Thompson takes sole possession of lead after 36 holes at Price Cutter



Published: Saturday, August 14, 2010 | 12:31 a.m.

Kyle Thompson moved out of a share of the first-round lead and into solo possession of the 36-hole lead at the Price Cutter Charity Championship, the 19th event on the 2010 Nationwide Tour, on Friday. A 5-under 67 moved Thompson to 14-under 130 and one stroke clear of Tommy Biershenk (65) and Hunter Haas (66).

“It was a solid round of golf,” said Thompson, who hit nine of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation. “I started the day off and didn’t hit the ball that great on the front nine and was a couple under, but hit a couple great shots on the back nine.”

Thompson’s only bogey of the round came at the par-5 18th hole, where his approach shot found the water hazard. It was quite a turnaround from the eagle he had on the hole during the first round.

“Unfortunately, I hit it in the water on the last hole,” said Thompson, who had 27 putts for the second consecutive day. “I hit a great drive there, the best drive I’ve had in two days. I only had 215 yards and I hit it in the water, so that is really the only mistake I’ve made in two days with my swing.”

This marks the second time in three weeks that Thompson has led after the first and second rounds. Two weeks ago at the Cox Classic he shared the lead the first two rounds before rounds of 69-71 led to a tie for 15th. He knows it’ll take two more spectacular rounds this week to post his third career win on the Nationwide Tour.

“If I could shoot another 15 under (14 under) I may have a chance, that is how low it goes here,” said Thompson, currently No. 31 on the official money list. “I’ve got to keep making birdies. That is the way it goes here. I know by the time I tee off I will be in about 12th or 15th place so you just have to keep playing and not worry about what everyone else is doing. Just make a lot of birdies.”

Birdies have been plentiful for Thompson of late, as he is now 45 under in his last 10 rounds. He opened with a 63 on Thursday, marking the third consecutive week and the fourth time in his last eight starts he has posted a 63. With eight rounds in the 60s in his last 10 attempts, the former University of South Carolina Gamecock has been flirting with equaling the career-best 62 he posted at the 2004 Scholarship America Showdown.

Thompson has finished inside the top 20 in his last two starts -- a tie for 15th at the Cox Classic and a tie for 17th at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open -- and inside the top 25 in five of his last seven starts. But if he is to step into the winner’s circle on Sunday, he’ll have plenty of competition in his rear-view mirror, with Biershenk one of 22 players within five shots of the lead.

Biershenk has been fairly dominant on the 2010 eGolf Tour. In 13 events, he has racked up nearly $100,000 in earnings and sits No. 2 on the official money list. During one stretch, he notched five top-4 finishes in six starts, including a victory at the Bolle Classic.

“This year I’ve had a good year on the eGolf Tour,” said Biershenk. “I had a good run there where I finished third, second, first and then second, but then I went into a little lull there for a couple weeks. But I’m feeling about the same now as I did when I was playing really well and giving myself opportunities to win golf tournaments.”

Biershenk is making his 116th career start on the Nationwide Tour this week in Springfield. He was a full-time member of the Tour from 2000-03 and posted his career-best finish at the 2000 Oregon Classic (tie for second).

“I like my chances (this weekend),” said Biershenk, who tied for 32nd at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in his only other start on the 2010 Nationwide Tour. “The reason I say that is I’m hitting it well. I’m very confident in my ball-striking right now and my putting. Everything is kind of falling together. You’ve got to grab a lot of birdies out here. At least 21 or 22 under will win the tournament … so you have to keep the throttle down and continue to be aggressive. To win golf tournaments, you can’t play safe all day.”

Second-Round Notes: The cut came at 5-under 139, with 67 players advancing to the weekend. It marks the fifth time in the last six events on the Nationwide Tour that the cut has been at least 5 under. … Ben Bates made the 225th cut of his career -- the most in Nationwide Tour history. Paul Claxton missed the cut, but still sits second on the list with 200 made cuts in his career. … Gary Woodland (68-67) and Chad Ginn (67-68) are bogey-free through 36 holes. … Players with bogey-free rounds on Friday included Ty Harris (64), Luke List (65), Nate Smith (66), Scott Brown (66), Gary Woodland (67), Fernando Mechereffe (67), Chad Ginn (68), Blake Graham (68) and Hugo Leon (70).

The second-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win four of 18 events this season, most recently Tommy Gainey at the Chiquita Classic. … The 36-hole leader has won five of 19 times at the Price Cutter Charity Championship: Anthony Painter (1998), Patrick Sheehan (2002), Brad Ott (2004), Tom Scherrer (2007) and Colt Knost (2008). … The par-4 14th hole played the toughest on Friday with a 4.200 average. … The par-5 11th hole was the easiest for the second-consecutive day at 4.406. It has yielded 16 eagles so far this week.