Ben Fogler fires another 66 to lead S.C. Amateur by four strokes

08/03/2013 12:13 AM

08/03/2013 12:13 AM

Stephen Behr sent his second shot on the 471-yard, par-4 18th hole to within six feet of the hole in Friday’s second round of the South Carolina Amateur and received deserved accolades.

“Best one I’ve seen there today,” Biff Lathrop, the South Carolina Golf Association’s director of competition and services, said.

Ben Fogler hit next in threesome of college performers and his shot stopped within three feet of the cup.

“Even better,” Lathrop said.

Caleb Sturgeon followed and — yes — he one-upped his playing partners with a beauty that came to rest a couple of feet from the hole.

Lathrop could only shake his head at the display that characterized the threesome’s shot-making all day. They played a personal game of Anything-You-Can-Do-I-Can-Do-Better, combining for a dazzling 16-under-par performance.

“I shot (4-under-par) 67 and I’m the high score in the group,” Sturgeon, who plays at USC, said afterward and laughed.

Fogler, who plays at Vanderbilt, took the middle spot in the trio with his second consecutive 5-under 66 that opened a four-stroke lead halfway through the 82nd State Amateur at the Members Club’s Woodcreek Course in Elgin.

Behr, who plays at Clemson, trumped them all with a tournament-best 7-under 64 that he said could have been better.

Fogler, playing on his home course, took an adventuresome route to his second 66. In contrast to his bogey-free round Thursday, he had four bogeys — and nine birdies — Friday en route to his 132 total. Clemson-bound Carson Young of Pendleton, who shared the first-round lead with Fogler and Jon Mathias, is second at 136 after Friday’s 70 with Kamito Hirai (Summerville/Winthrop), Bryce Howell (Blyethwood/Furman) and Jarrett Swan (Mt. Pleasant/Charleston Southern) another stroke back at 137.

Six players, including Mathias and Sturgeon, enter the third round at 138 and another seven, including Behr and defending champion Cody Proveaux, stand at 139. Twenty-three players are under par after 36 holes.

Behr, who climbed 74 places in the standings to a tie for 12th Friday, called his playing partners “pretty stiff competition. There were a lot of good shots out there today and a lot of positive vibes. We grew up playing golf together, we’re friends and we enjoy playing with each other.”

Fogler punctuated his round by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on the 474-yard ninth, his final hole. The round, he said, represented a continuation of his good play much of the summer that includes a third-place finish in the Palmetto Invitational.

“I just feel very comfortable out here,” said Fogler, who had a feast-or-famine opening nine (the back nine) that featured five birdies and three bogeys. He settled down with a 32 on his finishing nine and noted, “We all birdied the same hole three or four times.”

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