Joseph Deraney leads by 1 at Carlton Woods (CW photo)
THE WOODLANDS, TX (May 2, 2018) - The first round of the Carlton Woods Invitational saw three players, playing in their first-ever CWI rounds, take the lead with rounds of 69. On Wednesday, it was experience that won out, as three CWI veterans made moves, while the first-timers fell back.
Joseph Deraney (Lexington, KY) shot a 5-under 67 on Wednesday to take the 36-hole lead at the Carlton Woods Invitational, with the final round set for Thursday.
Deraney will get a chance at redemption on Thursday. In last year's tournament, he shared the lead going into the final round but was outdueled by Justin Kaplan (Houston, TX) in the final round and had to settle for a distant second.
He is a proven winner however, taking the Stocker Cup, Lupton Invitational and Timuquana Cup in 2016, and going back-to-back in the Kentucky Mid-Amateur in 2016 and 2017.
Playing the Fazio Course at Carlton Woods, Deraney started well with birdies at 1 and 4. He then showed how to bounce back from making bogey, first making an eagle on the driveable par-4 7th after dropping a shot at the 6th, and then making another eagle on the par-5 11th after bogeying the 10th.
A birdie two at the long par-3 16th got him to 5 under for the day and 6 under for the tournament.
Another proven winner is just one shot back and will play with Deraney in the final round. Colby Harwell (San Antonio, TX), a two-time CWI champion (2013, 2016), matched Deraney's 67 and is at 5 under. Harwell dropped a shot at the 3rd, then racked up six birdies thereafter, including four in five holes from the 7th.
Deraney and Harwell could be hard to catch on Thursday, as the next player is three shots behind Harwell at 2 under. But that player is 2015 champion Derek Meinhart (Mattoon, IL), who also shot a 67, and even more impressively was bogey-free.
All three first-round co-leaders shot over par in the second round, but remain in contention heading into the final day.
The three first-round co-leaders--Tony Romo (Dallas, TX), Brian Blanchard (Tempe, AZ) and Ryan Eibner (Dallas, TX)--started the day at 3 under, and each got to four under early in the round, but could not maintain the pace.
Related: Tony Romo Shares First-Round Lead at Carlton Woods
Blanchard dropped a couple of shots to start his back nine, but steadied himself from there and finished with a 73 and is tied for third with Meinhart at 2 under.
Romo and Eibner each shot a 74 and are in a tie for fifth at 1 under, five shots behind Deraney. Eibner was two shots closer but made an unfortunate double-bogey 6 on the final hole.
The unusually-low scoring continued on Wednesday, with four rounds in the 60s and seven red numbers in all. Coming into this week, there had only been seven rounds in the 60s all time at the CWI. But there have already been seven over the first two days this week.
Van Pierce (Naples, FL), who shot the fourth 67 of the day that included 8 birdies, and Heath Myers (Kingfisher, OK) are also in the fifth-place tie.
2014 champ Matt Van Zandt (Houston, TX) is alone in 9th at 1-over 145.
In the Senior Division, three-time champion Mike Booker (Houston, TX) is in position for a fourth CWI title after shooting the only sub-70 senior round so far, a 3-under 69 that puts him at 4 under for 36 holes.
Booker started the day one shot behind the first-round co-leaders Lawrence Field (Tulsa, OK) and Scott Smith (Houston, TX), but edged ahead by making three birdies in his first six holes. Starting on the back nine, Booker birdied 11, 14 and 15, and then played even-par golf from there.
Booker won CWI senior titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014 and was in contention for a fourth in 2016 but ultimately finished runner-up to Lewis Stephenson.
Field and Smith each had rounds of 71 and are at 3 under, one shot behind Booker. Smith was tied for the lead late in the round, but bogeyed his 17th hole of the day (the 8th).
Marcus Beck (Tallahassee, FL), who won the Moot Thomas Invitational earlier this spring, shot a 70 and is alone in fourth at 1 under in his first appearance at Carlton Woods.
Michael Mercier (Juno Beach, FL) sits fifth at even par.
The defending champion Jeff New (Scottsdale, AZ) is among a group of six players in a tie for ninth at 3 over.