Rocky Face’s Will Snipes is having his way on the back nine — whenever he plays it — after two rounds at the Georgia Amateur Championship.
Snipes, who had a pair of birdies on his final nine in an opening-round 73 on Thursday, carded three birdies on the back nine Friday on his way to a 1-under-par 71. He was tied for 11th in the clubhouse when heavy showers suspended play in the Georgia State Golf Association event at Ansley Golf Club’s Settingdown Creek course in Roswell.
Snipes started on the back nine in the opening round and finished with birdies in two of his last four holes to get back to 1-over. On Friday, it was much the same story after starting on the front nine.
“I finished well both the last two days,” said Snipes, a senior golfer at Vanderbilt. “I shot 3-under on the back nine today, and I am pretty proud of myself for hanging in there and finishing well. If you can finish well, you can build on it in the next round. I feel pretty positive going to the weekend.”
Snipes was six shots back of clubhouse leader Michael Garretson of Acworth, who had the low round of the day with a 4-under 68 and was 6-under for the tournament. After the course was cleared twice because of storms, play was suspended Friday evening with 73 golfers in the 144-player field still on the course.
The second round will resume this morning at 7:30, with the field cut to the low 70 players and ties (or those within 10 strokes of the leader) before the third round starts around noon.
Snipes is tied with Eatonton’s John Hopper with a two-round total of 144.
Defending champion David Noll Jr. of Dalton was one shot back of Snipes after shooting a 72 on Friday. Noll, who also won the tournament in 2003, is 1-over for the tournament and tied with four others for 13th. Neither Snipes nor Noll is in danger of missing the cut.
Chatsworth’s Chase Jones was 69th out of the 71 golfers who finished the second round, shooting an 81 to go with his first-round total of 82; he’s 19-over for the tournament.
Jones, a Darton State College golfer who is playing the event for the first time, will likely miss the cut.
Snipes started the second round with five straight pars before carding a birdie on the par-4 sixth hole. However, he closed the front with three straight bogeys and was 2-over at the turn.
“Those last three holes, I had a couple of uncommitted swings and just never really felt comfortable over the ball,” Snipes said. “I was kind of in between clubs and just mishit it on eight. Seven is a short par 3, but it is a tough par 3. I missed the green long, and just had to try to recover. I wasn’t too upset there, but on nine I had a three-putt. A couple of careless swings hurt me at the turn.”
But he turned it around on the back nine. He hit the 554-yard, par-5 10th hole in regulation and made a two-putt for par that seemed to spark his round. He birdied the par-4 11th, made an up-and-down par on the 251-yard, par-3 12th and then birdied 13 to get back to even on the day.
He then made four straight pars before finishing his round with a birdie on 18 to get to even for the tournament.
“I didn’t make any putts early, but they started falling at the end, which is nice,” Snipes said. “Those first three holes of the back nine got the momentum going, and I settled down a little bit after that.”
Noll, one shot back of Snipes and seven off of the lead, said his game wasn’t at its best for the first two rounds of the tournament.
“I am just a little out of sorts, and I haven’t quite put it all together,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is the type of course that is going to expose that and multiply the errors. But, by no means am I out of it.”
Noll started the second round on the inward nine and bogeyed the 11th for the second round in a row before hitting a “smoked” 4-iron to the front of the 12th and seeing the shot on the lengthy par-3 chase to the back of the green and settle within four feet of the flag. A birdie there and a 1-under on the front left Noll some work for the weekend.
“If I can just play just a little better and get it under par tomorrow, I will still have a shot,” he said. “I don’t know that 6-under will win this thing. Over the weekend, the scores are going to come back to the field, when they start moving pins around, and if I can just make a push (today), I will have a shot on Sunday.”