Mateo Desmond knows it’s hard to follow an excellent round of golf with another, so his fast start took some early nerves away in the second round of the Press Thornton Future Masters.
Desmond of Pompano Beach, Fla., birdied the first hole, then shook off a three-putt green on No. 2 and birdied the par-3 No. 3 over water at the Dothan Country Club on Monday morning.
He went on to shoot a 2-under 68 that paired nicely with his first-round 67. He leads the 11-12 age division by a stroke over Tyler Mawhinney of Fleming Island, Fla.
“It went pretty well today. I felt good out there early,” Desmond said.
Early was the key phrase. Desmond’s foursome was first on the course with a 6:30 a.m. tee time off hole No. 1.
His front side also included a birdie on the sixth hole, which at 398 yards is the longest par-4 on the course for the 11-12s. To birdie Nos. 3 and 6 on the front was picking up shots on the field.
He needed those. Mawhinney, who started the tournament Sunday with a 67, passed a gut check early in his round after he hit into the water on No. 3 and made a double bogey.
“I was just a little upset, but I tried not to get down on myself,” Mawhinney said. “I responded well.”
He birdied Nos. 4 and 5, and finished with a 1-under 69 for the day and a 4-under 136 for the tournament.
From Mawhinney, it’s another shot back to Henry Guan (71 — 137) and two strokes back to Oliver Jackoniski and Sahish Reddy, who both are at 1-under 139. Two more players, Nicholis Logis and Tyler Watts, are at even-par 140 through two rounds.
Mawhinney, playing in his fourth Future Masters, said he has putted well in the first two rounds.
“No three-putts so far,” he said, proof that he’s leaving his approach shots under the hole.
Guan of Irving, Texas, had a share of the first-round lead after a 66 on Sunday. He said he had to scramble on Monday.
“The pin locations were much tougher today (Monday),” Guan said. “The wind caught up on the back nine for me. Putting wasn’t as great as yesterday (Sunday). I had to scramble — a lot of up-and-downs to make par. But I played through it.”
His three birdies came at Nos. 9, 13 and 15. But he hung around with a couple saves, one a bunker shot within a foot to save par.
Guan played in the tournament last year for the first time. In fact, he will be playing in Tuesday’s final round on his 12th birthday.
“Really, I’m just trying to play my best tomorrow. I’m not going to think about the other competitors, because that would just make me more nervous,” Guan said. “Just play the course and hope to do well.”
Jackoniski of Dunwoody, Ga., shot a 69 on Monday to get to 1-under, tied with Reddy (70—139) of Duluth, Ga. Jackoniski said he has missed too many birdie putts.
“I could be 7-under,” he said.
The cut to the low 40 for Tuesday’s final round came at 12-over 152.
Desmond, the leader, is looking forward to the final round. This is his first Future Masters.
“We came because some friends told us this was a really good tournament to play, so we came and tried it out,” he said. “It’s a good tournament; a great tournament.
“It’s going to be fun tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there and play my game and I should do well.”