KILLEN — A day after slogging around rain-soaked Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club, competitors in the 103rd Alabama State Amateur got a day of good weather, including some sunshine, Friday.
During the second round, players also got to play what is known as preferred lies — being allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls due to soggy fairways — making for better scoring after a tough opening day.
Better conditions and playing preferred lies meant much better scores. The first round produced only 11 scores under par.
In the second round, that number was 24. Creola’s Jeremy Duke had the day’s best round, a 6-under 65 to get back into contention at 4-under 139.
Alabama Golf Association officials also had to make a change on the sixth hole, turning the dogleg par 4 into a 180-yard par 3 due to unplayable conditions in the vicinity of where most of the players tee shots were landing.
When the round was over, though, the field was still chasing first-round co-leaders Will McFadden and Trent Alexander.
Alexander shot 3-under 68 and is at 7-under 136 through 36 holes and is the solo leader. McFadden reached 8-under par but slipped back over the final nine and finished with a 69 and is a shot behind at 137.
“It was considerably different not playing in the rain today,” Alexander joked after the round.
Alexander is enjoying being back on his home turf. He was an assistant professional after college at Turtle Point, and the fact the state am was being played here speeded up his process for regaining his amateur status.
Alexander said returning to the amateur ranks after spending time as a professional was an easy decision.
“I wasn’t really trying to make it; I was just playing a few pro-ams,” he said. “I was just an assistant pro. It wasn’t a career choice for me to be a pro, so it was an easy choice to come back.”
Alexander said he is enjoying his return to competition.
“I’m excited to play against my brother and his friends, and some of my friends are still out here doing it,” he said. “It’s fun.”
Alexander’s younger brother Ike is tied for ninth place at 143 after shooting 69 in the second round. Ike Alexander has transferred from Troy to North Alabama to continue his college career.
Alexander said it would be nice to win on his home track.
“A few guys I play with out here came out to watch me," he said. "They play with me all the time. My family is out here. I worked for (Turtle Point professional) Les and (wife) Pam, so it would be fun to do it in front of all these people I know. It’s more fun than just working every day,”
It was a good day for UNA golfers. In addition to Rob Richards, who shot 68 and is at 139, Eli Hodges surged into contention at 140 with a 67. Brant Bishop shot 68 and is at 146 and Aaron Jackson (75) is at 148. Former Lions player Austin Sparks shot 67 and is at 144.
Nine players remain under par through 36 holes. Nine more are at even par 143.
The field will be cut to the low 60 and ties for the final two rounds. Tee times for the final two rounds begin at 7:30 a.m. each day.