Beaufort News

Clemson's Mills still holding lead at Players Amateur

It was starting to look easy for Clemson golfer Corbin Mills, who was cruising around Belfair Golf Club's West Course on Friday, poised to pull away from the field in the 12th annual Players Amateur.

Then the game reminded Mills that it isn't supposed to be so easy.

A pair of tough breaks led to bogeys on the final two holes, leaving Mills at 8-under-par 136 and with a one-shot lead over Australian Kalem Richardson -- but also leaving him wondering what might have been.

He narrowly missed a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 17, only to watch his ball slide down the hill and off the green, leading to his first bogey on the back nine after five birdies on that side. Then he hit what he thought was a perfect approach shot at No. 18, but it bounded off the back of the green and left a tough pitch that led to another bogey.

"I feel like I'm playing good," Mills said. "I'm hitting shots where I want to, hitting putts where I want to. The last two holes doesn't really do it justice, but I played solid today."

The minor hiccup at the end of the round kept things crowded at the top of the leaderboard, with Richardson one shot back, Kramer Hickok and Eric Chun two shots behind, and Max Homa and Jordan Russell three back.

Richardson, the only player other than Mills with two rounds in the 60s, also bogeyed the last hole, or else there would have been a tie at the top. The 23-year-old Australian started with four birdies in his first seven holes and made two more on the back nine to play his way into the final group today.

"My game's feeling probably the best it has in a long time," Richardson said. "I really feel like I've found my swing in the last few days, and I'm holing some putts, so put it all together and let's see how it goes this weekend."

Mills would like to duplicate Richardson's hot start. He has played the back nine in 4 under each of the first two rounds but is only even par on the front nine.

"If I can get it going early, I have a lot of confidence on the back nine," Mills said. "I really like the two par-5s back to back, so I think if I can get it going early I can finish off a really good round out here."

That has to be a scary thought for the rest of the field, because Mills is already one of the hottest players in the amateur ranks. He is coming off a U.S. Amateur Public Links title last week in Bandon, Ore., where he was the stroke play medalist before winning six matches.

He is playing the best golf of his life, but the only question might be his stamina. He played nine rounds in six days in Oregon, then traveled across the country to get here after wrapping up the match play title Saturday.

With the adrenaline of seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard at one of his state's top amateur events, though, Mills doesn't think his energy level will be a concern.

"My legs are getting a little tired, but I'm still having a blast with it," Mills said. "I'm still just riding the wave. We'll see how the next two days go."

