eTour Press Release
Southport, NC – On a day when skies were blue, sun was bright, and wind was minimal, eGolf Tour leading money winner Seamus Power of Waterford, Ireland took full advantage of his opportunities, putting forth a course-record 64 at the Reserve Club at St. James on his way to a 9-under 135 tally at the midway point of the fifth annual Championship at St. James Plantation. Power's stout performance on day two put him four clear of the field heading into Friday's third round of the 72-hole event, with an eye on possibly capturing career win No. 4 on a Jack Nicklaus track that once baffled his superbly-gifted game.
Power's week in idyllic Southport began in solid fashion during Wednesday's weather-delayed opening round, as a first-round 71 put him at 1-under par for the week, just two shots back of a quartet of overnight co-leaders. The former East Tennessee State star struggled, however, on his way to that 71, fighting his swing and battling a handful of errant shots throughout.
"I was kind of struggling hitting it yesterday, so I worked on things on the range afterwards, just trying to soften the transition move," said the 27-year-old. "It made a big difference and gave me a positive feel, and I just went from there."
Starting day two on the opening nine at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Reserve Club, Power posted birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 7 on his way to a 3-under 33, turning at 4-under par for the tournament.
"I knew the course would play easier today, especially with no breeze. I knew I'd be able to go at some pins," said Power. "I was able to make a few putts early on."
A birdie at the par-5 12th pushed Power even further into the red at 4-under for the day, but it was a strong finish over his final four holes that solidified the record-setting effort.
At the narrow par-4 15th, the Irishman overcame an approach left short and left with a chip-in birdie to a tough back hole location that took him to 5-under for the round. At 16, Power laced a 4-iron tee shot to 2 feet before adding a third straight birdie with a two-putt on the par-5 17th.
On the tee of the par-4 finishing hole, Power caught a left fairway bunker, but still managed to put his second shot just 15 feet from the hole. When he rolled in the closing birdie, he was left with a 31 on his inward nine and an 8-under 64 on the day – eclipsing the prior course record by one shot.
Power's 2014 campaign on the eGolf Tour began in stellar fashion, with back-to-back top-5s at both the Palmetto Hall Championship and Championship at Callawassie Island giving way to career win No. 3 at the Cowans Ford Open.
The win brought Power's 2014 earnings to $21,364, good for first on the eGolf Tour money list. More importantly, the win ended a 21-month winless drought, dating back to the 2012 Spring Creek Classic – the second of two victories in a breakthrough season of sorts.
Looking to keep his hot streak intact, the former Buccaneer standout was forced to sit idle with the tour taking a week off before trekking to the North Carolina coast for this week's event.
"I took a couple of days off after the win, didn't do much. I love playing – I'd play 52 weeks a year if I could, especially when you're playing well," he said. "It's nice to have the good feelings in your head. But, the week off also gives you time to rest, especially coming into a tough golf course like this."
Annually one of the most demanding venues on the eGolf Tour rotation, the Reserve Club requires a player's full attention. Year in and year out, the winner is most often the player that can reach 8-under par by week's end while avoiding a complete catastrophe on the tree- and hazard-lined layout.
"My first couple of years here, I didn't play it great. Then I played well last year and figured a few things out," said Power, who offset missed cuts in his first two starts with a T11 in the event's 2013 edition. "You have to hit it real well off the tee as it's kind of an intimidating course. There are a lot of tee shots where you have to pick a club and hit it to a spot. So I'm thinking my way off the tee a little better."
The 64 was Power's sixth round of 64 or better on the eGolf Tour dating back to the end of the 2011 season, with three of those rounds coming in at 62, including another course record at the Patriot Golf Club in 2012. The likeable kid from across the pond has zero fear of going low, and more than cements that notion far too often.
"For some reason, I've always been able to shoot low scores when I get going. My problems have come when I'm off, my score tends to be a little higher than it really should be," he said. "I'm very comfortable once I get under par, and I start to trust my feelings that much more. There's no real secret, I just trust it and go."
Matt Ryan of Santa Clarita, CA is alone in second place, four shots back of Power at 5-under 139.
