Bettencourt, Hatchett tied for the lead
Appeal Sports Writer
DAYTON – Matt Bettencourt is no stranger to the PGA Tour qualifying process.
In six attempts, he’s made it to the second round twice, but never to the final round. He wants to change that, and after two rounds at Dayton Stage 1 Qualifer, he’s well on his way.
Bettencourt followed up his first-round 68 with a 6-under-par 66 and a share of the lead with Franklin Hatchett after 36 holes at Dayton Valley Golf & Country Club.
The top 26 finishers and ties advance to the second round. There are 78 players in the field.
Bettencourt was blown away by the conditions on Wednesday. Temperatures got into the low 70s, and there was no wind. Ideal conditions for the field to shoot low scores, and 46 of the 78 did just that.
“I like the course,” said Bettencourt, who was 13th in money winnings on the Canadian Tour and played four years on the Nationwide Tour. “It’s strange. I’ve never played this course in this type of condition. We lucked out this week.
“It’s a tough course. Every hole there is out of bounds or water. You have to hit it well and keep it in the fairway.”
Bettencourt did just, recording five birdies, an eagle and a bogey over the 7,218-yard layout.
Opening on the back nine, Bettencourt birdied the par-5 546-yard 11th. He went for the green in two and missed. He chipped to 15 feet and drained the birdie putt.
After pars from 12 through 15, Bettencourt gave that stroke back on 234-yard par-3 16th with a three-putt bogey. On the par-5 18th, he layed up and then hit a sand wedge to 15 feet and drained another birdie putt.
After a par at No. 1, Bettencourt reeled off a birdie, eagle and birdie in the next three holes to go 5-under-par.
A sand wedge on No. 2 led to a 2-foot birdie putt, a 7-iron to 4 feet led to his only eagle of the day. On the par-3 177-yard 4th, he hit an 8-iron to 3 feet and made the ensuing putt.
Bettencourt said he’s trying not to get too far ahead of himself.
“There is a lot of golf left,” he said. “I’m thinking one shot at a time. I don’t want to start getting ahead of myself. I’m hoping to continue that (thought process) through to the end. For me, it’s about being patient.
“I’m hitting the ball well and on line. My putting is a little suspect. I feel like I need to go work on my putting.”
Hatchett, who made it to the final round of Q School last year, had a bogey-free round and didn’t have a single three-putt on greens that were described as hard and lightning fast.
Hatchett quickly went to 2-under par with birdies on the 394-yard par-4 10th and the 546-yard par-5 11th. He sank putts of 7 and 12 feet, respectively.
Hatchett strung together nine straight pars before catching fire again.
The Texan birdied Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 with putts ranging from 3 to 35 feet. The 35-footer came on No. 5, a 425-yard par-4. He finished his round with three straight pars.
“I want to control the tempo of my swing,” Hatchett said. “I don’t want to get too far ahead. This is a good course and it rewards good sots.”
Hatchett hit several good approach shots during the course of the round, and that is critical at Dayton with the firmness of the greens.
“You have to be consistent in hitting the ball into the green,” Hatchett said
“You have to keep the ball below the hole because the greens are so fast.”
One shot back at 135 is Alex Prugh who also shot a 66 and South African Jake Roos, who shot 67. Five players are tied for fifth place at 8-under 136
Despite playing the last 13 holes without his putter, former Reno High and Nevada Wolf Pack player Carlos Concha of Reno, managed to shoot an even par 72 for a 150 total.
“I was trying to decide whether to chip or putt on my fifth hole, and as I leaned on the putter to check the line the shaft just snapped in half,” Concha said. “I putted with almost every club in the bag after that from my wedge to a four iron. I played well though and should have been several under even without my putter.”
Chris Trevino of Reno, another former Wolf Pack golfer shot a 2-over par 74 for a 146 total that puts him in a tie for 59th place.