Luke Gifford is on top at the Dixie after a 70-70 start
CORAL SPRINGS, FL (December 21, 2017) - Luke Gifford (Boca Raton, FL) shot his third straight under par round, a 1-under 71, to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Dixie Amateur.
The 17-year-old, who has committed to play golf at the University of South Florida, started the day with a one-shot lead and got to 6 under for the tournament with an eagle on the par-five 5th hole. After back-to-back birdies to start his back nine, Gifford reached 7 under, but immediately doubled the next hole and lost another shot at the par-five 15th. But a birdie on the final hole gave him the lead again and a good vibe heading into the final round.
First-round co-leader Paul-Louis Gachet of France, who backed up with a second-round 75, rebounded with a 4-under 68 capped off by a stretch of three straight birdies from 13-15. He sits at 4-under 212, one shot behind Gifford.
James Mishoe IV (Cary, NC), who is set to join the Guilford College golf team this spring, started the day one shot behind Gifford, and was three under for his round through 13 holes, getting to 6 under for the tournament. But he stumbled coming in, making a bogey at 14 and a double at the par-three 17th to fall to 3 under, in third place two shots back.
Florida Tech sophomore Han Xue (China) had the round of the day, a 5-under 67, to get into contention at 2 under, three shots behind. Xue started the tournament with a 77 but has made 13 birdies since, including 8 on Thursday.
He is tied for fourth with Matthew Sharpstene (Charlotte, NC), a freshman at West Virginia University, with followed consecutive 72s with a 70 to get to 2 under.
William Duquette (Canada) and first-round co-leader Bryan Morris (Beltsville, MD) are the only other players under par, tied for 6th at 1 under.
ROUND TWO RECAP
Luke Gifford (Boca Raton, FL) shot a second-straight 2-under 70 to take the halfway lead at the Dixie Amateur Championship.
Gifford, a USF commit, made four birdies against two bogeys to grab the lead at 4-under-par 140. James Mishoe IV (Cary, NC), a former UNC Greensboro college golfer who will be competing at Guilford College this coming spring, is one shot back after a 69.
First-round co-leader Bryan Morris (Beltsville, MD) shot a 74 and is three shots back at 1-under 143. He is joined at that figure by Gaelen Trew, a South African and currently a senior at Florida Tech.
A large group of seven players currently sits at even par 144, including the other round one co-leader Paul-Louis Gachet of France, who had five birdies but lost three shots on the last three holes to finish with a 75.
The round (and comeback) of the day went to Caleb Proveaux (Lexington, SC), a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, who followed an opening 81 with a 5-under 67 at Heron Bay Golf Club. After making three doubles and two triples in round one, Proveaux was almost mistake-free on Wednesday, making only one bogey against six birdies, and moving 104 places up the leaderboard.
Scores were lower across the board in round two, with 21 subpar rounds posted.
In each of the first two rounds, half of the field played Heron Bay Golf Club while the other half played TPC Eagle Trace. The low 72 players and ties advance to the final two rounds, with the cut falling at 9-over 153.
In his first competition in over two years, former U.S. Junior champion and Stanford golfer Jim Liu (Smithtown, NY) shot 78-79 to miss the cut by four shots.
Related: Dixie Amateur: Jim Liu Returns with a New Perspective
ROUND ONE RECAP
Paul-Louis Gachet and Bryan Morris each shot a 3-under 69 at Heron Bay Golf Club to share the lead after the first round of the Dixie Amateur Championship.
Gachet, a Frenchman who turned 18 last week, had a bogey-free round with three birdies. He leads a group of five players in the Dixie field from France.
Morris, a 21-year-old from Beltsville, MD, overcame an opening bogey to make five birdies and pull into the tie for the lead with a birdie on the final hole.
Tyler Carlson (Bradenton, FL), a freshman at Lynn University, shot a 2-under 70 to sit one shot back of the leaders. He is tied with Luke Gifford (Boca Raton, FL), a University of South Florida commit, who had a turbulent round that included an eagle and five birdies but also five bogeys.
Four players--Cash Carter (Dallas, TX), Tommy Liu (New Zealand), Peter Melching (The Netherlands), and Kyle Slattery (Rockford, IL)--shot rounds of 1-under 71. Liu had the steadiest round, with 17 pars and a birdie, while each of the others had five birdies and four bogeys each.
With 7 players at even par, 10 at 1-over, and 15 at 2-over, and 20 at 3-over, the tournament is wide open heading into the second round.
Jim Liu (Smithtown, NY), the former U.S. Junior champion, #1 ranked junior, and Stanford golfer, made his return to competitive golf after a two-year hiatus and shot a 78.
Once again the Dixie Amateur has drawn a deep field of college, junior and international players, with 14 foreign countries represented: England, France, Germany, Belgium, Iceland, Argentina, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and India.