Defending champion Kevin Kisner matched the course record with a 9-under 62 Friday afternoon and grabbed sole possession of the 36-hole lead at the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic in suburban Pittsburgh. Kisner rallied from a slow start and dunked an 8-iron from 160 yards on the final hole for his second eagle in six holes and moved to the top of a surprising leaderboard.
After two trips around the Southpointe Golf Club, Kisner stands at 13 under par, matching his winning total of a year ago.
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“If the wind doesn’t blow, the guys are going to shoot low no matter where we play,” said Kisner, who tied Brad Adamonis’ course mark set a few hours earlier. “If it doesn’t blow, there’s no telling. Good fairways, soft greens hitting wedges to holes.”
England’s Gary Christian (63) buoyed by a pair of eagles as well, is at 11-under 131 and holding down second spot. First-round leader Josh Broadaway (68), Scott Brown (64) and former Navy Lt. Billy Hurley (65) share third place at 10 under, three back
Kisner moved into position to become the first player in the Nationwide Tour’s 22-year history to repeat as champion. This is the 643rd tournament since the Tour’s inception in 1990 and Kisner now has the chance to be the first to successfully defend a title. Michael Clark II came the closest, losing a playoff to Kevin Johnson at the 1997 Puget Sound Open.
“I seem to play it well. I don’t know why,” he said of the course located about 15 miles south of downtown. “I guess it fits my eye off the tee. I drive it pretty well here and put myself in position to make birdies.”
The whole field seemed to be making birdies, quite a contrast from a year ago when Jeff Curl’s final-round 63 was the only score below 65 in four days. Adamonis and Kisner posted 62s on Friday. Gary Christian, John Mallinger, Charles Warren, Lee Williams and Miguel Carballo carded 63s. Scott Brown and Adam Meyer had 64s on a day when the scoring average dipped to 69.835.
“Once you get going in that kind of deal you just keep the pedal to the metal, especially on this Tour,” said Kisner, a rookie on the PGA Tour this year who made only seven cuts in 20 starts. “There’s no looking back because you’ll get lapped in a heartbeat.”
--Josh Broadaway continues his impressive summer run. With his 3-under 68, the 33-year old from Georgia has now posted under-par scores in 15 consecutive rounds and 22 of his last 24.
--Bob May had a hole-in-one on the par-3 fifth hole, using a pitching wedge to ace the 140-yard hole. Aaron Watkins aced the 156-yard 14th hole. Charles Warren and Kevin Kisner both holed out for eagle on the par-4 18th.
--Matt Weibring had five birdies in a row starting at No. 8. Andrew Svoboda had five birdies in a row starting at No. 7. Steve Dartnall had five in a row starting at No. 8
--Local favorite Rocco Mediate shot a 5-under 66. He is 3 under for the first two days and is tied for 41st.
--Brett Wetterich withdrew during the round due to injury.
--Sponsor pick John Daly (69-67) is at 6-under-par 136. Daly is playing well because of his ability to scramble around the course. Through 36 holes, he has hit 16 of 28 fairways and 25 of 36 greens. Daly is tied for 12th heading into the weekend and looking for his first top-10 finish on this Tour in nearly 21 years. Daly’s last top-10 came at the 1990 Santa Rosa (Calif.) Open, where he tied for fourth. Daly tied for 32nd at last week’s News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tenn.
--Brad Adamonis set the Southpointe Golf Club course record with a 9-under 62. The old mark of 63 was set by Jeff Curl in the final round last year. For Adamonis, it’s his best score since posting a 10-under 62 in the second round at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. Several hours later, defending champion Kevin Kisner holed out an 8-iron from 160 yards on the final hole for an eagle and a round of 62 to match Adamonis.
--Charles Warren moved up the leaderboard with an 8-under 63. “I need to see if I can check back into my hotel,” said Warren, who shot a 3-over 74 in the first round. “All my stuff is in the car. I was expecting to just watch football all day tomorrow.”
--A total of 72 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 2-under 140. Last year’s cut was 1-under 141.
--Among those making the cut on the number were local favorite Steve Wheatcroft (72-68), winner of the Melwood Prince George’s County Open earlier this year; Sam Saunders (68-72), grandson of honorary Tournament Chairman Arnold Palmer. Mark Hensby (68-72) also made it despite a quadruple-bogey 9 on his next-to-last hole.