Auburn's Johnson shares lead at Azalea Invitational
CHARLESTON, S.C. –– Auburn's Michael Johnson rolled in birdie putts of 40 feet and 25 feet to bookend a 5-under 66 and earn himself a share of the lead with former Clemson golfer Brennan King after the second round of the Azalea Invitational Friday at the Country Club of Charleston.
"It definitely doesn't hurt the confidence," Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, said of the way he started and ended his round.
Battling rainy conditions, Johnson countered a pair of bogeys with seven birdies on the 6,600-yard Seth Raynor-designed course.
"It wasn't as windy today and because the course isn't too long, if you get it in the fairway off the tee, you have a lot of wedges in," Johnson said. "I made a lot more putts today."
Brennan, a Charleston-area resident, was equally impressive. He reeled off four straight birdies on the back nine to close a 6-under 65. A bogey at the par-3 12th was the only blemish.
North Florida's M.J. Maguire also shot 66 and sits one back of the co-leaders entering Saturday's third round. Edward Figueroa of Florida Gulf Coast shot 71, but remains alone in fourth place on the strength of his first-round 66.
First-round leader John Patterson, a Hilton Head-area mid-amateur, shot 73 Friday. He fell back into a tie for fifth place.
Tournament officials are bracing for potential thunderstorms on Saturday. Last year's tournament, won by Clemson freshman Austin Langdale, who is tied for 50th this year, was shortened to 36 holes because of rain. If Saturday's third round is completed, there will be a cut to the low 60 and ties for Sunday's finale.
New Orleans-area mid-amateur Patrick Christovich shot a second-round 67 and moved into a tie for ninth place. He's joined by Grayson Murray, a recent transfer to Arizona State and 2013 U.S. Open competitor. St. Louis-area mid-amateur Skip Berkmeyer is tied for 22nd following two straight rounds of 71.
Andy Zhang, the No. 3-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior rankings, shot 74 on Friday and slipped back into a tie for 34th.