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Tritten Now on Top
Local player Kevin Tritten took the Performance Flight lead by two strokes over Phillip-Tyler Belt on Friday after his round three effort beat his projection of 82 by 10.
Also in the hunt are: Taylor Maslowski, of Concord, Mass., who is beating his projected by a total of 15 strokes, and Zachary Anders of McSherrystown, Pa., is beating his projection by a total of 14 strokes.
News that he was the leader came as a surprise to Tritten, a 910-rated player from Charlotte. He said he was thrilled to be on top of the flight going into the final round, but ultimately he’s just glad to be competing.
“I’m 43 with a broken back and a bad knee hanging with these 20-somethings,” said Tritten, who scored a four on the beefy 1007-foot hole 5.
Shooting his projected 72, Belt, the leader for the first two rounds, said he’s gonna need a strong round Saturday to win the flight. But if Tritten submits a round like Friday he’ll have his work cut out for him, he added.
“If he plays like this tomorrow I don’t think there’s any stopping him,” said Belt.
His first full year as a pro, 978 rated Belt, of Dacula, Ga., has put himself in the thick of some big pro tourneys this year that include the Brent Hambrick Memorial Open, the Vibram and he got 64th at the Pro Worlds in Indiana that had a field of more than 120. He said he could work on his early rounds at big events, but he’s enjoyed the experience.
Anders said he had his best front nine performance of the week, however he’d like to see a better back nine result on Saturday. He said his main goal is to finish well enough at the end to earn an invitation for next year.
Tritten is no stranger to playing Winthrop Gold. Along with being in his third USDGC, Tritten has played the course numerous times over the years living in nearby Charlotte. He even volunteered for many hours of course prep prior to the event that included trimming, spreading mulch and more.
“I feel more connected here than anywhere else,” said Tritten.
Beating his projected score of 81 by two on Friday, Stephen Harrison of Denham Springs, La., is steadily bringing his performance back in line with his projection. He fell behind early shooting nine strokes over his projected on Wednesday, but righted the ship during round two by shooting 14 strokes less.
“My highlight of the week will be birdying hole 4,” said Harrison, who felt it was extra sweet that the local CN2 news was on hand to capture his 80-foot birdie putt and later display it on TV.
Even after Tritten and Belt both had tough finishes on hole 18 on Friday, they were all smiles talking about their round together. Though they have known each other for a few years, this was the first time they played together and they seemed to have a great time. Grouped on the lead card again, the two, as well as Maslowski and Anders, should have a blast battling for the Performance Flight crown.