Not a single cloud was in the sky on Friday at the South Georgia Classic, and plenty of golf was played at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club – at 7,781 yards the Nationwide Tour’s longest course. A total of 50 players were able to finish 36 holes before darkness halted play at 8:13 p.m.
Michael Letzig, Mathew Goggin and Jon Mills are tied for the lead at 6 under. Letzig collected seven birdies through 17 holes -- offset by a double bogey and one bogey – of the second round, while Goggin has yet to start his second lap around the track. Mills wasted little time after his 7:30 p.m. second-round tee time, making birdie on each of his first three holes. The trio is one stroke ahead of 10 others.
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A better perspective of the leaderboard won’t come into view until the early afternoon on Saturday when the entire field has completed 36 holes. Thursday’s delays from the storms caused the afternoon groups of the first round to start this morning at 8:50 a.m., then promptly begin their second round at 2:20 p.m.
Roughly half the field was able to start the second round. The other half will resume at 7:50 a.m. on Saturday.
“I’m putting well,” said Letzig, who drained multiple putts outside of 15 feet in the second round. “When you’re making those putts in builds your momentum. You start to do everything good. It definitely feels good to be rolling the ball well.”
When Letzig returns in the morning to complete his round, he’ll only have one hole to finish, but his group was seconds away from avoiding the early wake-up call.
“We were trying to hurry,” he said. “Frank (Lickliter) holed his sand shot for birdie on our 17thhole then started running to the next tee. Unfortunately the horns blew before he could hit his tee shot.”
Goggin, who won the Panama Claro Championship earlier this year, did not let Thursday’s delays affect his performance.
“You can’t get involved on whether we play or how late we’re going to play or if you’re going to finish,” said the three-time Nationwide Tour winner. “I’ve been around long enough now to just chill out and do what you’re told, really.”
The nine-year PGA Tour veteran struggled last year on Tour -- making just 13 of 28 cuts -- but his game is coming around.
“I got my equipment all sorted out,” said Goggin. “I couldn’t get the shafts right and I sort of changed the line on my irons. That made a big difference. I went to a new TaylorMade driver and I’m hitting it a lot straighter and a little longer. I got off to a great start and that gave me a lot of confidence. You really never know how it’s going to go, but a win kick started the year I guess.”
Eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star John Smoltz received a sponsor’s exemption, making his first start in a PGA Tour co-sanctioned event. The 43-year-old who carries a +2 handicap posted a 12-over 84 in the first round. Smoltz’s second-round tee time is at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
--A total of 100 players did not complete Round 2. They will return on Saturday and resume play at 7:50 a.m. Following completion of the round, the field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties. Third-round tee times will run from approximately 2:45-4:45 p.m. with play in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees.
--All four past winners of the South Georgia Classic are in the field this week: John Kimbell (2007/4 under through 33 holes), Bryan DeCorso (2008/even par through 18 holes), Garth Mulroy (2009/1 under through 18 holes) and Ewan Porter (2010/3 under through 36 holes).
--Andrew Buckle posted 4-over 76 in the first round but rebounded in the second round with a 4-under 68. He’s currently tied for 60th.
--Jacksonville, Fla., native and Monday qualifier Michael O’Neal (tied for fourth) posted 2-under 70 in the first round kept his momentum going in the afternoon. The University of North Florida graduate recorded two birdies and 12 pars through 14 holes to get to 4 under for the tournament.