American Harmeling finds lead at BMW Classic

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Saturday, May 18, 2019

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ROSE HALL, St James — American Evan Harmeling has taken over the lead after yesterday's second round of the third BMW Jamaica Classic PGA LatinoAmerica event at Cinnamon Hill course, after firing back-to-back six under par rounds for a 12 under par 132 score at the halfway mark.

The 30-year-old former Princeton University student athlete has a one-shot lead over a trio of players — Jose Toledo of Guatemala, American Dawson Armstrong, and Argentina's Augusto Nunez — all on two-round scores of 11 under par 133.

There is another group of five players, including first-round leader Tom Whitney, who are a shot further back at 10 under par 134.

Meanwhile, the field was cut to 55 players after yesterday's round, with three under par 141 score being the cut-off mark. The race for the US$31,500 first prize is expected to raise a few notches over the next two rounds, starting this morning.

Italian Domenico Geminiani, who led the qualifiers on Monday, was among those who made the cut and will play the next two rounds, as well as American Mitchell Meissner.

Argentina's Jorge Fernandez-Valdez who is tied for 10th on nine under par 135, shot the low round of the tournament — nine under 63, including seven birdies and an eagle after his even par 72 on the first day.

Toledo and Armstrong both carded eight under par 64 scores, the next-best one-day score so far this week.

Harmeling, who shot seven birdies and a bogey on Thursday's first day, made amends yesterday with a bogey-free card and six birdies, four coming on the first six holes as he 'turned' the corner at four under par 31.

Toledo and Armstrong have almost identical cards so far as, after shooting three under 69 on the first day, both carded eight under 64 yesterday, while Nunez, who shot a six under par 66 on Thursday, had a five under 67 yesterday.

Toledo had seven birdies and an eagle on the par five 18th hole, but his card was marred by a bogey on the 14th hole, although he played the final three holes at four under par to finish the round strongly.

Armstrong carded eight birdies but had a bogey on the sixth hole he played yesterday.

Whitney, the Order of Merit leader who is seeking his third tournament victory this year, failed to match his first-day fireworks as he managed a three under par 69 yesterday.

He had two birdies on his first nine holes but had a set back with a bogey on the first hole of the second nine, and rallied to get two more birdies late in the day to stay within striking range of the leaders.

Canadian Stephen Thomas and American Hunter Hamrick, who shared the lead on Thursday, were not so lucky yesterday.

Thomas shot a one over par 73 yesterday and was tied for 22nd with a two-day score of six under par 138, while Hamrick, who played in the same group as Whitney, shot three over 75 and was tied at 36 with four under par 140.

Twenty-three-year-old American Chase Johnson, who was threatening the lead at nine under par following the first nine holes yesterday, after carding six under par 66 on Thursday, imploded on the back nine getting a triple bogey eight on the par five 11th hole and had two more bogies on the 15th and 17th holes.

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