GREENVILLE, South Carolina – Norwegian Kristoffer Ventura birdied five of his final six holes at The Cliffs Valley to take a one-stroke lead during a rain-shortened second round at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation. Ventura carded a 10-under 62 on Friday, the low round of the tournament so far, to reach 14-under at the 36-hole mark.
More than half of the field was unable to finish their second round due to rain delays totaling more than six hours. The second round will resume on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. at both Thornblade Club and The Cliffs Valley. The third and final rounds will be hosted at Thornblade Club over the weekend.
“I think I woke up at 6:00 a.m. today,” said Ventura, who finished his round after 8 p.m. “With the delays, and the 40-minute drive up here, it was tough on the body, but it’s the same for everyone. You just have to stay positive. I didn’t think we were going to play today and obviously we got great conditions and I took advantage of it, which was fun.”
Ventura is making just his third career start on the Web.com Tour and second of the season. The former Oklahoma State University star missed the cut in both starts. He mentioned seeing coach Claude Harmon a few weeks ago as a catalyst for his game.
“Nothing really stands out about my game, but I have made a bunch of putts, that’s for sure,” said Ventura. “You don’t shoot 14-under [over two days] without making some putts. Just everything has been solid, including my ball-striking. I went to see Claude Harmon a couple of weeks ago and things have been clicking lately.”
The 24-year-old scattered five birdies across his first nine holes to turn at 5-under 36 before tallying five birdies in a row from Nos. 13-17 to reach 10-under for the day. He is the third player this season to shoot 10-under or better in a round.
“Obviously today was a really good day, ball-striking wise and putting-wise,” said Ventura. “Everything kind of clicked. I’m just excited because it is nice to see the hard work pay off. I’ve only played two tournaments, with this one. My goal is just to play more tournaments. I’ve been doing a bunch of the Mondays and it has been tough, but I’m really happy to be here.”
Rhein Gibson sits one back at 13-under. The Australian is seeking his fourth top-10 of the year after a T4 finish last week at the REX Hospital Open.
* Friday’s weather: Heavy showers through the morning, isolated showers through the afternoon. High of 79. Winds E/SE at 6-12 miles per hour. Weather delays accounted for more than six hours with an extra delay ending play at the end of the evening. Play was suspended for the day with inclement weather approaching at 8:01 p.m. at Thornblade Club and 8:14 p.m. at The Cliffs Valley. The second round will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.
* The BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation is one of the more unique events on the Web.com Tour’s schedule. It is hosted on two courses, Thornblade Club and The Cliffs Valley, and pairs a pro with an amateur for the first 36 holes. After 36 holes, a cut is made to the top-65 professionals (and ties), the top-10 amateurs and the top-six celebrities.
* Notable celebrities in the field include 11-time Pro Bowler Brett Favre, Larry the Cable Guy, Ivan Rodriguez, Ozzie Smith, Willie Robertson, Lucas Black, Patrick Peterson and Brian Baumgartner.
* With most of the golf world talking about amateur Alex Ross shooting a 15-under 57 this week, Rhein Gibson’s name has been brought back up. Gibson holds the record (recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records) with a 16-under 55 as the lowest official round of golf ever recorded. Gibson accomplished the feat in 2012 at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmund, Oklahoma.
* Jonathan Randolph birdied five of his last six holes at Thornblade Club to reach 11-under and sit third.
* Vince Covello, Matt Harmon and Ben Martin co-led after the first round. Martin, a Greensville native, carded a 2-under 70 at The Cliffs Valley on Friday to reach 10-under (T4). Covello and Harmon began their rounds late in the day, with Covello getting through four holes 1-over on the day. Harmon, one of three players remaining in the field without a bogey, was on his first hole when play was suspended.
* Greenville resident Kyle Thompson (T123, -1) played his final round on the Web.com Tour before retirement on Friday, carding an even-par 71. He retires at the same event he began his professional career 22 years ago. He birdied three of his final four holes to reach red numbers for the tournament.
* Davis Riley (-8, T14) carded a 6-under 66 at The Cliffs Valley to jump into contention. Riley is looking to earn special temporary membership through a 19th-place finish or better, passing the threshold of the No. 100 player on the money list from 2018. Despite having no status this year, Riley has Monday qualified into four events (earning medalist honors in three).
* This week’s purse is $700,000, with $126,000 going to the winner. The champion will also earn 500 points in the Web.com Tour points system.
* Forty-nine former Web.com Tour champions are competing in the field, amounting to 75 victories, as well as seven PGA TOUR champions (equaling 10 victories).
* The par-3 17th hole (217 yards) ranked as the toughest hole on Friday at Thornblade Club with an average of 3.150. The par-4 10th hole (435 yards) ranked as the toughest hole at The Cliffs Valley with an average of 4.246.
* The par-5 fifth hole (531 yards) ranked as the easiest hole on Friday at Thornblade Club with an average of 4.273. The par-5 17th hole (534 yards) ranked as the easiest hole at The Cliffs Valley with an average of 4.333.
* Thornblade Club Scoring Averages:
Front (35) Back (36) Total (71) Cumulative
R1 33.863 35.968 69.830
R2 32.964 34.475 67.475 68.657
* The Cliffs Valley Scoring Averages:
Front (36) Back (36) Total (72) Cumulative
R1 34.798 34.948 69.746
R2 34.509 34.673 69.182 69.466