Ryan, who just happens to be Power's roommate, was one of the opening-round co-leaders, following a Wednesday 69 with a 2-under 70 on Thursday to slide in at 5-under par for the week.
The long-hitting lefty began on the back nine and turned at even-par 36 in the second round, then roared back into contention, birdieing Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7 to move to 4-under par for the day and 7-under overall. From there, however, Ryan struggled, bogeying his final two holes en route to his 70.
A three-time winner on the eGolf Tour, Ryan nearly claimed win No. 4 at Callawassie, falling one-shot shy of winner J.T. Griffin after a bogey on the final hole left him at 7-under par for the week. The former Fresno State golfer has conditional status on the Web.com Tour this year, and has made three starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica – recording two top-20 finishes, including a playoff loss at the TransAmerican Power Products CRV Open in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Vaita Guillaume of Tahiti is in solo-third place at 4-under 140 following rounds of 69-71.
Like Ryan, the former Campbell University golfer was one of the co-leaders after a 69 on Wednesday. Guillaume's Thursday effort began in solid fashion with two birdies in his first four holes, but quickly went downhill after bogeys on Nos. 4, 5, 10 and 13 left him at 1-over par on the round.
Guillaume rallied thereafter, birdieing 14 and 18 to finish off a second-round 71 and a 4-under total at the event's halfway point.
The 25-year-old earned his biggest professional win to date in January, capturing the Citrus Open title on eGolf Tour Florida.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over 147, with 36 players making it through to the final 36 holes. Third-round play at St. James will begin at 8:00 AM on Friday morning, with players competing in threesomes off of Nos. 1 and 10. The tournament is open to the public and free of charge.
The Championship at St. James Plantation
The Reserve Club
Par 72; 7,212 yards
1. Seamus Power, Ireland, *71-64-135 -9
2. Matthew Ryan, Santa Clarita, CA, *69-70-139 -5
3. Vaita Guillaume, Papeete, Tahiti, *69-71-140 -4
4. Adam Stephenson, Greenville, NC, *73-69-142 -2
4. Steven Fox, Hendersonville, TN, *70-72-142 -2
4. Reed Darsie, Chapel Hill, NC, *73-69-142 -2
7. T.J. Howe, Osceola, PA, *70-73-143 -1
7. Brendan Gielow, Muskegon, MI, *70-73-143 -1
7. Michael Miller, Brewster, NY, *72-71-143 -1
10. David Watkins, Greenville, NC, *75-69-144 E
10. Luke Hopkins, Greenville, SC, *70-74-144 E
10. Travis Ross, Crookston, MN, *74-70-144 E
10. David Erdy, London, OH, *76-68-144 E
10. Bobby MacWhinnie, Charlotte, NC, *75-69-144 E
15. Drew Weaver, Sea Island, GA, *74-71-145 +1
15. Ryan Nelson, Charleston, SC, *71-74-145 +1
15. Jurrian Van der Vaart, Netherlands, *73-72-145 +1
15. Joshua Brock, Wilmington, NC, *72-73-145 +1
15. Ethan Tracy, Columbus, OH, *74-71-145 +1
15. Adam Hedges, Belmont, NC, *77-68-145 +1
15. Jack Fields, Southern Pines, NC, *76-69-145 +1
15. Bruce Woodall, Yanceyville, NC, *70-75-145 +1
15. Wesley Bryan, Chapin, SC, *74-71-145 +1
