Erik Barnes carded birdies on each of his final four holes to reach 11-under (Dave Holland/PGA TOUR)
July 4,2014(ISN) – With friendly scoring conditions on a gorgeous prairie day, England’s Kelvin Day and Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Erik Barnes carded birdies by the bunches at Dakota Dunes Golf Links to share the 36-hole lead at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel.
Day carded a 10-under 62, tied for the low round of the day, while Barnes birdied his final four holes of the day to shoot 63, with both players ending the day at 11-under through two rounds. The duo led by two over first round leader Drew Stoltz and Michigan’s Matt Harmon.
Day’s position is remarkable given his rough start yesterday, when he was 4-over for his first 12 holes. Since then, he’s carded 15 birdies and zero bogeys to vault up the leaderboard.
“I’m pretty happy considering where I was yesterday. I’ve had a pretty good charge coming back,” said Day, who hails originally from Surrey, England but now calls Charlotte, North Carolina home. His 62 was tied for the low round of the day with Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Stephen Carney, and was one shot off the course and tournament record held by California’s Cody Slover.
Barnes, meanwhile, finished with a flash, carding birdies on his final four holes to tie Day at the top. The 26-year old said nearly everything went right for him on Friday, with all facets of his game clicking.
“I hit it really good and I putted good,” said Barnes. “I would have been really hard for me to screw it up because I just kept hitting it where I was looking, and every time I looked up, the putts were going where I was looking.”
First round leader Stoltz of Little Rock, Arkansas was unable to summon the magic that led to his brilliant 63 on day one, holding in with an even par 72 on Friday. Still, Stoltz was optimistic about his chances heading into the weekend just two off the lead.
“Hopefully today is my bad day, but you don’t win it on Friday,” said Stoltz. “I’m only two back heading into the weekend and two good rounds away from doing what I want to do.”
BARNES MAKING THE MOST OF SECOND CHANCE IN CANADA
Erik Barnes played as a member of PGA TOUR Canada in 2013, but failed to keep his card after finishing 68th on the Order of Merit. He finds himself back in Canada after a solid spring season on the NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamérica – 10 spots at each PGA TOUR Canada event are open to members of that TOUR – and with a chance to make the most of the opportunity.
Barnes said playing in Latin America has improved his game and prepared him to play in bigger events all year round.
“It’s been great – that’s a great TOUR,” said Barnes. “It seems like every event we play is their national open, so it helps a lot when I have been playing events of this magnitude all year. You have an idea of how the events are going to and what the scores are going to be like.”
Barnes has six top-25 finishes and is 19th on the Order of Merit.
“It’s a benefit to play there and then get to come play here too is great,” said Barnes, who admitted he didn’t play his best in Canada last year but knows he has a tremendous chance in Saskatoon this week.
“When I’m playing as well as I have the last two days, I feel like I’m going to have a chance to win,” Barnes said. “I’m really excited for the next two days.”
CARNEY GOES ONE SHOT BETTER – PER HOLE
After opening his SIGA Dakota Dunes Open presented by SaskTel with an 8-over 80, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Stephen Carney didn’t have much in the way of expectations for Friday’s second round – that is, until he made the turn in 6-under 30 to give himself a chance to make the cut.
“I didn’t let it get me down,” Carney said of his opening round. “I saw I was near the bottom of the field and I just wanted to come out and have some fun today.”
He did exactly that, closing with four more birdies for a 10-under 62 to sit 2-under total for the tournament, moving up 100 spots into a tie for 42nd
“I started thinking cut, and that with nine holes left I could get some more birdies and get in better position for the weekend,” said Carney, who combined with his playing partners Joshua Wooding (65) and Doug McGuigan (68) to shoot a total of 21-under.
Carney becomes the first player in the PGA TOUR Canada era to shoot 80 and still make the cut.