Jack Turner of Orlando, Fla., and Robert Davidson of Trussville were the exceptions on “Moving Day” at the Press Thornton Future Masters.
Turner, a co-leader after the first round, backed up his 65 with a 3-under 67. His two-round total of 8-under 132 gave him a one-shot lead over Davidson going into today’s final round. Davidson shot a 4-under 66 to go with his opening-round 67.
With those exceptions, the only thing that wasn’t “moving” was the top score. A total of 5-under-par led after the first round and Turner and Davidson are the only golfers below 5-under 135 after two rounds at the Dothan Country Club.
Holden Webb, who shot a first-round 65 to co-lead with Turner, Michael Mays, who was in the first group on the course at 6:30 a.m., and Zach Adams are tied at 5-under 135 through 36 holes with today’s championship round ahead.
Four golfers are next at 4-under 136, led by Benjamin Cai of Davenport, Fla., who surged into contention with a stunning 6-under 29 on the back side. He birdied Nos. 10, 11, 13, 15, 16 and 18.
“I had a 10-footer on No. 18,” Cai said. “It was destined to go in because everything was going in.”
Joining Cai at 136 are Eli Ortego (68) of Broussard, La., Ryan Eshleman (70) of Vestavia Hills and Andrew Spaulding (70) of Spring, Texas.
The shot of the day was recorded on No. 13 by Payne Elkins of Valdosta, Ga., who made a hole-in-one there.
“It was 171 yards and I hit a full 8-iron,” Elkins said. “We couldn’t see it going in because of the glare. We saw the parents start hollering and everybody went wild. It was a cool thing. It’s my third one, my second in competition.”
Turner started on the back nine and knew a good start was important.
“Starting on the back nine today I needed to get a few birdies because that’s the easier side,” Turner said.
He made birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 13 and 14 and his lone bogey came on No. 18.
“Turning in 32 was nice,” the leader added. “Then making the turn I knew I didn’t need a lot more birdies. It’s a tough side on the front so I just made sure to stay even-keeled.”
He was even-par on the front with birdies at Nos. 4 and 5 and bogeys at Nos. 2 and 8.
He is eager for Saturday’s final round.
“I want to stay even-keeled in the beginning, play my own game and not worry about anyone else,” Turner said. “We’ll see what it adds up to.”
Davidson got off to a similarly strong start. He teed off at No. 1.
“I was 4-under after the first five holes,” he said after birdies at 1, 3, 4 and 5. “I made about a 25-footer on 1, parred No. 2, hit it to three feet on No. 3, two-putted for birdie on No. 4 and made a 10- to 12-footer on No. 5.”
After that run, he said it wasn’t easy to stay calm.
“It was tough to pace myself through the middle of the round because I was playing so well and hitting it so well,” Davidson said. “The back nine had a few bogeys, a few mental errors. I had a three-putt on 13 and bogeyed 18.”
Davidson, in his eighth year here, knows tomorrow will be a different atmosphere.
“I’ve never been in contention for a Future Masters before, so it’s going to be exciting,” he said. “I’m just going to have to control my nerves and go out there and play well.”
Mays of Winter Park, Fla., played in the first group on the course at 6:30 a.m. and shot the best round of the morning wave, a 5-under 65 that gave him a two-round 135 total.
“It was a pretty good day. The putter got hot,” Mays said after his round. “Yesterday I was on the wrong side of the holes and had to be careful. Today I left myself in some good spots so I could give them aggressive strokes.”
Mays made birdie on Nos. 3, 4, 5, 8, 16 and 17. His only bogey came on a three-putt at No. 7.
“I was above the hole there and had to play defense,” Mays said, adding he hit 15 greens in regulation and that wasn’t as sharp as the first round. “Yesterday I hit 17 greens and shot even par, so that was frustrating I worked out the putting a little bit.”
Adams of Charleston, S.C., shot a 3-under par 67 and had a two-day total of 5-under 135.
Adams said his iron play and his putting enabled his round of 67.
“I was hitting it everywhere with the driver,” he said. “I probably only hit six or seven fairways today.”
He scrambled well. Starting on the back nine, he made only two bogeys — on Nos. 18 and 2. His birdies came on Nos. 15, 16, 1, 7 and 8.
Webb of Shreveport, La., shot even-par after opening the tournament with a 5-under 65.
“It could have been better, for sure,” said Webb, who had a double-bogey on No. 6. “I turned at 1-under and shot 1-over on the back. I really only hit one loose shot and it cost me a couple strokes. I played pretty solid, not quite as many putts fell as yesterday.”
Webb said this is his third year at the Future Masters, but his first in contention.
“I’ve always teed off No. 10 at about 7 a.m. (on the last day),” he said. “It’s going to be exciting going off 1 and be somewhere around the leaders.”
It was another stroke back to Cai, Ortego and Eshleman and Spaulding, who both shot 70 on Friday after opening the tournament with a 66.
Carter Loflin of Duluth, Ga., and Graham Hodges of Birmingham are tied for 10th place at 137.
For a list of today’s tee times and a complete listing of scores, go to www.futuremastersgolf.com