocrity in my life."

(For comments on Smoltz's second round see his blog here.)

• A total of 98 players returned on Saturday morning at 7:50 a.m. to complete round two. The other 50 finished the second round last night. Third round tee times will run from approximately 2:45-4:45 p.m. with play in threesomes off both the 1st and 10th tees.

• All four past winners of the South Georgia Classic are in the field this week: John Kimbell (2007/-6/T2), Bryan DeCorso (2008/-1/T41), Garth Mulroy (2009/-2/T28) and Ewan Porter (2010/-3/T19).

• A total of 71 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at even-par 144.

• Ted Potter Jr., who was a Monday qualifier, is tied with Michael Letzig, Jon Mills and James Nitties in birdies through 36 holes with 11. Potter posted rounds of 70-69 -- 139 to be T4.

John Kimbell and James Nitties posted 7-under 65s in the second round, the best 18-hole score through 36 holes. Kimbell's 65 included an eagle, six birdies and one bogey. Nitties notched nine birdies, offset by two bogies, en route to his 65.

Andrew Buckle/T57 posted 4-over 76 in the first round but rebounded in the second round with a 4-under 68 to make the cut on the number at even-par 144.

• Jacksonville, Fla., native and Monday qualifier Michael O'Neal/T28 posted rounds of 70-72 -- 142.

Brian Bateman, Marco Dawson, Glen Day, Jerod Turner and Brett Waldman withdrew during the second round.

• The first two rounds were played with preferred lies.