15. Kevin Roy, Tampa, FL, *72-73-145 +1
15. Michael Davan, Hoopeston, IL, *73-72-145 +1
26. Christian Brand, Charleston, WV, *74-72-146 +2
26. Mark Kriston, Clemmons, NC, *75-71-146 +2
28. Jesse Hutchins, Kirkersville, OH, *73-74-147 +3
28. Ryan Zylstra, Glen Allen, VA, *69-78-147 +3
28. Zach Edmondson, Morrisville, NC, *74-73-147 +3
28. Joey McLister, Charlotte, NC, *73-74-147 +3
28. Noah Ratner, Asheville, NC, *74-73-147 +3
28. Bryce Ledford, Chattanooga, TN, *75-72-147 +3
28. Weston Eklund, Charlottesville, VA, *73-74-147 +3
28. Jacob Eggers, Boone, NC, *75-72-147 +3
28. Ted Brown, Richmond, VA, *76-71-147 +3
MISSED THE CUT
MC. Adam Webb, Ridgeway, VA, *+4
MC. Will Collins, Salisbury, NC, *+4
MC. Preston Dembowiak, Greensboro, NC, *+4
MC. Mark Side, Gray, TN, *+4
MC. Carson Lanier, Sanford, NC, *+4
MC. Michael Kinkopf, Dublin, OH, *+4
MC. Ryan Sullivan, Winston-Salem, NC, *+4
MC. Ryan Gildersleeve, Clearwater, FL, *+4
MC. Brett Lange, Atlanta, GA, *+4
MC. Chris Gallagher, Charlotte, NC, *+4
MC. Brendan Kelly, Annapolis, MD, *+5
MC. Chris McCartin, Raleigh, NC, *+5
MC. Derek Rende, Soddy Daisy, TN, *+6
MC. Atomu Watanabe, Queensland, Australia, *+6
MC. Thomas Bass, Wilmington, NC, *+6
MC. Justin Peters, Stuart, FL, *+6
MC. Daniel Walker, Earlysville, VA, *+6
MC. Ryan Gutowski, Akron, OH, *+6
MC. Michael Wade, Floyd, VA, *+6
MC. Beon Yeong Lee, Quebec, Canada, *+6
MC. Abbie Valentine, Naples, FL, *+6
MC. Matt Schall, Williamsport, PA, *+7
MC. Fielding Brewbaker, Salem, VA, *+7
MC. Luke Ovenden, Ontario, Canada, *+7
MC. Amory Davis, Chadds Ford, PA, *+8
MC. Josh Apple, Leesburg, VA, *+8
MC. David Sanders, Mt. Laurel, NJ, *+8
MC. Brian Hughes, Raleigh, NC, *+8
MC. Mitch Bagley, Midlothian, VA, *+9
MC. Guillermo Pumarol, Doral, FL, *+9
MC. Brett Nymeyer, Ontario, Canada, *+9
MC. Kevin McLister, Charlotte, NC, *+9
MC. Nicholas Mehigan, Charlotte, NC, *+9
MC. Anthony Aloi, Greenville, SC, *+10
MC. Hyun Shik Chung, Charlotte, NC, *+10
MC. Steve Lee, Hendersonville, TN, *+10
MC. Garland Green, Tazewell, VA, *+10
MC. Dustin Groves, Raleigh, NC, *+10
MC. Ryan Thornton, Chattanooga, TN, *+11
MC. James (a) Braunsberg, Plymouth Meeting, PA, *+11
MC. Paul Howell, Wilson, NC, *+12
MC. Drew Perry, Charlotte, NC, *+12
MC. Tommy Gibson, Vero Beach, FL, *+12
MC. Alex Boyd, Greensboro, GA, *+13
MC. Brad Miller, Timonium, MD, *+14
MC. Johnny Kyger, Salisbury, NC, *+14
MC. Tim Cantwell, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, *+14
MC. Tommy Sikes, Midland, TX, *+14
MC. Patrick Barrett, Pinehurst, NC, *+15
MC. Austen Giesie, Azusa, CA, *+15
MC. Trey Howell, Wilmington, NC, *+16
MC. Lee Heaton, Rock Hill, SC, *+16
MC. John Gerber, Potomac, MD, *+18
MC. Russ Adams, Charlotte, NC, *+19
MC. Justin Caroli, Stonewood, WV, *+19
MC. Jerome Ponniah, London, England, *+19
MC. Mark Wright, Tabor City, NC, *+19
MC. Nick Austin, Midlothian, VA, *+22
MC. Jared Speight, Leland, NC, *+22
MC. David Heimbecker, Sanford, NC, *+24
MC. John Taylor, Bridgewater, VA, *+25
MC. Austin Stillman, Wilmington, NC, *+25
MC. Jeff Pagac, Thomson, GA, *+43
NC. Frankie Suits, Sarasota, FL, *