North Carolina Mid-Amateur: Defending champion Greg Earnhardt takes 36-hole lead
Greg Earnhardt during North Carolina Mid-Amateur second round action <br>(CGA Photo)
Greg Earnhardt during North Carolina Mid-Amateur second round action
(CGA Photo)

GREENSBORO, NC (September 23, 2016) -- Posting the low round of the tournament, defending champion Greg Earnhardt of Greensboro put himself in great shape for a repeat victory. His 7-under-par 64 provides a four stroke cushion heading into Sunday's final round.

In last year's championship, Earnhardt erased a three stroke deficit to claim the P.J. Boatwright trophy, his first Carolina Golf Association title. "The tournaments that I've won, I've always come from behind," said Earnhardt, who works as an insurance agent. "This is going to be a new experience. I'm not a great frontrunner." His two-day total of 132 is 10- under-par on the par-71 layout at Starmount Forest Country Club.

If Earnhardt continues to hit his irons like he did Saturday, a back-to-back title run should be achievable. Of the eight birdies in his second round, many were tap- ins as a result of accurate approach shots. "I had a bunch of really good numbers into the holes today," said the 47-year-old Earnhardt. "I was able to be aggressive."

Trailing Earnhardt by four strokes is 2013 North Carolina Amateur champion, Steven Brame of Henderson. Brame backed his opening 69 with a 4- under 67. "I just kept the ball in the fairway, hit a few more greens, and made a few more putts," said Brame, a Xerox salesperson. Brame explained his putting success was achieved by leaving the ball below the hole, "If you are above the hole, you are playing for par."

On Saturday the 33-year-old Brame played the three par-5's at Starmount Forest in four-under. His round was highlighted by a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th.

Playing in the final pairing with Earnhardt and Brame is first round co-leader Noi Chay of Apex. At 5- under 137, the 43-year-old Chay will begin Sunday trailing Earnhardt by five strokes.

Through 36-holes, 14 players are below par. The cut to the low 60 and ties fell at nine-over 151. 62 players will compete in Sunday's final round beginning at 8:00 a.m. from both the 1st and 10th tees with the leaders teeing off at 9:40 a.m.

-Story by AmateurGolf.com Staff

Sherrill Britt and Noi Chay both posted first round 4-under 67's to lead the 23rd North Carolina Mid- Amateur being played at Starmount Forest Country Club. However, the lead is a tenuous one as 22 players are within four of the lead.

Britt, part of the afternoon wave played flawless golf with four birdies during his opening round. Britt started on the 10th and moved into red figures right off the bat with a birdie on his opening hole. Two more birdies followed and Britt turned in 3-under 33. On the front nine Britt birdied once more to close with a 1- under 35.

Choi also began his round on the 10th hole and fell into the black with his only bogey of the day on No. 13. A birdie on the ensuing hole brought Choi back to even- par and he then reached the red with another circle on the 16th. Three more birdies followed on Nos. 18, 2 and 3.

Greg Earnhardt and Dustin Moore are one back and tied for third at 3-under heading into the second round. Earnhardt birdied five holes and bogeyed two during his round while Moore tallied six birdies and bogeyed three. Moore recorded four consecutive birds from Nos. 14- 17.

Five others are tied for fifth place at 2-under.

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ABOUT THE North Carolina Mid-Amateur

North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship is open to any male amateur golfer who has reached his 30th birthday, is a legal resident of North Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at a CGA member club that does not exceed 5.4. Sectional qualifying is required in the weeks before the championship unless exemption criteria is met. 54-hole stroke play event with a cut to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes.

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