Miami, Florida (August 1, 2012) – American Byron Smith followed-up a first round 68 with a 67 on Wednesday to grab the lead at PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s qualifying school at the Great White Course at Doral. Smith’s 9-under 135 total is three strokes better than fellow Americans Marcus Manley (68), Justin Bates (70) and Wes Homan (currently at six-under par) who share second place.
Smith came out early to complete his first round and birdied number nine, his last hole of the day, to shoot 68 and place him in a three-way tie for first place. Smith carried that positive momentum into his second round by birdieing six of his first 10 holes in round two.
Smith, a 31-year-old Californian who turned professional in 2005, began to lose momentum when he started missing greens towards the end of his round. “I missed seven greens in a row and just kept getting up and down for pars. So I went from just hitting it solid and having birdie putts and easy pars to all of a sudden not hitting it that good and getting up and down from bunkers and off the greens” said the four-time Canadian Tour winner Smith. “I rallied when my swing left me for a minute… It’s so hot I was really getting tired and I started missing shots and luckily I just chipped and putted really well the last eight holes” continued Smith.
Play was suspended for a little less than three hours from 3:12 pm through 6 pm due to the threat of dangerous weather in the Doral area. The second round was suspended at 8 pm due to darkness. Play will resume at 7:30 am Thursday. Upon completion of the second round, a cut will be made to the low 120 scores and ties. Round three tee times will begin at approximately 11 am.
Texan Justin Bates made four birdies over the course of his first 15 holes but finished with bogeys on seven and nine, his 16th and 18th.
Marcus Manley, who played alongside Byron Smith, followed up his first round 70 by making five birdies and a lone bogey on his first seven holes. The 27 year old who plays regularly on the eGolf Tour, finished his round by making two birdies and two bogeys in his last four holes.
Carlos Vélez, a Barranquilla native who lives in Miami, had a hot start with five birdies in his first six holes to move to 8-under par for the tournament. “I was grinding for the last eight holes it seemed like. I didn’t have a par putt inside of five feet” said the 24 year old after an even-par-72 round placing him five shots out of the lead. “I started pretty well but started fading. I just tried to hang in stay in the party” continued Vélez.
After a first round 86 (+14), American Derrick Sherard, had a remarkable turn-around in round two when he fired a 66. The 20 stroke turnaround came via an Eagle, four birdies and one bogey, catapulting him to 102nd place. The first cut will be comprised of the top 120 scores and ties. There will be a second cut to the low 70 and ties following the third round.