Mother Nature threw participants in the 65th annual Azalea Invitational amateur golf tournament a little bit of a curve in Friday’s second round. Wind was not a factor, unusual for the Country Club of Charleston this time of year, but the chilly weather was.
“I can’t feel my hands. It got cold the last three holes,” said Austin Langdale, who put together a 2-under-par 69 that gave him a two-shot cushion midway through the tournament.
Langdale, bound for Clemson next season, is at 7-under-par 135 while Scott Harvey of Greensboro, N.C., the reigning Carolinas Golf Association player of the year, shot 67 for a 137 total.
Will Long of Gastonia, N.C., is third after back-to-back 69s. Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., last year’s runner-up and the country’s top-ranked junior, just missed the tournament record with a blistering 8-under-par 63 and is tied for fourth at 139 with Cameron Champ of Sacramento, Calif., and Carson Young of Pendleton.
The tournament continues through Sunday, with the field cut to the low 60 and ties for the final round. Tee times today begin at 7:50 a.m., with the leaders starting at 2 p.m.
“(My round) was solid,” said Langdale. “I didn’t putt as well today, and both my bogeys (on the par-3 sixth and par-3 11th) were three-putts.”
Harvey, at 34 years old, has to feel like the elder statesman on the leaderboard, surrounded by golfers who have not yet entered college. Langdale and Young are high school teammates headed for Clemson, Long has signed with Auburn, Champ is headed to Texas A&M and Liu will be playing for Stanford.
Harvey said he hasn’t played competitively since October but has been practicing a lot. “When you don’t have the rounds you don’t know what to expect. My expectations were low. I putted solid and hit a lot of greens.”
Liu’s 63, which missed the tournament record by a shot, included nine birdies and a bogey.
Steven Liebler of Irmo became the second Azalea golfer in as many days to make a hole-in-one, using a hybrid club for an ace from 180 yards on the third hole.
AZALEA INVITATIONAL LEADERS
Austin Langdale, Townville 66-69—135
Scott Harvey, Greensboro, N.C., 70-67—137
Will Long, Gastonia, N.C. 69-69—138
Cameron Champ, Sacramento 74-65—139
Carson Young, Pendleton 72-67—139
Jim Liu, Smithtown, N.Y. 76-63—139
Michael Miller, Brewster, N.Y. 70-70—140
Stephen Walsh, Dublin, Ireland 75-67—142
Bo Andrews, Raleigh 70-72—142
Matthew Crenshaw, Burlington, N.C. 71-71—142
Jack Maguire, St. Petersburg, Fla. 73-69—142
Steven Liebler, Irmo 76-67—143
Sherrill Britt, West End, N.C. 70-73—143
John Engler, Augusta 73-70—143
John Wright, Aurora, Ill. 72-71—143
Bryce Howell, Blythewood 72-72—144
Jonathan Hardee, Greer 76-68—144
Nick Biesecker, Staunton, Va. 72-72—144
Gene Elliott, W. Des Moines, Iowa 75-69—144
Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn. 75-70—145
Gettys Glaze, Charleston 75-70—145
Kristopher Gray, England 73-72—145
Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh 75-70—145
Danny Guise, Greenwich, Conn. 69-76—145
Greyson Sigg, Augusta 76-70—146
Ben Rusch, Switzerland 75-71—146
Richard Hubbard, Daniel Island 76-70—146
David Kennedy, Savannah 71-75—146
Brian Westveer, Charlotte 69-77—146
Walter Todd, Laurens 76-70—146
Todd White, Hilton Head 76-70—146
Bill Kennerly, Alpharetta, Ga. 75-71—146
Michael Muscatell, Lake Wylie 72-74—146