Rada keeps his lead after 2nd round of South Carolina Open

Leader Patrick Rada watches his chip shot roll on No. 11 during Wednesday's second round of the 62nd Carolinas PGA South Carolina Open golf tournament on Belfair's West Course in Bluffton.
Leader Patrick Rada watches his chip shot roll on No. 11 during Wednesday's second round of the 62nd Carolinas PGA South Carolina Open golf tournament on Belfair's West Course in Bluffton. Jay Karr

Patrick Rada did not feel his game was ready and wasn't going to try and fool himself.

After graduating from South Carolina, where he played golf four years, he took a job as an assistant professional in Wilmington, N.C., working his way to earning the PGA of America's Class A status. He tinkered with professional golf, tried the mini tours in Florida during the winter and attempted Monday qualifying at PGA Tour stops in Greensboro and Charlotte.

But the former Class 4-A state champion at T.L. Hanna High School couldn't go deep enough to compete consistently. He committed to his employer, practices efficiently when time allows and plays tournament golf in Carolinas PGA events.

He hasn't ruled out trying tour life, if his game continues to improve, but wants baby steps. Performances like his first 36 holes this week at Belfair's West course might help.

Rada shot 2-under-par 70 on Wednesday to post 5-under 139 and leads the S.C. Open by a shot entering Thursday's final round.

"You've got to be competing and winning some section events before you can really feel confident about playing full time," said the 25-year-old. "This is a great jumpstart. I've had two great days. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Bluffton's John Patterson matched the low round of the tournament Wednesday, his 68 following an even-par 72 and landing him in today's final group. Patterson returned this past Saturday from a golf trip to Scotland with members at Chechessee Creek Club, where he works as marketing and sales director.

Scores were lower Wednesday as the wind dropped, and Patterson took advantage. He made five birdies, including a stretch of three consecutive starting on No. 8.

The former tour pro, who regained his amateur status in 2009, is using the S.C. Open as a primer for U.S. Amateur and Mid Amateur qualifying and the S.C. Amateur next week.

"It's fun to get back into the competitive arena again and get the juices flowing," said Patterson, who made it to the round of 16 at the 2012 U.S. Mid Am. "... I'm probably playing the best golf of my life right now."

Spencer Lawson, an Arizona State golfer from Davidson, N.C., also posted 4-under 140 after rounds of 70-70. Lawson won the N.C. Open in June.

Bluffton's Ben Dietrich played his final six holes 4 under and is four back.

The field was cut to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes, those 7-over and better surviving.

Rada played his first S.C. Open in 2012 at Fort Jackson in Columbia and finished top-five. He knows this area well, having competed in the Players Amateur two years at Belfair, in the Junior Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, a high school event at Long Cove Club and the S.C. Amateur at Berkeley Hall.

Now he plays for a little cash. He has earned $1,700 since the end of April, the biggest check for an eighth-place finish at the N.C. Open.

He will have a chance at another payday Thursday. The chance at bigger money will wait.

"There are so many good players out there," Rada said. "You have to be able to shoot 6, 7 under on any given day. You have to putt well and chip well. The traveling is definitely an issue. I wouldn't put it out of the question going forward. Right now, I'm very happy with where I am."

The 62nd South Carolina Open

Through Thursday, at Belfair Plantation's West Course (Par 72; 7,111 yards)

Format: 54-hole stroke play, reduced to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes.

Cost: Free and open to the public.


