BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Though Patrick Christovich holds the 36-hole lead at five-under 139 after a second-round 69, many players are lurking behind him, including 12 players within seven shots of the lead.
First-round leader Mark Cusic of California, Md., who opened with 68, fell back into a tie for eighth after a 76 on Saturday, but is still only five shots back.
Cusic, 36, had an amazing 2013 season in which he qualified for three USGA events. He shot 134 to medal at his U.S. Amateur qualifier, but failed to make match play at The Country Club in Brookline. He qualified the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links that year, as well. He advanced to match play in both, losing in the first round at the Public Links and advancing to the round-of-32 at the Mid-Amateur.
The leading Christovich found himself in the quarterfinals twice in 2014 — once at the U.S. Mid-Amateur and again at the Crump Cup. He was the 2014 Coleman Invitational champion, beating out Kevin Marsh by three.
Trailing close behind Christovich is Craig Smith of Nashville, Tenn., who recently finished in the top-five at the Lupton Memorial Invitational.
Seth Sargent of Birmingham and TJ Shuart of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. are tied for third at 141, while Hunter Bronson, Joseph Deraney, and Tim Jackson are three back in a tie for fifth.
Deraney, of Lexington, Ky., tied for first at the Lupton, but lost in a playoff to Charles Waddell. Jackson, 56 of Germantown, Tenn., placed second last week at the Tennessee State Open, where he won as an amateur in 2002.
ABOUT THE Birmingham National Invitational
This 54-hole stroke play event, formerly
held the weekend after Memorial Day but moved to
November in 2020, dates back to
the early 1900's and is also known as the "NIT". Draws
a field of national-level mid-amateurs.
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