University of Kentucky standout Cooper Musselman fired a 4-under-par 67 Friday on Berkeley Hall’s North Course to claim a one-shot lead after the second round of the 18th annual Players Amateur.
Musselman sits at 7-under for the tournament and has a one-shot advantage over Ohio State’s Will Grimmer and Vanderbilt’s Theo Humphrey. First-round leaders Andy Ogletree and William Rainey are among a group of seven players at 5-under, two off the pace.
Bluffton’s Bryson Nimmer, a former Hilton Head Christian Academy star and current Clemson All-American, shot 2-under 69 for the second straight day and is one of six players tied for 11th at 4-under. Nimmer narrowly missed several birdie tries that could have propelled him to the lead.
“Sometimes it’s almost like a switch, and once you turn it on, it’s on, and you can start making some putts,” Nimmer said. “I didn’t hit it my best today, either, so I can’t blame it all on the putting. I’ve just got to tighten everything up and hopefully string it all together tomorrow and the rest of the week.”
Nimmer had a large following Friday, including his parents, who are in the process of building a home at Berkeley Hall, and a number of fellow club members.
“To have my parents, and my girlfriend able to caddy this week, it’s helpful and motivating,” said Nimmer, who noted his home-course advantage could be more pronounced with tricky weekend pin placements.
Musselman played a mostly uneventful round Friday, making birdies on his first two holes and an eagle on the par-5 15th with nothing but pars on the other 15 holes.
Grimmer charged up the leaderboard with a bogey-free 6-under 65 – the low round of the tournament through 36 holes – that included a stretch of four straight birdies on the front nine.
After shooting 67 to share the lead Thursday, Rainey appeared poised for another strong round with a bogey-free 33 on the front nine Friday. The College of Charleston graduate relinquished the lead with a nine at the par-4 10th hole but rebounded with three birdies over his final eight holes to put himself back in contention.
China’s Cheng Jin, who is bidding to become the first repeat champion in Players Amateur history, shot 2-under 69 and is 2-under for the tournament, tied for 18th.
Among other local players in the field Bluffton’s Trace Crowe (72-72) is tied for 40th, Bluffton’s Michael Balzer (76-70) is tied for 52nd, Hilton Head Island’s Will Miles (74-73) is tied for 59th, Hilton Head Island’s Tate Hoisington (74-75) is tied for 67th, Bluffton’s Alec Weary (75-82) is tied for 75th, and Hilton Head Island’s Bubba Jacoby (79-81) is 77th.
The third round is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m Saturday. The event is open to the public, and admission is free.