HURRICANE— Easy peasy.
PGA Tour professional Zac Blair made Friday’s second round of the 54-hole Sand Hollow Open presented by the Leavitt Group, look like he was lounging around in basketball shorts and gym shoes.
Playing alongside friends and former Brigham Young University teammates Joe Parkinson and Justin Keiley, Blair posted a clean and comfortable 7-under 65 and took control of the leaderboard at 12 under after two rounds.
“It was awesome out there today, playing with two friends and teammates,” said Blair, who joked and whistled and pranced with a nonstop smile throughout. “It was a lot of fun out there, we really fed off each other all day.”
Parkinson, playing in his second tournament as a professional, posted a second round 66 and sits in a second-place tie, two strokes back at 10-under heading into Saturday’s final round. First-round leaders Phil Reedy and Jim Knous, who each shot 7-under 65 on Thursday are also at 10 under for the tournament. So too is Utah Section PGA Golf Professional Pete Stone, who backed up Thursday’s 66 with a 4-under 68.
Blair quickly showed off the form that earned him a spot into the FedEx Cup playoffs as a rookie on the PGA Tour, by notching birdies on the first two holes.
“Right off the bat I was thinking I could get really low,” Blair said. “That was a really nice start to get comfortable.”
Blair would birdie all four par 5s — holes two, seven, 10 and 17 — and added birdies at 13, and 16. He didn’t record a bogey.
“I was a really nice clean round,” Blair said. “There was nothing special, but no mistakes either.
“You always feel like it can be better,” Blair continued. “But I made a couple of putts today, which wasn’t the case yesterday. But I kept it in play, and that is the key here.”
Blair will face the challenge of playing with the lead and force the field to post a low score to chase him down.
“In a tournament like this, you can’t win it on the first day or two, but you can lose it. So I feel like I put myself in a position,” Blair said. “I don’t see anyone shooting better than a 63 or 62. If I go out and shoot another 66, 65 I should be right there.”
Stone carded four birdies and no bogeys to put himself into position to make a run, although he admits Blair will be tough to chase down.
“I really just tried to keep things simple and stay out of my way. I recognized that I wasn’t hitting it as good as yesterday, so I managed my way around and hung in there. I didn’t have any bogeys, which is always good,” Stone said.
“Zac will be hard to catch, but it will be fun,” Stone said. “He was already an efficient golfer and he comes in here playing at a high level. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to chase him down.”
Parkinson, who turned professional one week ago and will be at the first stage of PGA Q-school, notched four birdies on the back nine to climb the leaderboard. One of those birdies was benefit of a 40-foot putt that hit the cup and sat on the back lip for a second before falling back into the hole.
“My putter is really good right now. I have a lot of confidence with it,” Parkinson said. “I’ve also been hitting a lot of greens in regulation. So when I can do that, I can make a lot of birdies.”
On 16, Parkinson hit his tee shot into a trap, and had about a 70-yard bunker shot to the green.
“I just wanted to get on and walk away with a par,” Parkinson said. “I was just trying to get it close but I caught a really good break. It drilled the back of the cup and then fell in. That was kind of nice.”
The round of the day belonged to former UNLV player Kevin Penner, who fired an 8-under 64. Penner, who posted a 75 on Thursday is well back of the leaders.
Thirty-one players made the cut, which came at 3-under-par. The leaders are scheduled to tee off at 9:50 a.m. Saturday.
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