Patrick Damron chips out of the rough on the 18th hole of the Elmhurst Country Club during Friday’s second round of the NEPA Classic. Three golfers finished the day tied for the lead.FRED ADAMS/THE TIMES LEADER
MOSCOW — With nine holes measured below 400 yards at Elmhurst Country Club for this weekend’s NEPA Classic, several golfers might decide to pull a Phil Mickelson and forget to take their drivers on the course.
That would probably bode well for D.A. Points if he misplaced his driver the next two days.
Points, an Ocoee, Fla. resident, only used his driver a few times on Friday and he ended in a three-way tie for the lead.
The 2004 tournament champ fired 6-under in the second round to push his score to 8-under 132. Greg Chalmers and Brad Fritsch are co-leaders. The last time a three-way tie occurred after play in the Classic was after the first round in 2005 when Greg Kraft, Matt Weibring and David Morland IV all fired 65. Kraft went on to win the event that year.
“So you don’t hit a lot of drivers, big deal. You’ve still got to keep it in front of you,” Points said. “The main thing is keeping it on the fairway.”
Points’ tally was helped by a 20-foot eagle putt on No. 6 after he missed about a four-foot putt for par on No. 5 and had to settle for a bogey. He also registered five birdies.
“If I can do a carbon copy for two more days like today, I’ll be happy,” he added.
Fritsch, a Holly Springs, N.C. resident, had a pair of bogeys on Friday, but countered with a round-high seven birdies to fire a career-tying-best 65. The other time he fired 65 was during the second round of the 2007 Knoxville Open.
Fritsch’s best showing in a tournament this season was ninth at the Knoxville Open in June.
Since then, he has played in five tournaments and missed the cut in three of them. His best showing after Knoxville was when he was tied for 41st at the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic.
“It’s just nice to be playing on the weekend,” said Fritsch, who entered the Classic 101st on the money list. “It’ll be nice to be playing somewhere near the end of the draw. I’ve been in this position a couple of times this year and did OK, but not great. We’ll see how it goes.”
Fritsch hit all 14 fairways on Friday and was 16-for-18 in shots to the green, while only having to use the putter 30 times.
Chalmers, who entered Friday tied for the lead, will try to become the first player since Kraft to hold at least a share of the lead after the first two rounds and win the tournament.
The native Australian had an off-day in the second round compared to his 8-under in the first round. Although he had six birdies, he also had one bogey and a pair of double-bogeys.
All his trouble came on the back nine when he shot 2-over on Nos. 10 and 13 and was 1-over on 16. He was, however able to rescue himself with three birdies on the final nine.
“I think it was probably fortunate to come away with only two-over on the back nine after two doubles and a bogey,” Chalmers said. “I did a self lobotomy there a couple of times I think.”
Chalmers began his day early Friday morning and was one of the first players to finish his round. He didn’t think his low score would hold up.
“I’m going to have spike marks on my back (Friday) afternoon,” he said after finishing his round and before seeing the final scores.
Chalmers made a few correct predictions earlier in the week about low scores. It’s a good thing that his latest forecast was wrong.
David Branshaw and Dustin Bray was tied for fourth at 7-under, while six players are tied for sixth at 6-under. Those golfers are: Rick Price, Scott Piercy, Cameron Percy, Chris Kirk, Won Joon Lee and Jeff Curl.
Notes: The 1-under cut mark might seem high, but the last two years at Glenmaura, the cutoff was 2-under... Money leader Jarrod Lyle, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Thursday, missed the cut firing even-par... Greg Owen, who is tied for 12th at 5-under, is 10th on the money list, but is still in search of his first win this season... Sixty-four players made the cut at 1-under or better. They will begin the third round at 8:07 a.m. today. The leaders will tee off at 12:50 and 1 p.m.
(No. 1 tee)8:07 a.m. – Spencer Levin; 8:14 – Chris Smith, Gary Christian; 8:23 – David McKenzie, Steve Allan; 8:32 – Phil Tataurangi, Joe Daley; 8:41 – Jeff Gallagher, Bill Lunde; 8:50 – Webb Simpson, Matt Harmon; 8:59 – Kyle Reifers, Matt Abbott; 9:08 – Scott Dunlap, Dave Schultz; 9:17 – Dicky Pride, Ryan Hietala; 9:26 – Matt Bettencourt, Scott Parel; 9:35 – Richard Johnson, Roger Tambellini; 9:44 – Garrett Osborn, David Morland; 9:53 – Brian Stuard, Josh McCumber; 10:02 – Michael Putnam, Tim O’Neal; 10:11 – Brendon De Jonge, Justin Hicks; 10:20 – Brian Smock, Tommy Gainey; 10:29 – David Hearn, Gibby Gilbert III; 10:38 – Craig Bowden, Aron Price; 10:47 – Steve LeBrun, Sebastian Fernandez; 10:56 – Mark Brooks, David Mathis; 11:05 – Jason Schultz, Jeff Brehaut; 11:14 – Fran Quinn Holden, Grant Waite; 11:23 – Rich Barcelo, Ben Bates; 11:32 – Peter Tomasulo, Lee Curry; 11:41 – Greg Owen, Brendon Todd; 11:50 – Jeff Klauk, Chris Tidland; Noon – Keith Nolan, Chris Nallen; 12:10 p.m. – Jeff Curl, Bubba Dickerson; 12:20 – Chris Kirk, Won Joon Lee Glenwood; 12:30 – Rick Price, Cameron Percy; 12:40 – Dustin Bray, Scott Piercy; 12:50 – D.A. Points, David Branshaw; 1:00 – Greg Chalmers, Brad Fritsch