Saturday, June 05, 2010

By the left! Staten leads by one on Nationwide Tour

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland- Lefty B.J. Staten shot a 7-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead after 36 holes of the Melwood Prince George's County Open on the US Nationwide Tour. Staten's bogey-free effort at the University of Maryland Golf Course put him at 11-under 131 and one better than Justin Peters, who was bogey-free with an afternoon 67.

Sharing third place are Jin Park, Darron Stiles and Nick Flanagan, who bogeyed the final hole. Michael Clark II, Monday qualifier Kyle Thompson and Australian Stephen Leaney are at 8-under 134 and tied for sixth place.
"It was a lot of fun, obviously," said Staten. "I think it's probably my best round this year. I think we got lucky today on quite a few holes to have some good numbers, where I could be aggressive with the shot. I did a lot of good things today. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and just gave myself a lot of chances. I missed some putts but played really, really solid so I can't complain at all."
Staten had every chance to complain after missing five birdie putts inside of 15 feet during a seven-hole stretch that started at No. 8. The misses turned into makes starting with a 6-footer at the par-4 15th.
"I was getting frustrated," said the Texas resident. "The round could have been great but I just tried to stay patient. I knew if I could give myself a lot of opportunities coming down the stretch that a few might go in."
They finally did, giving Staten a 36-hole lead for the first time in his 86 career starts on the Nationwide Tour.
"The quality of play is so great and there are so many great players out here so you never know about the weekend," said Staten. "I'm just playing smart golf. I'm doing the right things to minimize my mistakes and maximize my opportunities."
While Staten was good and possibly great, Park was squeezing everything he could from a day that had him crisscrossing fairways thanks to an erratic driver.
"I got a lot out of my round. I didn't hit it very well off the tee," he said after hitting 7 of 14 fairways. "It was a little more stressful than yesterday but when the putter is working, it takes the pressure off everything else. I made a lot of putts from the 5-15 foot range. I feel really fortunate to have my putter working so far. It feels nice because I've been hitting it well all year and not putting well. Now it's a little of the opposite, hitting it decent and putting really well, so the game is a lot more fun."
It was also a lot of fun for Peters, who snuck up the leaderboard late in the day with three consecutive birdies near the end of his round.
"It's nice to be in the final group, that's an experience I haven't had out here yet," said Peters, who is in his rookie season on Tour. "I know it's just Saturday but it's fun. It's what we play for, to be in those positions. I know B.J. (Staten) and it should be a fun day."
The first two days have been a walk in the park for Peters, who may best be known for winning the inaugural "Big Break" on the Golf Channel.
"I've been hitting a lot of greens but not making any putts," said Peters, who is No. 123 on the money list. "I wouldn't say I hit the ball great the last two days but my scrambling was good. That's the name of the game to keep rounds going."
A total of 62 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 3-under 139.



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