Valdosta Daily Times

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May 3, 2014

Marathon first round comes to a close

VALDOSTA — A first round that seemed like it would never end finally did Friday afternoon at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club.

At 12:43 p.m., the final first-round grouping of the South Georgia Classic finished on the ninth green ending a round that lasted just 29 hours and 28 minutes. The second round had already begun 88 minutes earlier as the tournament began the process of working though the backlog caused by the two rain delays that totaled more than five hours during Thursday's opening day of play.

That led to short turnarounds for half the field and lengthy breaks for the other half. For example, Max Homa, who was one of three tied for the lead following the first round at 5-under 67, had about an hour break before returning to the 10th tee to begin his second round. The other first-round leaders Carlos Ortiz and Jeff Curl, though, had quite the break between the conclusion of their opening round Thursday afternoon and evening and teeing off Friday. Ortiz teed off about 23 hours, 15 minutes after completing Round 1 and Curl began right at 23 hours later.

“It was nice to get some holes in,” said Homa, who played seven holes Thursday before play was called for the day. “I feel like the guys that got just a couple holes in kind of are in a little bit of a disadvantage. But I don't think I had an advantage or a disadvantage, it's just everybody is going to have play a big number of holes eventually.

“It was hard because I had a lot of people asking if I was even going to play, which is weird to have. But I actually played in the U.S. Open this past summer and I had the same problem. I ended up teeeing off at 5:50 (p.m.) and I think I learned quite a bit on how to bide my time. I also got lucky that the (Los Angeles) Dodgers game was on yesterday on TV, so that killed about three hours.”

With all that down time followed by all that golf Friday, the feeling among the leaders was patience paid off. With some playing close to two full rounds, mistakes were minimized as plenty of golf remained to clean up those miscues.

“For me, the biggest thing is to maintain my energy levels,” said Daniel Berger, who is in a tie for fourth place at 6-under. “Make sure I'm eating out there and just staying patient. It's a long day and you're going to make some bogeys, but if you can offset those with some birdies, then you're going to be all right.”

Added Jimmy Gunn, who also was in that group at 6-under: “You've got to be patient. There's obviously a lot of golf, you're going to be playing a lot of golf, I knew I was playing 32 holes. That's a lot of holes of golf in one day, so you've got to be patient. You're going to have some chances. You just have to minimize your mistakes. You have to hit the fairways.”

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