By MICHAEL BURWELL
Thursday’s second round of the Ohio Amateur Championship at Findlay Country Club was summed up in one word for most of the local competitors.
It was a grind.
But several golfers with area connections fought through windy conditions and fast greens to make the 36-hole cut and advance to the third round.
The top 61 golfers, who finished 8-over or lower, advanced to the third round. A second cut (top 40 and ties) will be made today for Saturday’s final round.
Findlay’s Jon Brimley, who shot a 3-under 67 in his opening round, finished with a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to shoot a 76, which puts him in a tie for 17th with a 143.
Spencer Shoemaker, a 2015 Findlay High School graduate and University of Toledo golfer, relied on his short game for the second straight day and carded a 3-over 73. He was a shot behind Brimley and sits tied for 23rd.
“Putting saved me a lot. My short game saved me a lot again today,” Shoemaker said. “It was a really rough day out there; it was a big grind. Not too happy with the score, but (I’ll) come back out tomorrow and see what happens.”
Brimley shot a 2-over 37 on the front nine that included a birdie on the par-5 first hole. The second nine proved to be tougher, all within 10 feet of the hole.
Brimley missed five par putts from 4-10 feet on the back nine, including a three-putt bogey from around 18 feet on the par-4 10th.
“I left my putter in some tough, tough spots today. If you’ve got 5 to 10 footers all day, I’m not going to make those all day and kind of got on a bad roll there,” Brimley said. “The putter was great yesterday and I believe it’s going to be much better tomorrow.”
He finished strong on No. 18, though. After hitting his drive in the fairway and his second shot to within 100 yards, Brimley hit his third shot to within 10 feet of the front-left pin location and rolled his putt in.
Brimley said he’s excited to be high up on the leaderboard, whether it has soaked in or not.
“Being in the thick of things, I don’t think that’s quite set in,” said Brimley, who is playing in his first Ohio Amateur. “I didn’t think that was going to happen this week. I’ve never been in this position before and I like where I’m at. I think I can attack from my position.”
Shoemaker was 2-under through his first five holes after birdies on No. 10, the par-3 12th and par-4 14th (he bogeyed No. 11). He bogeyed the par-3 17th en route to a 1-under 34 on his first nine.
Back-to-back bogeys to start his second nine, however, and bogeys on Nos. 5 and 8 led to a back-nine 39.
Overall, Shoemaker hit just seven fairways and nine greens in regulation. He hit just four fairways in his first round.
“Actually, the drives were a little bit better than yesterday, but I just couldn’t figure this wind out, couldn’t figure my irons out,” he said. “I was really hitting the ball pretty poorly today.”
Shoemaker, however, avoided a bogey on the 490-yard par-4 fourth hole after he drained a 50-foot putt to save par.
“When I was walking down the fourth hole, walking up to that putt, I was just praying to God, I was like I need something here,” Shoemaker said. “Just give me something so I can just finish the day and give me a shot at the weekend. And I ended up draining that putt.”
Jacob Miller, an assistant golf coach for the University of Findlay, improved on his opening-round 75 by firing a 72 to sit in a tie for 47th (147). He was 2-under through 11 holes (started on No. 2), but had four bogeys in his final seven holes.
Dublin’s Justin Perdue, who led after an opening-round 65, grinded out a 73 on Thursday. He was tied for first at 2-under overall with Cincinnati’s Taylor Suggs, who shot a second-round 68.
Dover’s Ryan Troyer carded a second-round 68 after opening with a 71. He was the only other player under par after two rounds.
Perdue was 3-over through his first seven holes (started on No. 10). He made a 12-footer to save bogey on No. 16 and drained a curling 12-footer for par on No. 17 that broke from left to right.
Perdue also got up and down for par on No. 18 after he short-sided himself on his third shot. He hit his chip from short and left of the green to within four feet of the front-left pin and saved par.
“It was a big grind. It wasn’t pretty but I just kept finding a way to get the ball just for par,” said Perdue, a sophomore for Division-III Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Findlay’s John Zitkovic shot a second-round 74 and was tied for 92nd with a 152, but missed the cut by four shots. He birdied No. 10 after hitting a wedge from around 85 yards out to within five feet and added a birdie on No. 1, but finished his round with bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9.
“I played much better tee to green (compared to yesterday), but still didn’t putt it very well today,” Zitkovic said. “The difference in the score was that I hit more greens today.”
Worthington resident and former Van Buren standout Matt Beckett shot a 77 after an opening-round 79 and missed the cut (tied for 116th).
“I hit it pretty good this week, but I was erratic on the greens,” Beckett said. “I could not putt to make anything, even a 3-footer was a chore for me.”
Although Beckett missed the cut, he said he was happy to come back and golf at Findlay Country Club.
“The only reason why I played in (the Ohio Amateur) was because it was here,” he said. “I wish I would have done better but that’s the way it goes.”
University of Findlay junior Ryan Wilburn had a second-round 85 and finished tied for 137th.
The third round will begin at 8 a.m. on No. 1. Miller will tee off at 8:40 a.m., Shoemaker at 10:10 a.m. and Brimley at 10:20 a.m.
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