Bailes leading Southern Amateur Championship
Owns one-stroke lead through two roundsJuly 20, 2006 · MT Media Relations
Bailes, who hails from Cleveland, Tenn., has a two-round total of 6-under-par 136 and carries a one-stroke lead over Clemson's Kyle Stanley heading into Friday's third round. He put himself in solid position by firing a career-best 66, 5-under-par on the demanding course in the first round and followed that up with a 1-under 70 in the second.
"I've putted pretty well and I've hit my wedges well and that has led to good scoring for me," Bailes said. "I had several shots from inside 10 feet and I was able to convert most of those short ones. I have made a high percentage and that's pleasing."
Middle Tennessee golf coach Johnny Moore said Bailes has put himself in solid position among some good company in relation to the loaded tournament field.
"That's a very difficult course and there's a lot of history to it," Moore said. "This tournament is arguably the second best amateur field in the United States, outside of the U.S. Amateur. This field includes All-Americans and 10 states throughout the Southeast region, which is generally considered the toughest region so what Nick has done is outstanding. I feel great about his play. You don't play that well against this field and not carry something positive away from it. This has to be a great confidence builder for (Bailes)."
Consistency has been a strong part of Bailes' game through the first two rounds. Of the 36 holes played, he has 10 birdies, 22 pars and four bogeys.
Bailes actually started his first round Wednesday but rain delayed the match after he had completed 10 holes. Bailes completed the remaining eight holes of his first round Thursday morning before immediately starting his second round. The long day in the grueling heat didn't have an impact on the driven Bailes.
He shot par or better on eight of the first nine holes and finished the round by shooting 1-under. Although he leads the field with two rounds remaining, Bailes said he isn't looking ahead.
"As far as the field goes, I knew it was going to be real good coming in and it has been," Bailes said. "I'm taking it one shot at a time and trying not to get ahead of myself. I would like to just stick with my plan. I have looked at the leader board but, to be honest, it's not something I'm dwelling over right now."
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