Josh Edgar at DHGC (Savannah Richardson photo)
Day two of the Dogwood Invitational saw more low scores and two new leaders at the top of the pack.
A pair of Australians lead the field at the midway point. Georgia State's Josh Edgar
shot a 66, and Australian Amateur champion Louis Dobbelaar
finished day two with a 64 to tie at 12 under for the lead heading into the third round.
Georgia Tech's Connor Howe
, who set the tone for the day after shooting an 11-under 61 in the opening group, is one stroke off the lead at 11 under.
Between the three of them, they made 21 birdies and two eagles on the day.
After shooting a 71 on day one, Howe went on a tangent, recording nine birdies and an eagle in his bogey-free second round.
Dobbelaar tallied eight birdies on the round in the last group, adding onto a successful first-round 68.
Day one leader Ross Steelman
shot even par to stay at 10 under. Joining him at 10 under are Canadian mid-amateur Garrett Rank
and University of Arkansas' Manuel Lozada
. Rank shot a 69, and Lozada recorded a 64 to push them up the leaderboard.
There is a three-way tie at 9 under among Mason Andersen, William Walker III
and James Leow. Andersen shot a 67 and Leow a 69. As for Walker III, he shot a 71 on the round.
Defending champion Brandon Mancheno
shot 66, four strokes better than day one to move to 8 under with Nick Lyerly, J.M. Butler, Cole Anderson and Joe Weiler.
Things got rumbling for Edgar on the front nine as he carded a 32 at the turn.
“I made a birdie on eight and an eagle on nine, so that really helped making the turn,” Edgar said. “Just made some putts around the turn, and that kind of got the round going.”
He added a birdie at 10 and 14, saving par the rest of the way to take a share of the lead.
“I’ve had a lot of fun out there with Drayton [Stewart] and Chris [Woollam]. We just kind of fed off of each other a little bit the last few days,” Edgar said. “It’s been enjoyable, and the course is in great condition, so it’s been a lot of fun.”
Even though the 66 gave him some momentum heading into the final two days, Edgar said, there’s still plenty of golf left, so anything can happen.
“It’s good, and I feel good. We will see what happens; it’s only the halfway point,” Edgar said. “There is a lot of golf left — I ’m not too worried about it right now.”
When it comes to strategy moving forward, the mindset seems to be staying aggressive for Edgar.
“You have to make a lot of birdies out here to have any chance, so yeah, I’m going to try and go for everything I can,” Edgar said.
His fellow Aussie, Dobbelaar, stayed hot throughout the entire round.
Louis Dobbelaar won the Australian Amateur
earlier this year (Golf Australia photo)
“It was nice and I played pretty solid,” Dobbelaar said. “I didn’t really do anything too special I just kind of hit my spots around the course and a few putts dropped which was nice. There’s plenty of opportunities out there I guess it’s just grabbing onto them and taking them. Off the tee I was pretty solid, I had probably two little errant tee shots that cost me a couple of shots. I’d say though, if you’re driving it really well you’re giving yourself good chances I think.”
The Australian Amateur champ
got his first birdie on the second hole and then birdied the fifth to get to 2 under on the day. He closed out the front, making birdies on two of the last three holes to card a 32 at the turn.
Another birdie came at the 10th and 12th to put him at 6 under.
Dobbelaar wasn’t done yet. He birdied the par-4 15th and par-3 17th to put him in a tie at the top of the leaderboard.
Dobbelaar said moving forward into the third day, he wants to just keep doing his thing because he feels like if he does it’ll pay off in the end.
“I’ll just keep doing the little things that are adding up. If I can keep on top of my work and my business I’ll go pretty close.”
Even though he shot the low score of the tournament, Howe is still one shot off the lead. He said that the front nine wasn’t anything special even though he shot 4 under.
“I was just kind of plugging along and not really getting in a bad spot,” Howe said. “I was playing solid golf, and then on hole 13, I made a birdie and kind of started catching fire with the eagle on 14 — I just kind of used the momentum to finish up the round.”
On a golf course like the one at Druid Hills Golf Club, golfers need to hit the ball in the right spots to still have a good chance at scoring.
“I mean, you can miss fairways out here, you just got to miss them on the right side or not much hit too much club because the greens are soft,” Howe said. “Like I hit a wedge on almost every hole. So hitting these wedges out of the rough, they're still stopping pretty quickly. I just felt like I managed it really well. The tee balls I did hit bad, I still had shots of the pins, I had pretty good angles, and I still could get them in close. I kind of think that's the secret to playing this golf course well.”
With nine birdies, Howe said he couldn’t have asked for more. It was a great day for him after posting a day one score he wasn’t pleased with.
“It's nice to go out and not only play well but have a special round and knowing that I shot the lowest score on the course this week — it makes me feel like I'm good enough to play with these guys, and I can beat these guys,” Howe said. “It gives me a lot of confidence going into the second half of this tournament.”
Down the stretch, Howe made birdie or better on five of the last six holes. He said it was two things — hitting it pretty close and his putter getting hot at the right moment.
“I hit a couple ones close — on 13 and 14, I had six-footers for birdie and eagle. Then kind of the last four holes I was just giving myself looks like 15, 20, 30 footers,” Howe said. “Coming off a birdie and eagle on the two previous holes I just had that momentum. Earlier throughout the day, I kind of just put stuff in close, but near the end, the putter got hot and started making pots, which was nice.”
Like Edgar and Dobbelaar, Howe’s strategy is to keep doing what he’s did in round two.
“It's not a super difficult course. Like I said, you have a lot of wedges, so just staying aggressive knowing that there's a lot of birdies out there,” Howe said. “Pretty much all of the par 5's are reachable — just being smart, managing my game well and not leaving myself in tough spots.”
There will be two Aussies in the final grouping for day three and Dobbelaar said he’s looking forward to it.
“It’ll be nice to have some Aussie company and I’m sure no matter what we’ll be cheering for each other,” Dobbelaar said. “I know he’s a really good player so it’ll be good to catch up with him and have a round with him.”
The final group of Edgar, Dobbelaar and Howe will tee off at 2:40 p.m. on Friday.