Michael Brennan was the youngest player to compete
in the U.S. Open Sectional this June; now he leads the
Middle Atlantic Amateur at the halfway point (VSGA photo)
LORTON, VA (September 22, 2017) - Michael Brennan, from Leesburg, Va., backed up an opening 69 with a 67 and his6-under-par 136 was good for a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the 111thMiddle Atlantic Amateur Championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club.
Of the top eight first-day scorers, Brennan, 15, was the only one with a lower score. Scott Shingler from Haymarket, Va. had a second straight 70 for 140, where he was tied for third by Jon Moles (73-67), Frederick, Md., while Gordan Brixi, Potomac, Md., squeezed in ahead with 72-69–139.
Related: Middle Atlantic Amateur: Jay Card III Has First Round Lead
With the field cut to the low 60 and ties for the final two rounds, 63 players at 164 and better will continue.
Brennan, who plays from the River Creek Club, got a confidence-booster right off the bat with two straight pars. It wasn’t the result as much as “how,” as he reached each green in regulation but was faced with a 50-foot putt and later one from 30 feet. He coaxed home a six-footer at the first and an eight-footer at the second and it turned out those were the closest he came to making a bogey. He ended a string of eight pars with a 3-foot put for birdie at the ninth, then ran in three in a row, 12-13-14, on putts ranging from 15-18 feet.
Another key was, “I handled myself better and hit different clubs off some of the tees that put me in a better position,” he said. For the round he ended a string of eight pars with a three-foot putt for birdie at the ninth, then strung three in a row beginning at the 12th, with two of them in the 15-18-foot range.
Brixi, also 15, had two birdies, two bogeys on the front nine, then heated up on the back with four birdies, with all six coming on putts from inside 20 feet. He goes to school in Florida and spent the summer honing his game with tournaments in Europe.
Moles, 21, winner of the Bubby Worsham tournament last year, hit it mere inches from the cup for birdies at the first two holes and went on to birdie three of the four par 5’s. His only major mistake resulted in a double-bogey seven at the 15th, where he hit it into tall grass and couldn’t find it. Shingler’s up-and-down effort included six birdies, five bogeys.
Kip Smith, from Annapolis, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Andrews AFB, produced the low round of the warm, sunny day when he shot 66 with three birdies on each nine — two of them on putts from 20-25 feet.
Smith was followed in the day’s low-round chase by Brennan, Brixi, and Moles, plus Adam Houck, Richmond. Va., a Virginia State Open qualifier earlier this season, all at 67. It got Houck to 143, along with Kevin Johnson, of Bethesda. who returned 69-74. Joe Scheffres, North Potomac, Md., rounded out the top five just in front of them, recording 70-72, with his 1-over-par tour including birdies at all four par 5’s.
There were two eagles at the 562-yard 18th, as Matthew Feinstein, 17, from McLean, Va., saw his hybrid second shot hit the flagstick and stop a foot away, and Parker Williams, Bethesda, Md., struck a 4-iron shot to the front edge, then holed the chip shot.
ABOUT THE Middle Atlantic Amateur
54-hole stroke play championship. The field is cut to
the low 60 scores and ties after round two. Open to
members of member clubs of the Middle Atlantic
Association, and by invitation.
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