Key Unlocks a Sweet Round
Round two was a day of redemption for some while others found Winthrop Gold to be just as baffling as their first round.
There is, however, a select dozen players that have withstood the Gold Course, remaining at or below their projected score through Thursday.
One golfer who made a leap into their ranks is 880-rated John Key of Florida, who became the Performance Edition’s new leader when he beat his projected 89 by 13 strokes. With that stellar round, Key not only led the USDGC, but he also became the Daily Performance Winner.
After the round, Scott Wentzky of Rock Hill Special Olympics and two Special Olympics disc golfers presented Key with a collection of gifts from the organization soon after a check in Key’s name was presented to them.
After the ceremony, Key said he was pleased to be leading the USDGC, but he was even more satisfied about turning in a 76. When Key made a four (-1) on hole 8, he knew he was onto something special. And, even though he went OB on hole 9 he then buckled down for the rest of the round. That meant playing it safe when it came to putting around holes 10 and 12′s green, mainly because he couldn’t afford any OB roll downs.
Others in the hunt include: 918-rated Bill Charron (-8 ) of Pennsylvania, 1046-rated Dave Feldberg of Oregon (-7), 966-rated Charlie Coleman of North Carolina (-6), 996-Dutch Napier of Kentucky (-6), 967-rated Lavone Wolfe of Alabama (-6), and 1017-rated David Wiggins Jr. at of North Carolina (-5).
(Performance Edition uses highest rating.)
Rounds Thursday were still lengthy, but the field moved a bit faster with reports of a 20 to 30 minute decrease in round time.
Rock Hill local 949-rated Brett Allen said it has been tough adjusting to the long rounds and the wait that often came after shots. After two rounds Allen is near the bottom with 49 strokes over his projected. Though he really wished he’d play better, he’s not letting that ruin his first USDGC.
“I’m having a blast to be honest with you,” said Allen.
Another guy having a blast is 886-rated Cliff Griswold of California, who was all smiles after turning in a score that was only 1 over his projected 88. It was a big improvement over yesterday when Griswold exceeded his projected by 20 strokes.
“Today was so much better. I had nerves the whole round yesterday,” said Griswold who added that there really is nothing quite like this at home.
The main difference between rounds, he said, was laying off the shot when it wasn’t there and being conservative when landing on sloped surfaces like hole 18.
In addition, he got to play with former masters World Champion Phil Arthur. Though it sometimes took Griswold two shots to get to Arthur’s first, he still felt quite comfortable playing with the 1024-rated player.
Amateur World Champion Kenny Glassman of Illinois was also pleased with Thursday’s improvement. After missing his projected by 7 on Wednesday, he beat it by 1 on Thursday.
Some of that improvement he credited to watching another Champ on his card, Ken Climo, during round 1. Glassman said he paid attention to where Climo took risks and where he played safe. Having little experience with Winthrop Gold prior to the tournament, Glassman said he had no real expectations this year. However, he still couldn’t stop himself from watching and re-watching last year’s lead coverage DVD to get course hints before coming.
It’s been a good year for the 969-rated Glassman. After winning the Am Worlds in Rochester, he went on the road to Milwaukee and cashed in his first tournament as a pro. And, with a 67 already completed during a practice round, Glassman knows he’s got more for Winthrop this week.