Puetz, Berliner lead PGA Assistant Championship
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Timothy Puetz shot a 1-under 71 in windy conditions Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Scott Berliner in the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship.
Puetz, a PGA assistant professional at Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack, N.Y., matched Berliner at 6-under 138 on PGA Golf Club's Wanamaker Course. Berliner, a PGA assistant pro at Normanside Country Club in Delmar, N.Y., had a 72.
The tournament winner will receive a spot in the PGA Professional National Championship in June, and the top 10 finishers and ties will get berths into the first stage of the 2012 PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
"I felt I played as good today as I did yesterday," said Puetz, who opened with a 67. "It was just that much tougher out there with the wind. It really started to pick up and you really had to fight the ball."
He's making his first start in the event.
"I am excited to be where I am," Puetz said. "I always kind of knew I could be in this spot, I was just waiting for it to happen.
Berliner, the first-round leader after a 66, had a double bogey on No, 18.
"The left to right wind made me uncomfortable all day off the tee and it really showed on 18," Berliner said. "I survived and fought pretty hard today, I think, under these conditions. ... I leaned on my putter pretty good all day. I made some good par saves on the front, birdied 11 and 12 and just hung on from there."
Aaron Clark, Tyler Hitchcock and Anthony Casalino were a stroke back.
Clark, a PGA apprentice at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Mo., followed his opening 72 with a 67.
"I hit it better, putted better and the swing is coming around finally," said Clark. "The swing was lost yesterday and I found it today."
Casalino of Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., had a 69, and Hitchcock of Walt Disney World Golf in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., shot a 70.
Casalino made a 40-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole.
"I made four putts of more than 30 feet today and that 40-footer really helped near the end of the round," Casalino said. "I have been putting great and that's really what has been holding me together so far this week. I came here wanting to make the cut, but now I am looking to be around the lead on Sunday."
Defending champion Frank Bensel of Century Country Club in Purchase N.Y., was 1 over after a 73.
Stephany Fleet, a PGA apprentice at Muskegon (Mich.) Country Club, missed the cut after her second straight 76. She was the only female player in the field.