Long, Bedford tied at Sunnehanna Amateur
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – There have been plenty of fireworks in the skies over Sunnehanna Country Club during the first two days of the Sunnehanna Amateur and it’s beginning to look like there are going to be just as many on the golf course over the final two days.
The 58th edition of the event was delayed for the second straight day Friday, this time for an hour and 10 minutes. When play resumed, the whole dynamic of the tournament seemed to change.
It appeared as though Jace Long was going to run away with everything when he moved to 10 under with a birdie on No. 11 (a par 5). But a “hiccup,” as Long called it - a double bogey on No. 15 (a par 5) - brought a lot of players back into the tournament. That included Lee Bedford, who was spectacular in shooting a second-round 64 to climb into a tie with Long at the top of the leaderboard.
Bedford and Long sit at 8 under.
“I’m still in great shape,” Long said. “I hit 18 greens today and 17 yesterday. If I keep hitting greens and making putts… I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I tried to kill that tee shot on 15 and paid for it. That’s done. I’m moving on.”
Long made four birdies and the rest pars until No. 15 (he has yet to make a bogey in 36 holes). That kind of consistency will serve him well over the next two days, unless of course, Bedford makes a run.
Bedford got off to a five-straight par start before making birdie at No. 6. He rattled off five straight birdies – Nos. 8 through 12 – before missing a 15-footer for birdie on No. 13 after the delay.
For a little icing on the cake, he birdied Nos. 14 and 15.
He did double bogey No. 7, leaving him with an impressive 64 that could have been even better.
“I hit a lot of good shots, obviously,” said Bedford, a senior at Wake Forest. “It all seemed to come together in that stretch. I had a lot of 5-footers for birdie. I hadn’t played particularly well this semester and was very excited to get here.”
Will Collins, who finished T-3 in 2010, is right back in the hunt after rounds of 66-67, putting him a shot off the lead. He could have been in the lead by himself had his putter cooperated, but he’s not ready to do harm to his flat stick.
“You just have to be patient,” said Collins, who plays at the University of Virginia. “It’s tough to make putts out there and on quite a few of them I wasn’t in the best of spots.”
First-round leader John Peterson, the NCAA individual medalist, birdied Nos. 9-11 to keep pace with Long, but bogeys on Nos. 12, 15, 16 and 17 did him in. He did pick up a birdie on No. 18 to send him into the clubhouse at 4 under.
Brad Hopfinger followed up his opening 67 with a 69 and is tied with Peterson in fourth.
Also tied at 4 under is Nathan Smith, the two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. He shot his second 2-under 68 and is in contention heading into the final 36 holes. He was the runner-up last year at Sunnehanna.
• With much lighter winds on Friday, scoring was a bit easier, as evidenced by the 27 players who shot in the 60s.
• The player making the biggest move up the leaderboard in the second round was Iowa's Mike McCoy, 48, who fired a 65 after an opening-round 72. He’s at 3 under, five shots off the lead. McCoy's son, Nathan, is at even-par, with the Iowa State junior firing back-to-back 70s.
• Peterson’s frustration with the day was evident on No. 13, where he shortsided himself on the long par 3 and faced a chip from high, thick rough. He tried to delicately land the ball on the fringe and have it roll to the cup. It didn’t travel as far as he wanted and one-hopped into a hole where a sprinkler head was. “Awesome placement,dude,” he snapped. Peterson took his drop, however, and chipped in for par.