The dozen-or-so contenders for the 67th Golden Isles Invitational are clear.
Golfers teed off in rapid succession, slightly ahead off schedule Friday morning and early afternoon. Thursday’s leader Trevor Smith rode his still tournament-low 7-under 65 score from Round 1 to a tie for the lowest cumulative score after Round 2. Smith shot 2-under 70, and is tied with Carter Collins, the 2012 Golden Isles champion, for the lead heading into the championship flight. Collins was among the scrum of players who shot 4-under 68 Thursday, but managed to improve on that score with 67 in Round 2.
Smith and Collins tee off with B. Mills Rendell and Chase Roswall in the final group at 1:40 p.m. Saturday. Rendell was two shots off the lead Thursday, but pulled within a stroke by carding 3-under 69 Friday.
Roswall, a rising freshman at the University of Tennessee from Chattanooga, Tenn., carded twin 68s in the first two rounds of the tournament. He said he took advantage of par 5s Friday to offset his periodic struggles with his putter.
“Today I really hit my wedges well,” Roswall said. “I probably had four birdies where I hit it to five feet and in. I had about four more putts within 8 feet that I missed. I missed eagle putts from five feet. Just not really taking advantage of my shots that I hit well.”
Roswall said he hopes the putts start the fall, and he’s overall confident in his game.
There is another former Golden Isles champion in the mix. Josh Williams, who won the 2013 Golden Isles Invitational, was 4-under when he made the turn with the help of a long birdie putt on the first hole and an eagle on the par-5 No. 6. A member at Brunswick Country Club, he said the softer, slower greens are contributing to the low scores and he’ll try to recreate the magic he had when he eagled on the front nine.
“I just played pretty solid from there,” Williams said. “I probably need to shoot the same thing I shot today.”
Williams’ two-day score of 136 makes him the low-scorer of the second to last group off the tee. He joins Michael Amos, Jackson Lawlor and Thomas Hogan, set to tee of at 1:20 p.m.
Hogan, a Frederica Academy golfer who played the familiar course with teammate Cason Cavalier and coach Tom Willis, said the familiar foursome helped take off some of the pressure of playing welll. The perks of playing in the amateur tournament are that most golfers treat it like any other round of golf.
“We just try to have fun and see what happens, at least I do,” Hogan said.
Spencer Bartlett and former Coastal Georgia golfers Harrison Stafford and Paxton Shuman round out the Championship A flight.
Hal Johnson pulled out in front by two strokes for the senior title by matching his 69 from Day 1 with another. He’ll tee off with Toshi Hirata (140) Bob Young (142) and Steve Melnyk (142) in the division’s final group. Melnyk is the 1965, 1967 and 1969 Golden Isles champion, and the 2014 and 2015 senior champion.
• Scores, 3B