Valdosta Daily Times

April 26, 2013

LIVE: South Georgia Classic blog

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The second round of the South Georgia Classic is underway. Updates of the tournament are below, with the most recent updates being found at the top of the page.


7:05 p.m.

John Daly has made the cut, sinking a 12-feet birdie putt on No. 18. He is even par. Leader is Hudson Swafford at 8-under par. Good night, folks.

5:20 p.m.

John Daly is falling apart. The two-time major champion is 3-over par today and 1-over par for the tournament. He is thru 14 holes today and is currently projected to miss the cut for the tournament.

Daly's day started with four straight pars, a birdie on No. 5, back-to-back pars and then a triple bogey on the par-3 eighth. Daly bounced back with a birdie on the ninth but fell apart with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12-13. Following his tee shot on the 13th, Daly reportedly broke his driver (will confirm with Daly after round).

Hudson Swafford is back to being the leader all by himself, after Bhavik Patel dropped back to 7-under par. Right now, 70 players are even or better, the projected cut line.

4:10 p.m.

Bhavik Patel is 3-under thru nine holes and is now your co-leader with Hudson Swafford at 8-under par. Three guys are tied for third at 7-under par and four are tied for sixth at 5-under par. Now 79 players are projected to make the cut, which is even par.

2009 champion Garth Mulroy has withdrawn from the event. He was 1-over. 2008 champion Bryan DeCorso and 2010 champion Ewan Porter are both going to miss the cut, while 2007 champion John Kimbell is currently sitting on the cut line.

John Daly triple bogeyed the par-3 eighth, but responded with a birdie on No. 9. He is now 1-over on the day and is 1-under on the tournament.

Former VSU Blazer Brent Witcher gave a stroke back and is currently 1-over today and is also 1-under for the tournament. He is playing in the final group of the day.

2:45 p.m.

Every golfer is now on the course for the second round. Many of the golfers from the morning wave that have made the cut are on the driving range, including the current leader Hudson Swafford, who is at 8-under.

Day 1 leader Ryan Spears, who fired a bogey-free 6-under, bogeyed his first hole of his round today and is now 5-under.

The wind is still blowing and could be a factor this afternoon.

John Daly is currently 1-under today and now 3-under for the tournament. He is currently tied for 17th with 13 holes remaining in his round today.

The projected cut line is still even-par, although there are now 71 golfers projected to make the cut, compared to the 75 earlier today.

Daly is one of those golfers that will be making the cut, unless something disastrous happens today.

Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper for constant updates.

1:10 p.m.

Hudson Swafford is in the clubhouse as the leader following his bogey-free 5-under in today's second round. Swafford is now 8-under for the tournament, one shot better than Michael Putnam, his playing partner the last two days.

Swafford, who finished 27th on the Tour's money list in 2012, birdied three of his first six holes and finished with birdies on Nos. 14 and 16.

With the wind picking up, Swafford's 8-under at the lead might hold up, as conditions will certainly worsen for some golfers, especially those that don't hit the ball far, this afternoon.

Currently, there are five players tied for third place and four tied for seventh place. John Daly is about to tee off at 1:10 p.m. Updates from his round coming soon.

— Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.

10:40 p.m.

Good Friday morning from Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. The second round of the South Georgia Classic is underway. As it stands, Hudson Swafford and Andrew Loupe are the low men so far in the round. Both are 3-under for the tournament and 6-under for the tournament.

Swafford has just made his turn and Loupe is threw his first seven holes.

Of course, the day 1 leader, Ryan Spears, is 6-under and doesn't tee off until 2 p.m.

As for the high guys of the day, Woody Austin, the 2007 Open Championship runner-up, is 8-over through his first 11 holes of the day. Austin was 4-under following his first round and finished second in this event last year. Austin is now 4-over on the tournament, well behind the projected cut line.

Speaking of the projected cut, 75 players are, as of right now, expected to make the cut, which is even-par.

Among those projected to miss the cut is 2009 Classic winner Garth Mulroy, who shot a 2-over par in his opening round but has yet to tee off today, and 2008 winner Bryan DeCorso, who shot a dismal 7-over par in his opening round and is currently 1-under for his second round, still six shots above the cut line.

The 2007 Classic champion, John Kimbell, shot a 2-over par in his opening round and is also projected, for now, to make the cut.

We have had a disqualification today, as well. Tim Wilkinson was DQ'd after signing a wrong scorecard following his Thursday round.

REMINDER: John Daly tees off today at 1:10 p.m., while leader Ryan Spears goes off at 2 p.m. Brent Witcher, the former VSU Blazer that shot a 2-under par Thursday after qualifying for the event Monday, is in the final group today, set to tee off from the 10th tee at 2:30 p.m.

For a recap from yesterday, here are the links to my stories:

Daly draws a crowd, shoots 70

Day 1 notebook

Per company policy, my final story from Thursday (the one about Spears and the leaders) is not yet online. Sorry.

More updates to come throughout the day. Until then, follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.


