MARION, Ill. (Aug. 8, 2012) -- One of the state's most decorated amateur golfers found himself atop the leaderboard after 36 holes at the 82nd Illinois State Amateur Championship, as Todd Mitchell repeating his opening round 66 on Wednesday to move to 8-under par for the championship. The Bloomington native dropped five birdies and one bogey in the second round to open a one shot lead over John Watson, IV of Lincolnshire.
"My round was very similar to yesterday, I made some good putts," Mitchell said after playing Wednesday morning. "Conditions were similar to yesterday afternoon, the pins are tougher today and the greens are getting even better and faster as the day goes on."
Watson, along with Mitchell, held a share of second place heading into the morning session on Wednesday. Watson carded a 3 under 67, including 8 straight pars to start the round on the back nine.
"My round was good, I had a slow start and missed some opportunities early," Watson said. "I got the birdie on 18 (his ninth hole) and started hitting it closer."
With temperatures approaching 100 degrees in the afternoon, many players who had good rounds Tuesday morning failed to make further movement on the leaderboard. First round leader Quinn Prchal of Glenview fired a 72, slipping to 3-under par for the championship in a tie for 3rd place. Jimmy Slovitt, who matched Mitchell and Watson at 4 under on Tuesday shot a 74 and is tied for 10th place.
Players making moves on Wednesday included Timothy Kay of Bartlett, who backed up a first round 69 with an afternoon 68 to move to 3 under and a tie for third. Jeffrey Miller of Centralia shot a 68 in the morning to move into a tie for third as well. The best round of the afternoon in the heat was Byongjoon Park of Glenview, firing a 4 under 66 after teeing off in the final group of the day at 1:50 p.m., moving into a tie for third with Kay, Miller and Prchal.
"I hit the driver great and didn't get in any trouble," Park said. "I only made one mental mistake on the seventh, but came back with an 8 foot birdie putt on nine to finish my round."
The remaining field of 37 players will compete in the 36-hole finale on Thursday. Mitchell, a two-time champion of the event making his 11th appearance and Watson, making his second State Amateur appearance will be in the final pairing at 8:20 a.m. off the first tee.
"I just want to keep on my gameplan, make pars and no mistakes," Watson stated. "My goal is to stay in the present for 36 holes."
"It's been a long time--nine years--since I won," Mitchell added. "I'm not thinking about the past, I'm just going to go off the last two days."
The third round of the championship begins at 7 a.m., with the final round scheduled to tee off at 12 p.m.