B.J. Staten and Jake Younan-Wise share the second-round lead after 36 holes at the 20th annual WNB Golf Classic. The pair is at 13-under-par 131 and holds a two-stroke advantage over Miguel Carballo and three over Cliff Kresge and Tim Wilkinson.
Younan-Wise posted Friday’s low round, a 7-under 65, playing in the afternoon. His bogey-free round included five birdies and an eagle. He nearly made a double eagle on No. 4 when his pitching wedge from 150 yards lipped out, leaving him a tap-in for his eagle.
“Things were a bit scratchy for me on the first nine holes because of the wind,” Younan-Wise said following his round. “I had some trouble with my lines and wasn’t really confident, but when we got to the back nine I really started to play well. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived today because of the wind, but it died down quite a bit on our back nine. I feel confident and feel good going into the weekend. You just want to be there to give yourself a chance.”
The 24-year-old Younan-Wise, a native of Australia, is playing his first full season on the Nationwide Tour after finishing 11th in the Nationwide Tour Qualifier at the 2010 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. He has made just two cuts in 18 previous starts this year, the last coming in mid-June at the Preferred Wichita Open (tie for 30th). His best finish came the previous week when he tied for 15th at the Rex Hospital Open. He played his college golf just up the road at Texas Tech.
Players were tasked with battling much windier conditions on Friday after near-perfect conditions in the opening round. Competitors in the morning round faced wind speeds ranging from 10-20 mph with some gusts reaching 30 mph. One of those playing in the morning groups was Staten, who opened with a 9-under-par 63 to seize the lead a day earlier.
After a slow start in the second round, he finally got on track with a birdie on No. 16 (he started on the back nine) and another at No. 18 minutes later. He finished with a 4-under-par 68.
“The wind is the one constant we’re going to get here in Midland,” Staten said. “Those first 12-14 holes were a challenge. It howled out there but it was fun to get it under par rather than over par. The key today was patience. When you have conditions like today, you’re dealing with a difficult golf course and you have to be patient. But I have absolutely zero complaints. I really enjoy coming here and playing this course. It’s fun to be in contention.”
Miguel Carballo followed his opening-round 67 with a 6-under-par 66 and holds sole possession of third place and trails the leaders by two strokes, while Cliff Kresge and Tim Wilkinson matched 6-under-par 66s on Friday to go into the weekend tied for fourth place.
--A total of 67 players made the cut at 3-under-par 141.
--Brian Vranesh ran his string of consecutive holes without a three-putt to 335. However, he missed the cut by one stroke.
--Gary Christian and James Hahn had two of the day’s biggest moves, jumping 58 places from a tie for 66th to a tie for eighth after each fired a 6-under-par 66. Roberto Castro rebounded from an even-par 72 with a 6-under-par 66 to jump 79 spots from a tie for 96th to a tie for 17th.
--Among the players making the 36-hole cut was Tyler Sheppard, who attended Midland Lee High School and later played collegiately at Midland College before finishing at Abilene Christian.
--Doug LaBelle II is the only player in the field to have posted consecutive bogey-free rounds. … Kevin Johnson and David Morland IV needed just 22 putts on Friday. … Miguel Carballo leads all players with 15 birdies.
--With windier conditions on Friday, the scoring average jumped from 70.303 to 71.920. Thursday’s average was the lowest first-round scoring average since the event moved to the Midland Country Club in 2002. … The most difficult hole after 36 holes is No. 18 with an average score of 4.226 (+.226), while No. 12 is the easiest at 4.344 (-.656).
--David Branshaw has eagled No. 2 both days. … Roberto Castro had pair of eagles in the second round, including one on the par-4 10th hole.