Golf: Lyerly maintains lead in Eastern Amateur

Published 12:05 am Saturday, July 14, 2018

 Staff report

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Nick Lyerly is still in first place at the halfway point of the prestigious 62nd Eastern Amateur  tournament.

The East Rowan graduate, a rising sophomore at UNC Greensboro, shot 5-under 65 in Round 2  on Friday at Elizabeth Manor  Golf & Country Club in Portsmouth, Va., to stretch his advantage after the second round to four strokes.  Lyerly shot 63 on Thursday to charge to the front of a 161-golfer pack. The field was trimmed to 80 golfers after Round 2. The cutline fell at 4-over.

Lyerly has made 12 birdies, 24 pars and zero bogeys so far in the tournament. He hit 16 greens in regulation on Friday.

Lyerly started on No. 10 on Friday afternoon. He birdied No. 12 and No. 13. Then he knocked in a 35-foot putt for another birdie on the 18th. He’s birdied that 548-yard hole two straight days.

“It’s really not that difficult a hole if you have a good drive,” Lyerly said. “Both days I’ve been 30 to 40 yards short of the green after two shots.”

Lyerly, 19, made the turn in 32.

“But it could’ve been better,” Lyerly said. “I did make a few putts, but I also missed some, missed a few short ones for birdies early in the round.”

Lyerly, the Southern Conference champion as a freshman and the youngest North Carolina Amateur champion in history in 2016,  birded the No. 1 hole and the par-3 No. 8 hole to card a 33 on the front side.

Lyerly tees off at 12:20 p.m. today.

He’ll be in the last group of the day, playing with Appalachian State’s Tripp Summerlin and high school standout Michael Brennan (Leesburg, Va.). Brennan has fired back-to-back 66s and stands alone in second place at 8-under, four shots behind Lyerly. Summerlin is in third place at 7-under. He shot 65 on Friday. Virginia Commonwealth’s Alston Newsom surged to a 64 on Friday, the low round of the day, and is in fourth place at 6-under.