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Belt Leads Perf. Flight
Before this week, the only rounds Phillip-Tyler Belt had on the Winthrop Gold Course were during the Sunday spectator rounds.
Now, playing for keeps, Belt, of Dacula, Ga., looks like he’s got the hang of things as he beat his projected score of 72 by 10 strokes and now leads the USDGC Performance Flight by three strokes.
“Pretty much the whole time I stayed within my game,” said Belt.
Also in the mix are: Kyle Maute, of Westminster, Colo., who beat his projected by seven; and Jacob Herb, of Melbourne, Fla., Scott Reek, of Olathe, Kansas, and Monte Walker of Indianapolis, Ind., all beat their projected by six.
Belt, 18, said he didn’t gamble much on the course, but when he did it generally paid off. On hole 5 he successfully traveled about 400-feet across the water and then on the next hole went for the beach green.
“It just stuck,” said Belt, who was relieved to see the sand fly up.
He collected a two there and moved on. He only had one hole that he missed his projection.
Not far behind Belt, Jacob Herb said that staying simple was his way to shoot six strokes below his projected 78.
“I took it easy the whole round and didn’t take shots I knew I didn’t need to take,” said Herb, who beat his projected for eight holes. His only real problem came at the end when he shot a seven on hole 18.
About half of the Performance Flight lost their battle with their projected score for the round. After players left hole 18, you could tell that Winthrop had left its mark on many of them. Still, most were smiling.
A first timer to Winthrop, Scotty Helms of Fayetteville, Ark., lost his battle with his projected score of 83 by 10 strokes, but he was still looking at the bright side: it was a beautiful day and he got to play with Innova co-founder Dave Dunipace. He learned today that laying up at Winthrop is not a bad thing.
It was Lee Joshua’s first trip back to the USDGC since 2011. Though he said his round was a bit salty, shooting 17 over his projected 82, he was ready to make amends on Thursday.
“Coming back here has been a goal of mine since 2011,” said Joshua, of Tulsa, Okla.
His wife, who caddied for him that year, was injured and unable to do it this year and Joshua said he was missing her.
“She’s my good luck charm. She always keeps me focusing on what I need to do,” said Joshua of his wife, Angie.
He said he’s going to try to channel her energy with him tomorrow.
The rest of the Performance Flight will also be looking for inspiration as they look to take on Winthrop for round two.