Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 3, 2014

Pleasant feeling

Eagle helps Prugh, who is still chasing leaders Ortiz, Homa

VALDOSTA — As soon as he hit it, Alex Prugh was pleased.

When Prugh's 9-iron made contact on his second shot of the par-4 seventh hole Friday afternoon at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, Prugh liked it. He should have as the approach shot from 146 yards out landed about a foot from the hole and hopped in for an eagle that helped move him toward the top of the leaderboard during the second round of the South Georgia Classic.

“I think the best part was right when I hit it, I said I liked it,” said Prugh, who was tied for second at 6-under when he completed his round. “I said it to my caddie and even the guys in my group said, 'Did you just say you liked that?' I'm like, 'Yeah' as it landed like a foot from the hole and hopped left into the hole. I was like, 'I said I liked it.'

“It felt flush. It wasn't a full one but it was a little chippy one and off the clubface it felt that perfect chippy and you get lucky.”

One of those playing partners could appreciate the sentiment, as Max Homa finished up his morning round at 5-under tied for the lead and then despite a three-putt for bogey on the final hole of the second round, stood alone at 9-under. Carlos Ortiz, who was tied for the lead after the first round picked up where he left off and again played bogey-free golf to take a one-shot lead at 10-under through 12 holes when play was suspended due to darkness at 7:50 p.m. Friday. Second-round play will resume at 7:45 a.m. today with the third round to follow. Jeff Curl, the other first-round leader, was among the last to tee off in the second round and was at 5-under through five holes. Andrew Putnam, a shot back after the first round, was third at 7-under through 12 holes when play was stopped.

That eagle for Prugh completed a round that saw him drop five strokes over the final 16 holes after an early bogey. He birdied Nos. 2, 12 and 18.

“There's a lot of drivers and I'm hitting the driver pretty solid-ish,” Prugh said. “Fifty percent of the time works every time. I'm finding them. I'm having a ton of 9-irons on holes, so that's helping me out a lot already right there. I've hit a lot of greens.

“If I can get the driver a little better and those irons a little better and make some more putts, I'll be right there with Max.”

While a shot that pleased sparked Prugh's ascent up the leaderboard, where he currently sits in a tie for fourth, Daniel Berger used a shot that angered him as motivation. The former Florida State golfer, who played 33 holes Friday, was at 2-under for the tournament following a bogey on the par-4 first. With just eight holes left to play, Berger told himself it was time to make a move.

“I hit a great drive and hit a great iron into the green and made bogey, and it kind of ticked me off a little bit,” he said. “I was kind of like, 'Ok. Let's get going here.' And I just hit some nice shots into the green and made some nice putts and just kind of hung in there.

“I wouldn't say I'm volatile on the golf course, but I definitely got frustrated there. I was probably sitting in like 30th spot or 20th spot after that bogey. And I just kind of told myself, 'Let's get one here and one there.' And I didn't try to think about it too much. I just went out there and played some golf.”

And move he did. Birdies on four of the next five holes pushed Berger into that group at 6-under and gave himself a chance heading into the weekend. Still he said his mentality isn't going to change.

“Same thing I kind of always do, no expectations and just go out there and play golf,” Berger added. “I'm 21 years old, there's nothing better that I'd rather be doing right now. It's just fun for me.”

Also having fun was Homa, who is also just out of school where he played at XXXXX. That experience was something he expected to help Friday morning as he wrapped up the 11 holes he still had left in the first round.

“I just finished college so today it's just like it's a 36-hole day and that's a lot of golf but it's nothing new,” Homa said following his morning round.

And after birdies on two of his first five holes in the second round, he added two more on Nos. 2 and 4 and then moved to 10-under with a birdie on the eighth. However, a bogey following a three-putt on the ninth green left him at 9-under where Ortiz would later catch him, and then pass him.

Still, it was a strong day and a strong first two rounds.

“It was pretty stress-free, mistake-free golf until that last hole with the three-putt but I can't really be too displeased,” he added. “It's not even something you're thinking about. It's just something that you notice. It actually felt like a short day compared to the college days. You just try to get in a rhythm and stay in a rhythm.

“I've got a lot of attack clubs in and to be honest, a lot of my game is mid to long irons and you just have a lot of those out here.”

And it was good enough until Ortiz, the Tour money leader, got back onto the course in the afternoon. Ortiz, who has two wins already and earns an instant promotion to the PGA Tour with a third, played bogey-free golf Thursday and did likewise during his 12 holes Friday. Among his five birdies through 12 holes were Nos. 2 and 5, two par-5s that he birdied on the first day as well.

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