Posted: Saturday, June 7th 2014 at 2:10am
Brown continues hot play at Milton Martin Classic, builds on lead
By Morgan Lee Editor
James White chips on to the green at No.. 18 on Friday in the Milton Martin Honda Classic in Gainesville.
GAINESVILLE -- Brandon Brown sure does like what he’s seen at Chattahoochee Golf Club so far this week.
Just a few weeks ago the NGA veteran would have been happy to see any course.
Brown recently underwent surgery to correct a condition in his left eye that saddled him with double vision, and judging by the Shelbyville, Ky., resident’s play in the first two rounds of the Milton Martin Honda Classic the procedure has been a huge success.
Brown followed up a blistering round of 10-under 62 on Thursday with an impressive 7-under 65 on Friday -- taking a seven-stroke lead in the four-day NGA Tournament event in Gainesville.
“It’s my third tournament back since the surgery, and I played well in each of the two tournaments (finishing fifth and third), so my game is coming around,” Brown said.
Indeed, Brown carded nine birdies against just two bogeys on Friday -- one day after holing two eagle shots and just one bogey -- to increase his advantage over James White, Jr., and Patton Kizzire, who were tied for second with two-day totals of 134.
“I’m playing well, but I want to hit a few more shots closer to the hole to try and catch Brandon,” said White, an Acworth resident that was an NCAA All-American at Georgia Tech in 2012. “Brandon is a great player, and it’s going to be tough to catch him. I’m just going to go out there and give it my best and whatever happens happens.”
Both White and Kizzire fired rounds of 68 on Friday, following up identical 66s from Thursday.
The low numbers on the leaderboard were widespread, with all but 13 players coming in under par after the first two days -- including Dawsonville resident Blake Palmer, who found himself in a five-way tie for 10th after carding back-to-back days of 69 for a two-day total of 6-under 138. Other northeast Georgia-based competitors included Ryan Chitwood, who two-under after Friday’s round (142). Jim Foote, meanwhile, was at 147, while Rodger Hogan was at 149.
Brown, who has played the event in seasons past says the low scores are a function of a course in full bloom -- unlike the tougher conditions of recent NGA tournaments at Chattahoochee when the tournament was held in March.
“It’s beautiful out there; the greens are a little softer to what we’re used to, and in the fairways the grass has really come in,” Brown said. “It’s a treat... it’s a treat anytime you play well.”
White agreed, noting that most players in the field were taking an aggressive approach.
“Right now there’s pretty much a green light for everyone,” White said. “It’s fun to shoot low, but right now everyone’s shooting low.”
After just missing out on victories in recent NGA tournaments, White hopes to keep the pressure on Brown.
“A couple of times this season I’ve headed into the weekend or the last day with leads and haven’t been able to hold it,” White said. “So I’m not going to put any pressure on myself. I’m just going to go out there and try to play my best.”
Brown, meanwhile, is hoping to capture his second victory at Chattahoochee after winning the 2011 title in a rain-shortened event.
“It’s a whole different course than it was then (because of the move from a March schedule to June),” said Brown, who has played the event four times. “But I’m just trying to keep my confidence going. My vision is so much better now than it was, and I’m just going to come out and play golf.”
“It’s been pretty good so far,” Brown said. “But I want to keep it going.”
Play will resume on Saturday at Chattahoochee, with the final round taking place on Sunday.
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