6:20 p.m.

OK. Day 1 of the South Georgia Classic is winding down. Needless to say, it has been a long day. I just hit hour 10 here at Kinderlou Forest today. Unfortunately, not much has changed this afternoon. We have a few new guys in contention, but the top two has stayed the same.

Woody Austin was a co-leader for a few holes but dropped back to 4-under par. The final groups are finishing up and should be done by 7 p.m. Then, 12 hours later the first group for Friday will be on the course getting day two started.

As it stands right now — it is subject to change — Ryan Spears is the leader at 6-under. Phillip Pettitt Jr. leads a group of three golfers tied at 5-under par and nine golfers are tied for fifth at 4-under par. Fourteen golfers are tied at 3-under par. While there are still golfers on the course, and it can change, 59 golfers are below par, so expect the cutline following Friday's round to be low.

VSU alumnus Brent Witcher had a nice finish, which I reported on earlier. Witcher, who birdied his first two holes and followed up with a bogey, birdied the 18th hole and is tied with a bunch of guys at 2-under par. But, Witcher is in contention and another good Friday round will put him playing in the weekend on a  course he called home for his final two years of college. It would be good for the hometown guy to have hometown college fans rooting him on.

Following his round, Witcher spent nearly two hours on the driving range, working through some mistakes from today. He tees off on Friday at 2:30 p.m., the final group of the day.

John Daly has been done for over five hours and we haven't seen him sense he walked off the ninth green. Daly, who shot a 2-under 68, tees off at 1:10 p.m. tomorrow, so fans looking to skip out of work early can come and watch him.

As for what to expect on Friday, the weather is going to be even better than today, so expect the course to give way to even lower scores.

One thing we heard today was players talking about how the fairways didn't have much roll in them because of rain from last Friday and Sunday. Another sunny day (it is sunny right now) could help the course dry up for the afternoon wave of tee times on Friday, which helps people like Witcher, Daly, Spears and Pettitt Jr., all of whom played in the morning today.

This is my final post of the day. There will be plenty of coverage in the newspaper tomorrow and I will be back tweeting and posting throughout the day on Friday — and all weekend, too.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.

4:05 p.m.

It has kind of been slow here in the early part of the afternoon wave of tee times, largely because it takes a while for some golfers to make a push towards the lead. 

Speaking of the lead, 2001 PGA Championship runnerup Woody Austin, who finished third in last year's South Georgia Classic, has raced out to a quick start in his opening round and is now 6-under thru 11 holes and is tied for the lead with Ryan Spears.

A few other afternoon guys are making moves. Andrew Putnam is 4-under and Hudson Swafford, a former UGA Bulldog from Tallahassee, Fla., is 3-under par, along with a host of afternoon guys that includes Tyrone Van Aswegan and Skip Kendall.

Looking back over the morning rounds, Brent Witcher finished his round at 2-under par, posting a birdie on the par-4 18th, a hole not known for many birdies. Witcher currently leads the field in driving distance today, averaging 307 yards per drive.

I will have more coming soon. In the mean time, follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper and read about John Daly's first round here.

2:05 p.m.

Ryan Spears just finished a bogey free round that included six birdies and is now your clubhouse the leader at 6-under par. Spears, who was sick and hasn't played a competitive round of golf in a month, leads Phillip Pettitt Jr., Troy Merritt and Bhavick Patel, all of whom sit at 5-under par.

The temperature is continuing to climb and the ball is starting to fly better, according to Spears. The one thing that could hurt the afternoon rounds is the wind and possible light rain that is in the forecast.

Former Blazer Brent Witcher is 1-under par thru 15. He has pared every hole since opening his round with back-to-back birdies and a bogey on the par-4 third.

1:05 p.m.

It has been a while since I last posted, largely because I have been on the course watching the leaders and conducting interviews. Right now, Ryan Spears is 6-under thru 14 holes and is the leader. Phillip Pettitt Jr. is 5-under par and in the clubhouse. Troy Merritt and Bhavik Patel are also at 5-under par.

John Daly's day is complete. He is two-under par, following a birdie on his seventh hole, the par-3 No. 8.

Daly spoke with media and said he thought he hit the ball off the tee and putted the ball very well, but everything else needed work. I will have more on Daly's day coming up here shortly.

Brent Witcher, the former VSU Blazer is still at 1-under par and is nearing the final few holes of his round.

— Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.

11:25 p.m.

Not a whole lot of new things to report. There is a lot of swapping of the lead, which is typical of the first round.

Brent Witcher is still 1-under par thru 6. John Daly is still even. We currently have a  3-way tie for the lead. Pettitt Jr., Dusty Fielding and Bhavick Patel are all 4-under par.

Also, the chatter here in the media room is that the soup in the clubhouse is very good. So, if you're a VIP guest, maybe ask for it.

More to come soon. Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.

10:45 a.m.

OK, I just walked three holes following former Blazer Brent Witcher. He is playing pretty well right now. He birdied the first two holes before a bogey on the par-4 No. 3. He is currently 1-under thru four holes and is tied for 13th. Still a lot of golf to go.

