PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Steven Delmar of Rockville, Maryland, has solo command through 36 holes of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Delmar, who turns 31 one week from today, is hoping to secure an early birthday present and has posted a pair of 4-under 68s on the Wanamaker Course to gain a two-stroke advantage over Kenny Pigman of Norco, California.
Making his third appearance in the Championship, Delmar will stay the weekend for the first time, having missed the cut in 2015 and 2016 – a dramatic difference that can be attributed to his execution following a misstep.
MORE: Assistant PGA Professional Championship scores, leaderboard
“Pretty solid start so far. Yesterday, every time I made a bogey, I followed with a birdie,” said Delmar, a PGA Associate at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “More of the same today. I wasn’t that comfortable; I just scored well. We’re only halfway done, but I definitely feel good about my position.”
Through two rounds, Delmar has converted 12 birdies, three of which came directly after a bogey. He responded to his fourth bogey of the Championship (No. 11) with a pair of back-to-back birdies on 13-14 and 16-17 and will ride the momentum into the weekend.
Pigman is no stranger to success when competing against fellow PGA Assistant Professionals. In six appearances in his PGA Section’s National Car Rental Southern California Assistant PGA Professional Championship, Pigman owns a 50% win-rate with three victories (2014, ’17, ’18) – each in come-from-behind fashion. To earn a victory this week, Pigman will have to lean on that familiar experience.
“There weren’t too many highlights today,” said Pigman, a PGA Assistant Professional at Goose Creek Golf Club in Mira Loma, California. “I struggled from holes 8 to 12 – just lost my swing. Fortunately, I played well coming in, but there’s a lot of golf to be played.”
A double-bogey at the 8th and a pair of bogeys on 11 and 12 slid Pigman’s name down the leaderboard, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to maintain a solid position.
Also chasing Delmar are Alan Morin of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, and Drew Bateman of Marble, North Carolina – each sitting in a tie for third at 5-under 139. Morin has four top-12 finishes in the Championship since 2013, while Bateman is making his first appearance.
With a victory this week, Delmar would become the second consecutive winner from the Middle Atlantic PGA Section. Ryan Zylstra, formerly of Richmond, Virginia, and now a resident of Naples, Florida, captured the 2017 Championship. Zylstra (T-60) also advanced to the weekend but will have plenty of ground to make up after a 74-75-149 start.
Seventy players advanced to the weekend, as the field was cut to the low 70 scorers and ties.
MORE: Ryan Zylstra wins 2017 Assistant PGA Professional Championship
This week’s champion, if eligible, will earn a berth in the 2019 PGA Professional Championship, which is slated for April 28-May 1 at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. The winner will also receive $12,000 of the $150,000 purse.
The top-four finishers, if eligible, will earn a berth in next year’s National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, to be held November 14-17 at PGA Golf Club.
The National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship is supported by Srixon | Cleveland Golf | XXIO, GolfAdvisor.com and John Deere.
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