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Hammes, Rathbun Leading with McDonald, Ritter One Back at USADGC

“You should be writing about the minorities here,” said 26 year old Mike Conlee #41267 after his round with a smile. “Us old guys,” he said, referring to the fact that he is one of the few in the top 15 that isn’t a teenager. Going into the final round, in a similar fashion to last year’s USADGC, the lead card consists of a 15 year old, two 17 year olds, and one 18 year old.

Despite windier conditions and occasional light rain, Round 2 scores were similar to the perfect condition scores saw by Round 1. The players seem to have quickly found their grooves, sticking to the game plan of playing safe and staying on the fairway, avoiding the brutal "rough" of the Toboggan

Round 2’s lead card consisted of Adam Hammes #57365, Gavin Rathbun #60436, Brandon Oleskie #84911, and Logan Ritter #44974. Of those four, only one will be replaced for the final round this afternoon on the Toboggan. 15 year old Izak McDonald #49631, who took second place at both the 2015 USADGC and the 2015 Am Worlds as a 14 year old, shredded the Toboggan, shooting the weekend’s best score of 54 (-8), unofficially rated at 1021.

“I’m gonna shoot a 49 today,” said a very confident Izak before the round began. 13 holes later, he was on pace for his prediction, sitting at eight under par with six holes to go. He carded another birdie on Hole 15, but his prediction was shut down by pars on 16 and 17, and a bogey to finish. The energetic young man was clearly disappointed in his finish, but he’ll have a shot at redemption for the final round. Izak will be teeing off with the lead card this afternoon, tied in 3rd place with Logan Ritter, just one stroke off the lead.

Gavin Rathbun smashes a driver down the toboggan run of Hole 3.

Hammes and Rathbun are tied at the top of the leaderboard just as they were after Round 1. Their status as the leaders was in danger during the front nine, but their performances on the back nine were strong enough to fend off the rest of the field.

Logan Ritter sealed his lead card spot on the 18th hole, nailing a 100 foot birdie putt from a knee after his anhyzer drive turned over early, leaving him on the edge of the fairway with low-hanging branches above his lie.

“I was watching live scores on my phone and I saw that if I didn’t birdie the hole, I’d be tied with DJ [Baldwin],” said Logan. “DJ’s PDGA number is lower than mine, and I knew if we tied I would lose my spot on the lead card.” With branches in his face, Logan launched his putter up the hill and hit chains dead center.

The leaders tee off this afternoon at 12:50pm EDT on an already soaking wet Toboggan. Rain fell through the night and it continues this morning, including a lightning delay around 10am. Hole-by-hole scores are up and running on as usual. Assuming the rain holds off, we’ll be out tweeting pictures and videos of the action via @pdgalive on Twitter.

Pictures from Rounds 1 and 2 are available for viewing and/or download on the PDGA Flickr page. Good luck to all the competitors for the final round. We’ll see you on the Toboggan!