Cannon leads in rain-delayed second round at LECOM Health Challenge at Findley Lake, play resumes today
Up against the weather
Special to The OBSERVER
FINDLEY LAKE — Will Cannon leads by one stroke during the second round of the LECOM Health Challenge, as play was suspended for the day due to inclement weather on Friday. Cannon is 12-under through 16 holes of his second round, one stroke ahead of Will Zalatoris (through 15 holes).
Play was suspended at 2:06 p.m. before thunderstorms entered the region. Flash flood warnings from the National Weather Service caused competition to be cancelled for the remainder of the afternoon.
Cannon holed out for eagle on his first hole of the day, the par-4 10th, and added two birdies on the next two holes to ascend the leaderboard. The 25-year-old made the turn at 6-under 30 and added six pars and a birdie on his front nine to reach 7-under on the day before play was suspended. The University of Alabama-Birmingham alum has one career top-25 finish in 13 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour. He missed the first seven cuts of his career before making four out of his last six.
Zalatoris, a former star at Wake Forest University, began the second round at 7-under and tallied five birdies and a bogey to reach 11-under for the tournament. The 22-year-old was on No. 16 when play was suspended. Like Cannon, Zalatoris also had an eagle hole out, his coming at the sixth hole during the first round.
Four players finished their second rounds at 10-under for the tournament, holding a share of the clubhouse lead. The bunch is highlighted by Robby Shelton, a former All-American at the University of Alabama who has broken out in his sophomore campaign. Shelton currently sits second in The 25 and is in position to achieve the rare “Battlefield Promotion” to the PGA TOUR with a third win on Tour this season. A player who wins three times in one season on the Korn Ferry Tour earns immediate promotion.
“The three-win promotion would be amazing, to get a few more starts on TOUR this year a little early,” said Shelton. “I’d love to play in the John Deere Classic next week; I think anyone would. But I’m just super excited about the year and how my game has turned around. The putter has been pretty good to me lately. Everything is in good shape right now.”
Other players tied at 10-under include Kevin Lucas, Jimmy Gunn and Dawie van der Walt. Lucas drove the par-4, 345-yard 12th hole before sinking an eagle putt. The hole has relinquished six eagles over the first two days.
The second round will continue this morning, beginning at 7 a.m.
Friday’s weather: Afternoon thunderstorms with a high of 87. Wind W/SW at 7-14 mph. Second-round tee times were delayed 50 minutes as the first round was completed on Friday morning.
First-round leader Matthew Campbell (-8) did not tee off in his second round. He is scheduled to tee off at 7:21 a.m. this morning.
After struggling to a 2-over 74 in the first round, Oscar Fraustro (T17) tied the course record with a 9-under 63 on Friday to jump inside the cutline. Fraustro becomes the third player in the tournament’s history to shoot 63, joining Kyle Jones (2018) and eventual champion Rick Lamb (2016). Jordan Niebrugge (T17) also rebounded from a sluggish opening round (73) to card an 8-under 64 on Friday.
Defending champion Nelson Ledesma opened with a 5-under 67 and went 1-under through three holes in his second round before play was suspended. Ledesma is looking to become the first player in the Korn Ferry Tour’s 30-year history to successfully defend his title. Five players have finished T2 or better while attempting to defend their title, most recently Lanto Griffin at the 2018 Nashville Golf Open (T2).
With a win, Robby Shelton would become the 12th player in Korn Ferry Tour history to earn the “Battlefield Promotion,” immediately advancing him to the PGA TOUR after three wins in one season on the Korn Ferry Tour. The last player to earn the promotion was Wesley Bryan in 2016.
This week’s purse is $600,000, with $108,000 going to the champion. The winner will also receive 500 Korn Ferry Tour points.
48 Korn Ferry Tour winners are in the field this week, with a combined 67 victories between them.
The par-4 14th hole (439 yards) ranked as the toughest hole on the course on Friday with a scoring average of 4.276.
The par-5 11th hole (523 yards) ranked as the easiest hole on Friday. The hole played to an average of 4.376.