Wednesday, at Belfair Plantation's West Course, Bluffton; Par 72; 7,111 yards; (a-amateur)

Second Round

Patrick Rada 69-70--139

Spencer Lawson (a) 70-70--140

John Patterson (a) 72-68--140

Robert Register (a) 72-70--142

Greg Boyette 73-70--143

Ben Dietrich (a) 73-70--143

Al Dickens IV 72-71--143

Jeffrey Peck 74-69--143

Steve Larick 73-70--143

Aaron Black 70-73--143

Julian Bland 76-68--144

Rick Morton 75-69--144

J.D. Hoft (a) 74-70--144

Steve Isley 73-71--144

Mike Lawrence 74-71--145

Jeff Avant 74-71--145

Burke Cromer 72-73 --145

Adam Lescalleet 74-71--145

Matt Bova 75-70--145

Scott Hunter 74-71--145

Chris Haarlow 74-72--146

Mike Townsend 74-72--146

Thomas Lilly (a) 73-73--146

Matthew Yelverton (a) 76-70--146

Tim Straub 74-72--146

Tom Logue 74-73--147

Brock Elder (a) 78-69--147

Todd Eckstein (a) 77-70--147

Jeff Wong 76-71 --147

Preston Cole (a) 74-73--147

Luke McClellan 78-70--148

Brian Stewart 79-69--148

Reeves Zaytoun (a) 75-73--148

Charles Frost 78-70--148

David Rogers 78-70--148

Eerik Kauppinen 75-73--148

Ryan Tyndall 74-74--148

Paul Dickens 78-71--149

John Faidley 77-72--149

Jeff Hull 77-72--149

Cory Schneider 75-74--149

Hayden Ploeger (a) 74-75--149

Tee Opperman (a) 72-77--149

Robert Linville 77-72--149

Kirk Mitchell (a) 76-73--149

Chris Tucker 74-75--149

Billy Anderson 76-74--150

Kurtis Luedtke (a) 71-79 --150

Andrew Decker (a) 79-71--150

Eric Reeves 79-71--150

Nick Eberhardt (a) 77-73--150

Mark Tomedolskey 75--75--150

Zach Seabolt (a) 76-74--150

Brian Joyce 75-75--150

Andrew Bryce 78-73--151

Wilson Day (a) 77-74--151

Ray Franz 76-75--151

Barry Pierce 74-77--151

Kurt Thompson 73-78--151

Troy Beaver (a) 78-73--151

Chris Cox (a) 79-72--151

Trey Howell 79-72--151

Tee Times

No. 1

8 a.m.: Luke McClellan, Brian Stewart, Reeves Zaytoun (a)

8:09 a.m.: Todd Eckstein (a), Jeff Wong (a), Preston Cole (a)

8:18 a.m.: Tim Straub, Tom Logue, Brock Elder (a)

8:27 a.m.: Mike Townsend, Thomas Lilly (a), Matthew Yelverton (a)

8:36 a.m.: Matt Bova, Scott Hunter, Chris Haarlow

8:45 a.m.: Jeff Avant, Burke Cromer, Adam Lescalleet

8:54 a.m.: J.D. Hoft (a), Steve Isley, Mike Lawrence

9:03 a.m.: Aaron Black, Julian Bland, Rick Morton

9:12 a.m.: Al Dickens IV (a), Jeffrey Peck, Steve Larick

9:21 a.m.: Robert Register (a), Greg Boyette, Ben Dietrich (a)

9:30 a.m.: Patrick Rada, Spencer Lawson (a), John Patterson (a)

No. 10

8 a.m.: Charles Frost, David Rogers, Eerik Kauppinen

8:09 a.m.: Ryan Tyndall, Paul Dickens, John Faidley

8:18 a.m.: Jeff Hull, Cory Schneider, Hayden Ploeger (a)

8:27 a.m.: Tee Opperman (a), Robert Linville, Kirk Mitchell (a)

8:36 a.m.: Chris Tucker, Billy Anderson, Kurtis Luedtke (a)

8:45 a.m.: Andrew Decker (a), Eric Reeves, Nick Eberhardt (a)

8:54 a.m.: Mark Tomedolskey, Zach Seabolt (a), Brian Joyce

9:03 a.m.: Andrew Bryce, Wilson Day (a), Ray Franz

9:12 a.m.: Barry Pierce, Kurt Thompson, Troy Beaver (a)

9:21 a.m.: Chris Cox (a), Trey Howell