PGA Tour

RBC Heritage Notebook, 2nd Round: Alternate Christian feeling good about decision

mmccombs@islandpacket.comApril 13, 2012 

Gary Christian didn't leave his heart in San Francisco.

"I would say I definitely made a very wise decision," Christian said after his 3-under-par 68 in Friday's second round of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

That decision was whether to wait and see if he got in the Heritage -- he was third on the alternate list -- or take the long flight to San Francisco where he knew he had a spot waiting in the Nationwide Tour's TPC Stonebrae Championship.

Given the weather near San Francisco, where cold rain and fog had kept the Nationwide event from finishing its first round late Friday afternoon, and Ben Crane's withdrawal from the Heritage on Monday, Christian made the right choice. His 3-under total means he'll be playing the weekend at Harbour Town Golf Links.

"I probably hit it better yesterday," Christian said. "But I made it up and down around the green and probably holed a few putts better than I did yesterday. It was the same round as yesterday. It was just that I threw putts away yesterday and I didn't today."

Only a bogey on No. 9, his final hole, kept Christian from the top 10.

Like all golfers with limited status, Christian is used to the routine of deciding between playing a lesser event or waiting and hoping to play in a PGA Tour event.

"It's tough on you. It's all a gamble," Christian said. "Obviously, you'd rather play on the PGA Tour, where you're playing for a purse of $5 or $6 million, but being the first alternate standing on the tee at 3:30 on Thursday afternoon doesn't get you very far."

Christian, a former Auburn golfer from Carshalton, England, is playing Harbour Town for the first time and loves the course.

"It's great to have to have all facets of your game going," Christian said. "The person who wins this tournament won't have a weakness in their game this week. And that's the way golf should be."

And Christian has Crane to thank for his first trip to Hilton Head Island.

"I hope he's enjoying his week off."


The pressure was all on Charlie Wi.

Unfortunately, the Westlake Village, Calif., native wasn't able to come through for his group, which has landed a pair of aces over the first two days of the Heritage.

It started on Thursday, when Billy Mayfair aced the 202-yard par-3 seventh hole with a 5-iron. It continued on Friday, when Bob Estes aced the 183-yard par-3 seventh hole with a 6-iron.

"Obviously, when I made mine, it was Charlie's turn next, but he didn't get one," said Estes, who is tied for seventh thanks to a 4-under 67 Friday. "The back left pin on No. 7 where Billy made his, you're hardly ever going to see a hole-in-one there and he made it."

Estes said he couldn't recall ever being in a group where two golfers made a hole-in-one in a week.

"I don't think that happens very often," he said.

As for how Estes managed his ace? Just a simple coaxing of the ball seemed to do the trick.

"I told it to go in and it did," he said. "So it listened."


Six players with South Carolina ties were cut following Friday's round at the Heritage, including Clemson amateur Corbin Mills and former Bluffton resident Kris Blanks.

Mills and Blanks both finished at 146 (+3) along with Mt. Pleasant's D.J. Trahan, and Tommy Biershenk and William McGirt of Boiling Springs.

Greenville native Bill Haas was also cut after finishing 6 over.

Five golfers with Palmetto State ties made the cut, highlighted by Tommy Gainey at 2 under and Matt Bettencourt of Duncan, who is even at 142. Kyle Stanley (+1), Lucas Glover (+2) and Beaufort's Mark Anderson (+2) also made the cut.

Seventy-one golfers in all made the cut at 145, which featured 46 from Friday's morning wave and 25 from the afternoon wave.

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