Alabama's Whitsett leads by 2 in El Paso

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EL PASO, Texas – Alabama senior Cory Whitsett shot 66-68 on a brisk day at El Paso Country Club to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic.

Whitsett, who claimed the title in 2011, overcame slow starts in both of his rounds to post a two-round total of 8-under 134, which included 12 birdies and four bogeys Monday.

The three-time All-American gave credit to his putter and wedge play – the strongest part of his game – for his low numbers on a day when temperatures didn’t get above 43 degrees.

“It was really cold,” he said. “Maybe the first round of golf where I went through two sets of hand warmers throughout the day. That has never happened before. It was brutal.”

His approach to the round changed, knowing the temperatures would be low. Usually when he warms up before a round, he gives himself 30 minutes to go and putt, but because he wanted to stay warm, he only left the range 15-20 minutes before his tee time.

Another goal of his was to finish strong, knowing that sometimes his attention span on the 36-hole day isn’t always there by the end of the round. He accomplished that and was 1 under through his last six holes.

In a three-way tie for second at 6 under are Texas A&M junior Ty Dunlap (70-66), UCLA sophomore Jonathan Garrick (69-67) and New Mexico junior Gavin Green (69-67).

Whitsett is looking to become the third Crimson Tide player to claim the title in the last five years and become only the second player to win the tournament twice.

Whitsett added: “I don’t know how many I’m leading by, but you can’t rest on that. You just have to go out and put the pedal down and keep going.”

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