While some players faded after strong first rounds, Aaron Pounds of The Woodlands, Texas, and Jackson Koivun of San Jose, Calif., stayed consistent and atop the leaderboard in the 13-14 age division of the Press Thornton Future Masters on Monday.
Pounds followed up an amazing first round 8-under-par 62 with a 1-under 69 on Monday for a two-day 131. Koivun, after a first round 65, came in at 66 to share the lead going into the final round on Tuesday.
Both are four strokes ahead of Luke Coyle (70-65) of Campbellsville, Ky., and Collins Trolio (69-66) of West Point, Miss.
“I mean, it’s kind of hard to match that,” Pounds said of his first round 62. “I wasn’t trying to play conservative, but the course was a little tougher today. There was a little more wind.
“After yesterday’s round I was trying to celebrate as much as I could, but at the same time stay focused. I knew regardless of how the rest of the week went, that was a great score.”
The cut was at 12-over 152 with 72 players advancing to Tuesday’s final round.
Koivun birdied his final hole of the day (No. 9) to earn a share of the lead.
“I was 3-under and I knew it was going to be close to the lead and I didn’t want to mess up,” Koivun said. “I was really nervous on the tee. I literally aimed right at the tree, because there is OB (out of bounds) right. I was able to get through it, which is a little lucky break.
“I had about 124 in. I hit a wedge shot to about 10 feet and was able to make it.”
Both Pounds and Koivun hope to maintain the consistency for another day.
“Just stick with my game plan,” Pounds said. “It’s been working so far, so I think if I keep doing that, I’ll be successful tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Koivun figures there may be some jitters on the course for the final round.
“I feel like everyone is going to feel a little pressure and I just need to go under par again,” Koivun said.
Ryder Cowan of Edmond, Okla., has been a model of consistency with back-to-back 68s and is tied with three others at 136.
While breezy conditions bothered some during the second round, Cowan felt right at home.
“I’m from Oklahoma, where it blows 20 (mph) every day, so it didn’t affect me,” Cowan said. “I’m sure other players it did. A good day in Oklahoma is probably around 10 or 15 (mph).”
William Jennings of Greenville, S.C., shot a 4-under 66 on Monday to pair with a 70. The 13-year-old had the strong showing despite believing the pin placements were tougher on the second day.
“A couple of shaky holes, but I made most of my putts today, so that helps,” Jennings said. “I thought the pins were a little harder today. Yesterday I started off 4-over through five holes and that was a tough start. Today I really didn’t have any blowup shots.”
Chase Nevins of Great Falls, Va., is still in the hunt at 137 following rounds of 68-69.
“I played solid both days,” Nevins said. “I hit a good amount of fairways and a good amount of greens. I think the conditions were definitely tougher today, so I think that is one of the reasons why some people shot higher.”
Several players who had strong opening rounds fell back in the pack. Rylan Shim of Centreville, Va., who shot a first-round 63, shot a 76 on Monday. Frank Kennedy of Crewe, England, who had a first-round 64, followed it with a 72. Daniel Macias of Austin, Texas, shot a second-round 76 after a 65 on the first day. Ethan Gao of Alpharetta, Ga., followed a 66 with a 70.
Dothan’s Mason Crowder improved from a first-round 77 to a second-round 74 to make the cut. Making birdies on his final two holes kept him in the field.
“Coming off of 16, I had a disappointing bogey,” Crowder said. “I hit a drive right, punched it and couldn’t get up and down.
“On 17, I was like, ‘I have to birdie one of these.’ I hit a drive right down the middle. I was only like 118 out. I hit a wedge to about a foot and made that.
“On 18, I hit to about four feet and made it. That was a good way to end.”
The leaders will tee off in the last group at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday.