Silver Lake’s Ryan Armour T4 Midway at -6

DAP ChampionshipCLEVELAND, Ohio – Matt Atkins grabbed the first 36-hole lead of his career, following up an opening 64 with a 2-under 68 at the DAP Championship. The 26-year-old will take a one-shot lead over Nicholas Lindheim and Carlos Ortiz into the weekend in his quest for his second victory of the season.

Playing early on Friday, NEOH local native Ryan Armour posted a 68 and is another shot back at 6-under par, in a three way tie for fourth place.

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“Overall it was a pretty solid day. I feel like it was similar to yesterday, but I didn’t have as many good looks,” Atkins said. “I’ve made two bogeys in two rounds, which is overall pretty good. Got out of some jams. It’s a very difficult golf course. I’m not surprised to see that 8-under has a lead right now.”

Atkins won the El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova earlier this season, where he slept on the 54-hole lead en route to a three-shot victory after a final-round, 4-under 68. That experience plus the comfort of his PGA TOUR card being locked up already has him feeling prepared for what lies ahead on the weekend.

“That was the first time I’d ever slept on the lead. It was different. I think the hardest part about it is when you weren’t warming up. But that’s the only time I’ve noticed feeling any different with the lead. Once I got on the golf course, I just played the way I had all week,” Atkins said. “That’s my goal this week is to stay in the lead and just embrace that. That’s what we all want. I don’t think anyone wants to be in second place going into the final round. You want to be in the lead, and you want to go out there and take it.”

Lindheim held a share of the lead entering the day after opening with a 6-under 64 but found the sledding more difficult with an afternoon tee time in a second-round, 1-under 69. Nevertheless, the 32-year-old is in prime position to play his way back onto the PGA TOUR at a course where he finished runner-up a year ago.

“It wasn’t as good as yesterday obviously,” Lindheim said. “It was kind of a day I fought it, but I managed it well. It was a good score.”

With two rounds remaining, Lindheim is hoping to channel the vibes from the weekend a year ago, where he closed with rounds of 69-66 to play his way into the playoff. In six rounds at Canterbury Golf Club, he’s 14-under, and his formula has remained the same.

“I think it’s just hanging in out there. You don’t have to do anything special,” he said. “Pars go a long way. If I can just manage the greens, I think I’ll be fine.”

Ortiz is playing for more than himself this week in his quest for his fourth career Web.com Tour victory. The 26-year-old is playing for Mexico, which was ravaged by a deadly earthquake, and is giving out $100 per birdie and $200 per eagle this week to earthquake relief. Through two rounds, he’s made 11 birdies, and he poured in four over his last six holes Friday to get within one of the lead.

“It’s always nice to make birdies, but it’s even nicer when you’re helping more people,” Ortiz said. “Hopefully I can make a big paycheck this week so I can donate even more money.”

Money list leader Chesson Hadley is in search of his second consecutive victory after his win at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco a week ago. He played his way into contention again with a 6-under 64 – the round of the day – to get within three of the lead at 5-under 135. Hadley had a 15-foot birdie putt at the last to tie the course record. It didn’t fall, and he was more disappointed than normal to see the birdie putt slide by.

“I sure did. I knew what the course record was,” Hadley said when asked. “I made a bad bogey on 15. I was right in the middle of the fairway and hit a very poor wedge. Sometimes you can get in cruise control and you just love where you’re at, and you can underthink things because you’re very comfortable. I might have done that there. Made a bad bogey, but I had good looks coming in. I’m very proud of the 6-under today, and we’ve got two more days to shoot a course record, so hopefully.”

Hadley leads the combined Regular Season and Finals money list and could lock up the title, the fully-exempt PGA TOUR status and exemption to THE PLAYERS Championship with a victory this week. Regardless, the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket says he will be making the trek to Atlantic Beach, Florida next week for the Web.com Tour Championship.

“I’m going to play no matter what happens – even if I have it locked up or whatever. I owe that to [Web.com CEO] David Brown. Web.com is such a great sponsor of this tour,” Hadley said. “I’m going to absolutely go down there and support that event and play. Plus there’s a fairly nice trophy and 180 grand up for grabs.”

Friday Notes from Canterbury:

* Friday weather: Mostly sunny; High of 88; Wind N 6-12 mph.

* This week’s purse is $1M with $180,000 awarded to the champion.

* This is the third tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., Sept. 25-Oct. 1. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded last month following the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* 67 professionals made the cut at 1-over-par 141 or better.

* Akron, Ohio native Ryan Armour is in a tie for fourth at 6-under 134. The Ohio State University graduate opened with rounds of 66-68.

* Corey Conners, a graduate of nearby Kent State University, is tied for 12th with rounds of 69-67. The 2014 U.S. Amateur runner-up graduated with a degree in actuarial science.

* 2016 champion Bryson DeChambeau held a share of the lead with three other players after 36 holes a year ago at 6-under 134. DeChambeau shot rounds of 68-71 and then won with a birdie on the second playoff hole.

* Nicholas Lindheim, who fell in a playoff last year, is just one shot off of the lead entering the weekend. Lindheim was in T29 at 2-under 138 through 36 holes a year ago but posted rounds of 69-66 to play his way into the playoff.

* Brandon Harkins hit all 18 greens Friday in a 3-under 67 that included three birdies and zero bogeys. Harkins is four shots back of the lead at 4-under 136.

* Through two rounds, Jonathan Randolph has hit five more fairways than anyone else in the field with 26 of 28 fairways hit. Randolph hit 14 of 14 fairways during a second-round 2-under 68. The Ole Miss grad is even-par through two rounds but is T4 in putting average.

* Luke Guthrie is leading the field in putts per round (25.00). Guthrie has opened with rounds of 70-65—135 (-5) and is three back of the lead. He had missed five straight cuts before playing his way into the weekend Friday.

* This is the third year of the Finals format and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much money it will take to finish in the top-25 on the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out in a few weeks.

Here’s how much money the No. 25 man on the money list earned in each of the past two years:

2013 No. 25 Bobby Gates $33,650.00
2014 No. 25 Eric Axley $36,311.66
2015 No. 25 Rob Oppenheim $32,206.00
2016 No. 25 Tim Wilkinson* $27,425.00
*three events; Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled

2017 Scoring Averages at the par-70 Canterbury Golf Club:
Front 9 | Back 9 | Total
R1: 35.008 | 35.916 | 70.924
R2: 35.351 | 35.473 | 70.824
Cumulative: 70.874

 
– by Nicklaus Parker, PGA Tour Communications

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