By Travis Andries
MARSHALL – Morning showers did little to stem the flow of the low scores turned in by the Dakotas Tour professionals during Day 2 of their 54-hole tournament at Marshall Golf Club. In total 20 players posted scores at or below par (71) on Tuesday.
The low rounds of the day belonged to Paul Peterson and Jay Myers. Each shot a 6-under 65, matching the low round of the tournament thus far.
Peterson’s 65, coupled with his 67 from the Schwan Food Company Pro-Am on Monday, has the Salem, Ore. native tied for the lead after 36 holes with 18-hole leader Tim Ailes.
Despite a slow start, including a bogey on the reachable par-5 first hole, Peterson was able to settle into a rhythm on the day and move up the leaderboard.
“I hit a lot of wedges close and made some putts,” Peterson said. “I didn’t take advantage of the par-5s like I wanted to, unfortunately, but I hit some great putts and great wedge shots. I kept it in play all day.”
Another factor in Peterson’s charge on Tuesday was a considerably reduced wind. Blustery conditions on Monday kept many of the players from approaching par, while the calmer air on Tuesday brought some scores down.
“You can get at these pins a little bit better,” Peterson said, noting the change in the course without a wind.
Myers, from Saratoga, Calif., also took advantage of the more favorable conditions to post a 65. Unlike Peterson, Myers started the day above par after recording a 1-over 72 on Monday; but similar to his fellow low-round, Myers got off to slower start with the two opening par-5s before finding his groove on the later holes.
“I parred the first one and birdied the second one,” Myers said. “I actually hit the pin for two on No. 2, then two-putted. I played solid and just went after a lot of the center of the greens. There are a lot of uphill putts if you hit it in the middle of these greens.”
With a two-day total of 137, Myers sits just five shots back of the leaders and is in a tie for third place with Matthew Smith.
Myers admitted that without his 65 on Tuesday, any shot at a potential win at MGC would have been a very long one.
“I knew I needed something good to get me back in there,” Myers said. “I knew I needed to make some shots and today I got them.”
Peterson, along with Ailes and Smith, will be teeing off in today’s final grouping just after 10 a.m. Myers will be taking the course just prior, and is paired with fifth-place Brandon Crick and Austyn Karle (who is in a three-way tie for sixth).
Twenty-seven players made the cut into the final round of competition. All scores at or under 2-over-par after the first 36 holes (144 strokes) made the cut and will be eyeing the win.
A victory for Peterson would mark his first on the Dakotas Tour this year, while his best finish to date was fourth place at Bakker Crossing in Sioux Falls, S.D. on July 6-8. According to Peterson, the key to victory is simply not thinking about it.
“I just need to stay patient and take it one pin at a time,” he said.
Round 3 tees off with the first groups at, approximately, 8:41 a.m. today.