Alabama State Amateur: Hawkins, Kaufman lead

SYLACAUGA, Ala. (June 10, 2011) -- Low scores continued to be the order for the day in the 95th State Amateur Championship at FarmLinks Golf Club in Sylacauga, with Valley Head’s Hunter Hawkins (65-68) and Vestavia’s Smylie Kaufman (67-66) tied for the lead on 133, 11-under-par.

They are two clear of Fort Payne’s Will McCurdy, who shot 69-66–135, nine-under-par.

It will be a busy weekend for McCurdy, in particular, as he left FarmLinks Friday afternoon to head home where he is Best Man in his stepbrother Devin Dean’s wedding to Ivey Isbell.“I’ll be back and forth from Fort Payne and Sylacauga, but that’s alright.”

The rehearsal dinner is Friday night and the wedding Saturday night. Better hope for no weather delays Saturday…

Play was delayed due to inclement weather Friday afternoon for 1 hour 20 minutes, but the second round was concluded as darkness fell, with the cut falling at three-over-par 147.

It will quite the family weekend for McCurdy and Hawkins as they are first cousins and have played literally hundreds of rounds together at Terrapin Hills Country Club through the years growing up together. McCurdy’s stepfather Terry Hawkins and Hawkins’ father Chuck Hawkins are brothers.

“It will be fun to play together,” Hawkins said. “We were paired together in the State Amateur last year and three years ago. We were in the mix (close to the lead), but not close enough to win.”

McCurdy, Hunter Hawkins and Terry Hawkins are staying in their camper for the week at Desoto Caverns. Terry is caddying for Will.

Kaufman, who finished his freshman year at LSU last month, attended Vestavia High School. He likes his position.

“I feel like it will be a putting contest and I’m seeing the lines (on the greens) really well.“The course sets up good to my eye and I can be aggressive on it.”

He also has experience in Alabama Golf Association events, having finished second to Bobby Wyatt in last year’s State Junior, when Wyatt shot his world record second round 57.Kaufman made a grip change early this spring and it has taken him a while to be comfortable with it. Hence, he did not start in the spring for LSU, but is positive about the change now.Hawkins was pleased with his 68.

“I played about the same (as the first round), but just didn’t make quite as many putts. I’m thrilled with my position.”

He just concluded his redshirt sophomore year at UAB after transferring from Jacksonville State.McCurdy moved into contention with his 66, that included an eagle on No. 16, when he holed out a gap wedge from 108 yards.

He plays for Auburn and will be a senior in the fall.

“I took a three day vacation from golf last week and when I started playing again Monday, I was really striking it well. I’m hitting this beautiful little cut shot. It’s given me an aggressive feeling to just rip it.”

Play continues Saturday and Sunday, with the leading group of Hawkins, Kaufman and McCurdy paired together.

ABOUT THE Alabama State Amateur

Entries are open to any male amateur golfer who is a legal resident of Alabama, and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at an AGA member club that does not exceed 8.4. Pre- qualifying for non-exempt players, followed by 72 holes of stroke play.

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