Players Amateur Scores

Friday, at Belfair Golf Club, West Course; Par: 72; Yardage: 7,080

Second Round

Corbin Mills 67-69--136

Kalem Richardson 68-69--137

Kramer Hickok 70-68--138

Eric Chun 68-70--138

Max Homa 69-70--139

Jordan Russell 71-68--139

James White 71-69--140

Todd Sinnott 69-71--140

Byeong-Hun An 73-68--141

Brooks Koepka 72-69--141

Cameron Smith 69-72--141

Patrick Rodgers 72-69--141

Ben Campbell 76-66--142

Andrew Yun 73-69--142

Jeffrey Kang 71-71--142

Bank Vongvanij 70-72--142

Crawford Reeves 73-69--142

Matt Nagy 70-72--142

Brant Peaper 71-71--142

Julio Vegas 74-69--143

Ryan McCarthy 71-72--143

Curtis Thompson 71-72--143

Conrad Shindler 71-72--143

Bo Andrews 70-73--143

Austin Reeves 71-72--143

Michael McGowan 73-71--144

Michael Hebert 73-71--144

Justin Thomas 74-70--144

John Peterson 69-75--144

Hunter Hamrick 69-75--144

Cameron Peck 74-71--145

Matthew Stieger 70-75--145

Max Scodro 73-72--145

Trey DelGreco 69-76--145

Blayne Barber 71-74--145

Jack Fields 73-72--145

Cody Proveaux 75-70--145

Anthony Paolucci 73-72--145

Richy Werenski 74-71--145

Brett Drewitt 74-71--145

T.J. Mitchell 75-70--145

Ethan Tracy 72-74--146

Nathan Holman 71-75--146

Wesley Bryan 73-73--146

Chase Parker 78-69--147

Dominic Bozzelli 72-75--147

Matthew Nesmith 70-77--147

Chris Lane II 71-77--148

Harold Varner 75-73--148

Jon Pannone 74-75--149

Brinson Paolini 74-75--149

David Erdy 75-74--149

Tommy Mou 74-75--149

Michael Cromie 71-78--149

Todd White 71-79--150

Brett Patterson 75-75--150

Tim Hart 74-77--151

Tarquin Macmanus 82-69--151

Conrad Ray 74-77--151

Drew Ernst 78-73--151

Drew Czuchry 76-76--152

Scott Strohmeyer 74-78--152

Cory Whitsett 75-77--152

Patrick Grimes 79-73--152

Coley Davis 75-77--152

Brad Gehl 78-75--153

Michael Johnson 83-71--154

Tucker Wadkins 79-77--156

Franklin Dolan 79-79--158

John Voetsch 78-80--158

Morgan Hill 82-77--159

Derek Chang 83-77--160

Case Cochran 75-87--162

James Rim 77-85--162

Rick LaRose 84-80--164

Tee Times

Tee times for today's third round of the Players Amateur at Belfair Golf Club's West Course.

7:00 a.m.: Rick LaRose

7:10 a.m.: James Rim, Case Cochran

7:20 a.m.: Morgan Hill, Derek Chang

7:30 a.m.: John Voetsch, Franklin Dolan

7:40 a.m.: Michael Johnson, Tucker Wadkins

7:50 a.m.: Coley Davis, Brad Gehl

8:00 a.m.: Cory Whitsett, Patrick Grimes

8:10 a.m.: Drew Czuchry, Scott Strohmeyer

8:20 a.m.: Tarquin Macmanus, Drew Ernst

8:30 a.m.: Conrad Ray, Tim Hart

8:40 a.m.: Todd White, Brett Patterson

8:50 a.m.: Tommy Mou, Michael Cromie

9:00 a.m.: Jon Pannone, Brinson Paolini

9:10 a.m.: Harold Varner, David Erdy

9:20 a.m.: Matthew Nesmith, Chris Lane II

9:30 a.m.: Chase Parker, Dominic Bozzelli

9:40 a.m.: Nathan Holman, Wesley Bryan

9:50 a.m.: T.J. Mitchell, Ethan Tracy

10:00 a.m.: Richy Werenski, Brett Drewitt

10:10 a.m.: Cody Proveaux, Jack Fields

10:20 a.m.: Anthony Paolucci, Max Scodro

10:30 a.m.: Matthew Stieger, Cameron Peck

10:40 a.m.: Trey DelGreco, Blayne Barber

10:50 a.m.: John Peterson, Hunter Hamrick

11:00 a.m.: Michael McGowan, Justin Thomas

11:10 a.m.: Ryan McCarthy, Michael Hebert

11:20 a.m.: Austin Reeves, Julio Vegas

11:30 a.m.: Conrad Shindler, Bo Andrews

11:40 a.m.: Matt Nagy, Curtis Thompson

11:50 a.m.: Bank Vongvanij, Crawford Reeves

Noon: Andrew Yun, Brant Peaper

12:10 p.m.: Jeffrey Kang, Ben Campbell

12:20 p.m.: Cameron Smith, Patrick Rodgers

12:30 p.m.: Brooks Koepka, Byeong-Hun An

12:40 p.m.: James White, Todd Sinnott

12:50 p.m.: Max Homa, Jordan Russell

1:00 p.m.: Eric Chun, Kramer Hickok

1:10 p.m.: Corbin Mills, Kalem Richardson