GULF SHORES, Ala. (June 8, 2012) -- Andy McRae leads the field after the second round of the 96th State Amateur Championship at Kiva Dunes in Gulf Shores after shooting a second round 67 to add to his opening 70, good for a 137 total, seven-under-par.
The former Samford golfer has a two-shot lead over defending champion Smylie Kaufman of Vestavia Hills and LSU, who shot a 68, to go along with his opening round of 71, to be at 139.
Auburn golfers Will McCurdy of Fort Payne and Cory Gilmer of Hoover also both shot 68 and are on 142 and 143 respectively and are the only other players under par.
Trussville native and UAB golfer Sam Love is the only player on even par 144 after rounds of 71-73, and overnight leader Blake Mozley of Albertville added a 76 to his opening 69 and is solo sixth on 145.
McRae, who lost in the final of this year’s State Four Ball Championship with partner Vic Kyatt to the team of Doug Davis and Tommy Coggin, played for Hoover High School (on a team that won multiple state titles in 1999 and 2000) before attending Samford from 2000-2004. He is 30, an accountant and plays at Hoover Country Club.
He started his second round on the back nine making birdies on Nos. 10, 14 and 15 to make the turn in three-under. He added three more birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 7 before a lone bogey on No. 8.
“This is the state’s most competitive golf tournament and I really enjoy it. To be honest, I didn’t come into it with a load of confidence. I just wanted to maneuver my way around this course and keep the ball in play.”
That he did as he has only missed four greens in regulation in two rounds on a course that is very challenging.
“The name of the game is to hit greens (in regulation) and I’ve done that really well. I hit a lot of really solid golf shots and didn’t have any nerves.
“I’m old enough now to appreciate a good round and this (his second round) was a good round. I really enjoy competing against the college players (who are in most of the other leading places). Those college kids play every day of the week and I don’t. I enjoy being around them and I think that takes some of the heat off of me. I’m having a good time and I’m enjoying the ride.”
Kaufman, who will be a junior at LSU in the fall, did not play for his college team as much as he would have liked this year.
“I learned a lot as I was not as consistent as I would have liked. I know now how better to prepare and I’ll be ready to go (for his junior year).”
Kaufman started his second round slowly on the back nine with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13 (“It was raining when we started and we were into the wind on lots of holes.”), but a birdie on No. 17 saw him turn in one-over, before he turned on the style on the front nine (his back nine) with birdies on Nos. 1, 2, 5, 7 and 9 to shoot 31 and bring himself flying into contention.
“I played with Will McCurdy and he also shot 31 on the front (their back nine) and we kind of fed off each other.
“After 36 holes I just wanted to be in touch for the weekend, which I am, and I feel good about defending (his title).”
The championship is four rounds of stroke play, with a cut made to the low 66 and ties after two rounds. The cut fell at 160, 16-over-par.