I am back in the media room and have been keeping an eye on the leaderboard, which is frequently changing. Right now, Chesson Hadley, a Georgia Tech graduate, is the leader. Hadley is 4-under thru his first six holes, posting birdies on four of his first five.

The early leaders if Camilo Benedetti and Phillip Pettitt Jr. are still in the mix. Benedetti is tied for second with three others, while Pettitt Jr. is tied for sixth at 2-under.

As for two-time major champion John Daly, he is currently even-par thru 10 holes. Daly, currently T28, started his round on the back 9 holes and birdied his third hole of the day before going 1-over par when he posted a double bogey on the par-4 15th. Daly got back to even-par when he birdied the par-3 17th.

As for the breaking news, Sam Saunders, the grandson to Arnold Palmer (I wrote a story last year and can be found here has three birdies thru his last three holes. Saunders is now T6 at 2-under par.

More updated to come. Until then, follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper. I am tweeting a lot.

9 a.m.

Good Thursday morning, everyone. I am settled into the media room here at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. The first round of the South Georgia Classic is underway. I will have updates throughout the day. Hope you enjoy the coverage.

Within the next 15 minutes every golfer in the morning wave of tee times will be on the course, including two-time major champion John Daly and former Valdosta State golfer Brent Witcher, who goes off at 9:15 a.m.

As it stands right now, Phillip Pettitt jr., Camillo Benedetti and Ariel Canete are the tri-leaders at 2-under par. Pettitt Jr. is thru six holes and Benedetti and Canete are thru five. A whole host of players are 1-under par, including Daly, who is thru three holes.

The weather right now is kind of cool and there is plenty of fog on the course. It will burn off soon and give way to mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the low to mid 80's.

More to come soon.

— Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.


Greetings from Kinderlou Forest Golf Club and the media room. The final day of the week before the actual tournament gets going.

2:40 p.m.

John Daly's Pro-Am appearance today is over, and he seems to have enjoyed playing with Kinderlou Forest Golf Club creator John Langdale and former Lowndes County Sheriff/Commissioner Ashley Paulk.

"It is great," Daly said. "I played with Johnnie, who built it, and Spence with Davis Love's name on it and we just had a great day today. It is awesome. (This course) is a gem."

Daly's Pro-Am was his first look at the course, and he came away impressed with the course's setup and distance.

"This is one of the best golf courses I have ever played," Daly said. "I wish I was 20 years younger playing it because it is right up my alley. Not too many courses where we get to hit drivers on most of the par 4s and 5s. Plus, I have never had to hit more 4-, 5-, 6-irons into more par 4s than ever. That is where golf is going to be in about 10 years and I think Johnnie and his guys did it on the course a few years in advance….It is just an awesome golf course. It isn't easy; it is difficult. It is long, but it is definitely one of the 10s that I have ever played. It fits my eye off the tee."

Daly, who finished ninth on the PGA Tour in driving distance in 2012, will surely have the ability to hit the ball down the long fairways at Kinderlou this week. One thing that will pose a problem for Daly will be using long irons into the greens.

"It is tough because I am not used to hitting so many long irons into par 4s. It is not something I have practice a whole lot in my career. A lot of the par 4s, if I hit an 8-iron into them I am usually frustrated. It is a great week to work on that. It is precision golf."

When asked about his clothing options this week, Daly, who is known for wearing entertaining clothing, said it will surely be "loud."

I will have a complete story on Daly coming soon and it will be available in Thursday's edition of The Times.

— Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.

12:10 p.m.

Right now, the morning flight of the Wednesday Pro-Am is finishing up and the afternoon flight is underway.

Among those on the course is John Daly, who will be finishing up here within the next 30 minutes and then will be speaking with media soon. It will be his first time speaking with the media this week here in Valdosta.

There are four past South Georgia Classic champions in the field this year — John Kimbell (2007), Bryan DeCorso (2008), Garth Mulroy (2009) and Ewan Porter (2010). The last two champions (Ted Potter Jr., 2011, and Luke List, 2012). There has never been a repeat champion in this tournament's history.

The list of tee times for the Tuesday and Friday rounds were released this morning.  Here are some notable tee times for Thursday's opening round:

John Daly — 7:55 off the No. 10 tee

Edward Loar ( Tour money leader) — 7:45 a.m. off No. 10

John Kimbell  — 9:05 a.m. off No. 10

Brent Witcher (former VSU Blazer) — 9:15 off No. 1

Woody Austin (former PGA Champion runner-up) — 12:50 p.m. off No. 10

Hudson Swafford (former UGA star) — 1:10 p.m. off No. 10

Rich Beem (2002 PGA Champion) — 1:40 p.m. off No. 10

Garth Mulroy — 1:50 p.m. off No. 1

Bryan DeCorso — 2:10 p.m. off No. 10

Ewan Porter  — 2:10 p.m. off No. 1

Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.