Steve Friesen admitted he wasn’t as sharp late in Friday’s second round of the Nationwide Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship, but he still managed to post a 4-under 68 and maintain his lead at the halfway point. Friesen, who clocked in with a 62 on Thursday, is at 14-under 130 and one shot in front of Josh Broadaway, who posted a 7-under 65 at the Highland Springs Country Club.
Rhode Island’s Brad Adamonis (66), Australian Gavin Coles (68), rookie Zach Sucher (66) and veteran Cliff Kresge (65) are two shots back. Four others, including lefty Ted Potter Jr., winner of the South Georgia Classic, are at 11 under and three back heading into the weekend.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Friesen, who was up by two after the opening 18. “I just tried to keep playing like I did yesterday but I didn’t make as many putts, but that’s going to happen.”
By the time he hit the tee Friday afternoon, Friesen’s lead was gone and he was chasing the morning leaders, who were torching the par-72 layout with a barrage of birdies.
“There are so many good players on this tour,” he said. “Any week you can have anyone doing well.”
And so far, the anyone is Friesen, who is coming off a tie for 49th finish at last week’s Cox Classic in Omaha and making only his second start of the year. The 34-year-old Arizona transplant birdied five of his first 12 holes and held a three-stroke lead before stalling out down the stretch.
“I was a little disappointed in my second nine holes. I wasn’t playing as well as I would have liked,” he said. “It’s nice that I’m leading the tournament but there are a lot of great players right below me with a lot of experience.”
Dogging his heels is Broadaway, the cross-handed Georgian whose confidence is running high thanks to three top-15 finishes in his last four starts.
“I was telling my caddie today that I’m just having so much fun playing,” said Broadaway, who has moved to No. 26 on the money list. “We’re just not getting in our own way right now. If we miss a short one or make a dumb par, we just move on and play the next hole. It feels like I’m finally figuring out how to play this dumb game.”
Broadaway, never lacking in talent, gained his biggest mental boost early in the year when he was a Monday qualifier at the Honda Classic, one of the tougher stops on the PGA Tour schedule. In his first-ever start on tour, he finished tied for 43rd and wound up in front of Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy, Anthony Kim and Rickie Fowler, just to name a few.
“I’m still building off that experience. I didn’t have my best stuff that week,” he said. “I took a lot out of that. If I can beat those guys on that venue, then that’s where I belong and ever since I’ve been playing solid on my way to get there.”
Broadaway has also embraced the concept of ‘process vs. results.’ With the occasional help of a sports psychologist, he worries only about the process and knows the results will come.
“I’ve just been missing something the last few years and I really didn’t know what it was,” he said. “Whether it’s going to be a good result or a bad result, it doesn’t matter. I’ve still got to hit that shot and then hit the next one.”
Broadaway hasn’t had as many ‘next ones’ this week as he is the only player in the field without a bogey on his scorecard.
--A total of 64 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 5-under 139. This marks the fourth straight year the cut has been at 5 under.
--Rookie Zach Sucher is at 12 under after two rounds and he says part of his success is due to the fact that he got to play practice rounds Monday and Tuesday, something he hasn’t been able to do much this year. Sucher (soo-ker) has conditional status on tour and is making only his seventh start of the year. He made only one previous cut, at the Mexico Open, where he also got into the event early and played practice rounds. Sucher has traveled to four events this year as an alternate, waiting and hoping enough players would drop out and allow him a shot.
Sucher was left standing at the season-opening Panama Claro Championship, where he was the first alternate on Monday and never got in. The same thing happened to him at the South Georgia Classic. He was the third alternate at the BMW Charity Pro-Am and didn’t make the field. At last week’s Cox Classic, he was No. 2 in line but didn’t get to tee it up.
--Jonas Blixt was on a torrid pace early but settled down and finished with a 7-under 65. Blixt, a 24-year-old native of Sweden, birdied nine of his first 11 holes but wound up playing the final seven holes in 2 over par thanks to bogeys at Nos. 8 and 9. Blixt’s 7-under 29 on the back nine tied the tournament record score for the back.
--Seong Ho Lee tied the tournament record score for the front nine with his 7-under 29. Lee finished with a 6-under 66 and is at 6-under 136 for the first two days.
--Former Augusta State standout Patrick Reed moved into contention with a 5-under 67. Reed, a member of ASU’s NCAA Championship teams the past two years, turned pro this spring. He was 7 under for the day after four consecutive birdies but double bogeyed his final hole (No. 9) and is at 8 under through 36 holes.
--J.J. Killeen, winner of the past two tournaments, rebounded from his opening-day 74 to shoot a 5-under 67. His 3-under 141 total was not good enough to make the 36-hole cut. Killeen had made eight consecutive cuts prior to this week . His 74 Thursday ended a streak of 16 consecutive rounds below par.