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Columbus, OH – While he couldn’t match his 8-under-par 63 from Thursday’s opening round, Derek Fathauer ignored the firmer greens and tougher pins on Friday to remain in the lead after 36 holes at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course. Fathauer’s 2-under-par 69 gave him a 36-hole total of 10-under-par 132 and a three-stroke advantage over Vaughn Taylor. Justin Thomas is third at 6-under-par 136 and one better than Kyle Stanley.

“Yesterday’s round was something special, so it’s hard to follow up something like that,” said Fathauer, a University of Louisville product. “But overall I was pleased with my round today.  I made two bogeys in a row (Nos. 1, 2), and that didn’t sit very well, but I got them back, and 2-under I think is pretty respectable round out there.”

This marks the second week in succession that Fathauer has held the 36-hole lead in the four-week-long Web.com Tour Finals. A week ago in Davidson, NC, he led by two strokes only to post rounds of 75-72 to finish T16 at the Chiquita Classic.

“I feel like I’m playing well enough, but who’s to say where I end up. I think what I found from last week is just staying patient and sticking to my game plan,” Fathauer added. “I’ve got another shot at it this week and I’ll just try to improve on last week.”

With cooler weather, firmer greens and more difficult pins on Friday, there were none of the lights-out scores that were posted during Thursday’s opening round. A day after Fathauer shot an 8-under-par 63 and Andrew Loupe, a 7-under-par 64, the low rounds posted on Friday were a pair of 3-under-par 68s by John Mallinger and Steve Marino.

“It was a bit cooler today and maybe there was a little more wind, but the greens were a bit firmer and some of the pins out there were really, really tricky,” Fathauer said.

The only blemishes on Fathauer’s card came when he made consecutive bogeys on Nos. 1 and 2 (he started on No. 10). He missed a four-footer for par on the first, and after hitting a poor tee shot on the second, was left with a 30-footer for par which he missed. That bogey dropped him back into a tie for the lead with Taylor. However, from that point on, he played mistake free, making birdies on Nos. 4 and 7 to regain his lead.

Three birdies by Taylor on his first nine holes helped him grab a share of the lead with Fathauer, but he was unable to maintain his momentum after his third on No. 17. After that he made nine consecutive pars and then closed his day with a three-putt bogey at No. 9, his first in the tournament.

“I think overall I’m in good shape, so I just want to keep doing what I’m doing on the weekend and just stay in the present,” Taylor said. “The greens are firm and it’s really hard to get to some of the pins now. You can’t even play at some of them. You have to play away and try to get your two-putts. They’re tough. There are a lot of little mounds and things in the greens that kind of prevent you from being able to fire right at them.”

SECOND-ROUND NOTES:

* Friday weather: Cloudy skies. Winds NE 5-10 mph. High of 65.

* Nathan Tyler was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.

* Scott Pinckney withdrew prior to the start of the second round.

* Ryan Blaum withdrew during the round due to an injury.

* A total of 66 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 2-over par 144.

* The 2-over cut matches the highest on Tour this year – Panama Claro Championship/2over, 142.

* The 66 players advancing to the weekend is the second smallest number to make the cut this year. The Utah Championship had the Tour minimum of 65 make the cut.

* Third-round play on Saturday will be in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees. Times will run from 9:50-11:40 a.m. with an expected finish time of 4:30 p.m.

* Among the notables who won’t be around for the weekend is leading money winner and three-time champion in 2014 Carlos Ortiz. The 23-year old from Mexico had rounds of 72-79—151 (+9). After collecting his third win of the year at the WinCo Foods Portland Open three weeks ago, Ortiz missed the cut the following week at the Hotel Fitness Championship and did not play at last week’s Chiquita Classic.

* Adam Hadwin (T43), winner of last week’s Chiquita Classic, posted scores of 71-72—143 (+1) and advanced to the final two rounds.

* This is the second time in as many weeks that Derek Fathauer has been the 36-hole leader. He posted rounds of 66-66—132 (-12) at last week’s Chiquita Classic and led by two shots at the halfway mark. Fathauer went on to shoot 75-73 on the weekend and finished T16.

* Fathauer’s stats through two rounds:

18 of 28 fairways 64.3%  T27
28 of 36 greens 77.8%  T2
54 total putts T5

* Fathauer leads the field in birdies with 12 through 36 holes. Andrew Loupe is next with 11.

* First-round leader Andrew Loupe stumbled to a 3-over 75 Friday but his 5-under total still has him tied for seventh heading into Saturday’s third round. Loupe hit four fewer fairways today (7) than yesterday, two fewer greens (13) and had six more putts (33) than in his opener.

* Spencer Levin made the 36-hole cut despite having only one birdie through 36 holes. Levin has chalked up 3 bogeys and 32 pars thus far and is at 2-over 144. Levin hit 12 of 18 greens in each of the first two rounds but also had 32 putts in each. He shot an even-par 71 today – 18 pars – and heads into the weekend at T54.

* Justin Thomas (-6) has been a slow starter in each of his first two rounds. The former University of Alabama star rebounded both days with solid back-nine scores and is in good position (3rd) to challenge on the weekend:

R1  started on front nine: 1-over 37  closed on back nine: 5-under 30   67
R2  started on back nine: 3-over 38  closed on front nine: 5-under 31   69

* Players with local ties this week and how they fared through the first two rounds:

Ryan Armour  Akron/Ohio State University 72-77—149 (+7)  m/c
Ben Curtis Columbus/Kent St. 73-74—147 (+5) m/c
Kyle Reifers  born in Dublin  72-75—147 (+5)  m/c
Chris Wilson born in Columbus 73-77—150 (+8) m/c

* Best rounds of the day:

68 – John Mallinger, Steve Marino
69 – Matt Davidson, Derek Fathauer, Ashley Hall, Bill Lunde, Cameron Percy, Alex Prugh, Kyle Stanley, Richard Sterne, Vaughn Taylor, Justin Thomas

* Friday turned out to be one of the toughest on Tour this year. The Scarlet Course produced a scoring average well above par and nearly two full strokes higher than Thursday’s opener. Here’s a list of the toughest single rounds on the Web.com Tour in 2014:

Panama Golf Club 70.090 +2.090 R1  Panama Claro Championship
Victoria National Golf Club 72.054 +2.054 R4  United Leasing Championship
Ashburn Golf Club 72.012 +2.012  R3  Nova Scotia Open
OSU (Scarlet Course) 72.975  +1.975  R2 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Champ.

* Scoring Averages for the week:

       Front (36) Back (35) Total (71)
R1
  36.087       35.278       71.365
R2  36.803       36.172       72.975

* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour heads to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, for the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass. The tournament will be held at the Dye’s Valley Course Sept. 18-21. At the conclusion of 72 holes, the Web.com Tour will hand out a total of 50 PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming 2014-15 season, which begins in October. Last year, Chesson Hadley fired a 1-under 69 in the final round to win by two strokes over Brad Fritsch, Scott Gardiner, John Peterson and Brendon Todd. Hadley’s win was his second of the year (Rex Hospital Open) and the first-place check of $180,000 moved him up to No. 3 on the Final Priority Ranking. John Peterson was the overall winner in the Finals thanks to four top-5 finishes and edged out Hadley for honors by $567.

First-round Leaderboard

Pos.

Name Scores

1

Derek Fathauer 63-69—132 (-10)

2

Vaughn Taylor 66-69—135 (-7)

3

Justin Thomas 67-69—136 (-6)

4

Kyle Stanley 68-69—137 (-5)

5

Tony Finau 66-72—138 (-4)
Bill Lunde 69-69—138 (-4)

Source: PGA Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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