The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 14, 2014

Jude jumps into the lead at BNI Memorial

Marshall golfer fires 2-under 70 at Brier Patch for 2-stroke edge at 141

Marshall University golf has had a run of individual talent in recent years. Some of those have left an impression on the annual Beckley Newspapers Golf Tournament.

This year is no different.

Davey Jude distanced himself from most of the pack Sunday at the 34th BNI Memorial Tournament, sponsored by First Community Bank. His 2-under-par 70 at The Brier Patch Golf Links gave him the lead heading into today’s final round.

Jude, who will be a redshirt sophomore for the Thundering Herd next month, followed his opening 71 at Grandview Country Club with an impressive second round at Brier Patch.

It isn’t a runaway — Summersville native Brandon Waters shot a 71 at Grandview on Sunday and is only two strokes off the lead. But Jude placed himself in good position for today’s final round on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs, a course with which he is quite familiar.

“I hit the ball really good,” said Jude, a Kermit native and graduate of Tug Valley High. “I couldn’t get it going (early). I just tried to be patient and make some birdies and ended up 2-under on the front side.”

He got to 3-under on the back before facing really his only trouble spot on the par-5 16th.

“I had a 9-iron ... it was 170 yards fluid downwind, and ended up making bogey because I hit it in the hazard,” Jude said.

He was even on the par-3 17th, then shaved a stroke by taming the course’s famed Beast — the 642-yard No. 18. He birdied the signature hole, complete with its island green, to gain momentum going into today.

“After the previous two (holes) I was kind of upset,” said Jude, who also had an eagle on No. 9. “I was hoping to get a birdie to get it back down on 18.”

Brandon Reece’s win last year broke a string of four consecutive BNIs won by Marshall golfers. Christian Brand won three straight from 2009-11 and Bosten Miller was the 2012 champion.

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Play at Grandview Country Club would be best described as survival of the fittest.

Grandview Country Club does provide ample space to at times forgive errant shots, but it also provides a lot of wind that makes the course very hard to play.

On Sunday, the wind wreaked havoc on shots and scores for the guys looking to score low after playing The Brier Patch Golf Links on Saturday.

The wind also caused the greens to be more dry and firm which made putting an adventure at times.

One player to take advantage of the opportunity by posting a solid round was Brandon Waters, making his third BNI appearance. Waters, who shot 72 Saturday at Brier Patch and was tied for third place entering the day, fired a 1-under par 71 on Sunday to move into second place, two shots back of Jude.

“It was tough today,” Waters said. “I didn’t make many putts, but I hit a lot of greens and had a lot of five- and six-footers.”

Waters, who will be playing in the final group for the second year in a row, shot a 2-under 34 on the front nine, which included three birdies.

First round co-leader Mike Mays, a veteran of many rounds at Grandview, struggled to a 76 even though he hit the ball well all day.

“It was just one of those days where I hit the ball decent; I just couldn’t score,” Mays said. “It was a little tougher today with the wind, and I missed a few greens, put myself in some bad positions and didn’t make the putts.”

The low round of the day at Grandview belonged to Tim Boggs, who shot a 2-under 70 and was the only other golfer with Waters to go under par.

Boggs started the tournament Saturday with an uncharacteristic 45 on the front nine at Brier Patch before responding with three straight birdies on the back side to finish at 78. The round put him back in contention with a two-day 148.

“I played pretty good today,” Boggs said. “Nothing spectacular. Just a solid round.”

The only hiccup on the day for Boggs was a double-bogey on No. 11, but he balanced that out with birdies on Nos. 4, 8, 10 and 14.

After the tough start, Boggs has now played his last 27 holes at 5-under par.

Drew Green, another former member of the Shady Spring High School golf program, also made a move up the leaderboard with an even-par 72 to put him in a tie for third place.

Greg Midkiff and J.R. Fox are also in the hunt after each shooting 74 for a two-day total of 146 and 148, respectively.

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Behind Jude and Waters, five people are tied with a two-day 146 — Mays, Green, Reece, Midkiff and Ed McCall.

Reece, the defending champ and three-time winner, rebounded from Saturday’s 2-over 74 with an even-par 72 at Brier Patch.

Winston Canada, who was one back of the lead Sunday morning, was unhappy with his 5-over 77 at Brier Patch. He has a two-day total of 148.

“Three bad holes is what happened,” said Canada, who played in the same group as Jude. “It just wasn’t good.

“It’s all right, though. I’ll just have to come out and shoot a 63 (today),” he deadpanned.

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Weather could play a factor in today’s final round. Forecasts call for a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms.

According to tournament rules, it “will not be extended into a fourth day. If nine or more holes, but fewer than 18, are completed and play is suspended and can’t resume, 45-hole scores will be used to determine the order of finish in any and all flights. If fewer than nine holes are completed, it will revert back to 36 holes.

“In the event two or more players are tied for the overall lead, either at 36, 45 or 54 holes and inclement weather and/or darkness prevents a playoff from being held that day, the tied players will meet with tournament officials in an attempt to arrive at a time and date for a playoff. If such a time and date cannot be agreed upon by the tied players, co-champions will be declared and prizes will be divided accordingly.”

No BNI has ever been cut short because of weather.

— Register-Herald assistant sports editor Gary Fauber and sports clerk Rusty Udy contributed to this story.

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