GREENVILLE, S.C. – First-year Web.com Tour member Franklin Corpening is the halfway leader of the BMW Charity Pro-Am after posting a 15-under-par total of 128 in the unique pro-celebrity/amateur tournament played over three courses in Upstate South Carolina.
The 28-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, has a one-shot lead over fellow TCU grad and friend Tom Hoge and South Carolina’s Mark Anderson after rounds of 62-66.
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Corpening has played nearly flawless golf over the opening 36 holes, collecting 13 birdies, one eagle and no bogeys. He has hit 22 of 27 fairways and 30 of 36 greens, recording 29 putts Thursday and 25 Friday. His only stressful moment came on his 18th hole at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, where he canned a 15-footer to save par after being in a greenside bunker.
While this is a big week for Corpening, he has another one ahead. He has received a Champions’ Choice invitation to play in next week’s PGA Tour event, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club, where he learned to play the game and where his father has been a member for 18 years.
Playing Thornblade Club, Hoge carded three birdies on the front nine and added four more on the back, plus a kick-in eagle on the par-5 16th when he nailed a 5-iron from 212 yards to one foot en route to his 63. The unique format, which pairs one professional with a celebrity or amateur, has had a positive effect on Hoge.
“The guys we’re playing with this week are good amateur players, so it feels like you’re back at home playing a practice round with some guys who are scratch golfers. They’ve been great and we’ve been able to feed off each other.”
Mark Anderson tackled what statistically has been the toughest of the three host courses Friday. The Beaufort, S.C., resident added a 67 at Greenville Country Club’s Chanticleer Course to the 63 he put up Thursday at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, which put gave him a share of the first-round lead.
“I’m happy with my 67 today,” the 2008 University of South Carolina grad said. “It’s nice to get this one out of the way and play well. This (Greenville Country Club) is definitely the trickiest of the three courses.”
Hudson Swafford (Greenville Country Club) and Zack Miller (The Reserve), who shared the first-round lead with Corpening, shot 70 and 73, respectively, to drop to a tie for seventh and a tie for 31st.
Corpening has conditional Web.com Tour status via his finish at PGA Tour Q-School last December. His best finish in eight career Web.com starts to date is a tie for 22nd at this year’s Chile Classic in Santiago in March. His game has been steady, yet not spectacular this year as he has made five cuts in his six starts. He is 86th in earnings.
He is one of three players to complete the first 36 holes without a bogey, joined by Aron Price (-10) and Benjamin Alvarado (-8).
--Roland Thatcher tied the Thornblade course record with a 10-under par 61 (Keegan Bradley, 2010). The round of 31-30 included four birdies on the front nine, four more on the back, plus an eagle at the par-5 15th. Thatcher is tied for seventh and plays The Reserve at Lake Keowee on Saturday.
--Playing with conditional status both last year and this year, Hoge’s best finish was a tie for sixth at the 2012 Colombia Championship in Bogota. “It’s been a slow start (in 2013), not knowing when I’m getting in events. I’ve felt like I’ve been playing great the last month or so, starting in Brazil when I shot a 65 in the first round there. Hopefully I’ll get into a few events like here and Mexico and go from there.”
--Guy Boros and Matt Davidson lead the tournament in Greens in Regulation (33 of 36). Andrew Loupe leads the field in putts per round (24.50). Richard S. Johnson leads the field in driving accuracy (26 of 28).
--Cliff Kresge had a pair of eagles on par-5 holes, Nos. 15 & 17.
--For the second time in as many days, an amateur recorded a hole-in-one. Comedian Gary Valentine made his first ace while playing Chanticleer’s par-3 14th hole. Valentine’s ace came with a 6-iron shot from 165 yards.
--In the Pro-Am competition, the teams of Michael Putnam/Rolf Klam and Wes Roach/Bob Johns are tied for the lead at 23 under par. South Carolina's Mark Anderson and partner Todd Justice are in third place, one shot back.
Following Saturday's third round, the top 16 teams will advance to Sunday. There are currently 16 teams at 20 under par (tied for ninth) or better, including the team of David Lipsky and partner Ty Gretzky, the 22-year-old son of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky (tied for 35th) and actress Janet Jones-Gretzky (tied for 58th).
A season-high 168 professionals are competing this week to accommodate the unique professional-celebrity/amateur format. A cut will be made Saturday after 54 holes to the low 60 and ties instead of the usual 36-hole cut.