Bernie McGuire at Fairmont Resort, St. Andrews…
American Turk Pettit is looking to celebrate a first visit to the golf’s homeland with victory in the maiden St. Andrews Bay Championship at the St. Andrews Fairmont resort.
Pettit, 24, hit all but one green in regulation in producing a very impressive bogey-free eight-under-par 62 to move into a one-shot lead at 17-under on the host Torrance designed layout at the Fairmont Resort.
Pettit hails from Choudrant, Louisiana, and is now staring at creating golfing history in being the first player to win on the Asian Tour in Scotland.
“This is my first time coming to St. Andrews and it’s been pretty cool” he said.
“We’ve just been walking around the town, going out to eat at a few restaurants in St. Andrews and just soaking it all in. It’s pretty impressive admiring all the old castles, the buildings and the view from down on the beach and things like that.
“Of course, it was pretty special looking out of the Old Course and standing on the Swilcan Bridge.
“It would be special, man if I was to win tomorrow. It’s what you work so hard for but there are still 18 holes to play, so that’s a lot of golf to be played with some really good players behind me.
“So, a lot of golf left but as I said, man it would be so special to win tomorrow.”
Two years ago Pettit, as a then amateur, captured the NCAA individual golf title, becoming the 10th individual champion in ACC history and first Clements players since 2009, while earlier this year he captured the Colorado Open.
Just a shot behind Pettit is double PGA Tour winner Matt Jones – a member of the all-Aussie LIV Golf Crushers team – who was last in St. Andrews in 2015 when he shared 30th place at the Open Championship.
The Sydney-born Jones, who has long resided in the States, was a little sharky at the start of golf’s traditional ‘moving day,’ dropping shots at his second and third holes but regrouped superbly to birdie six of seven holes from six through 12.
The now 41-year-old Jones then birdied the 15th and the final hole for his score.
Like Pettit, Jones would also like to get his name on the gleaming trophy.
“I am very pleased with my round though I don’t think I’ve ever seen St. Andrews with weather this warm, and so calm and benign it’s been rather impressive,” he said.
“I had a 10-footer for eagle at the last, so that would be nicer but it was a good day and hopefully more of that tomorrow.
“Of course, winning any golf tournament is tough but winning here would be special. If I had the chance to win it would be amazing but in saying that we have 18 holes to go and I will see what we can do.
“The good part of my game is that I am just managing it and while it’s not as sharp as I like, I am just managing it and getting by”.
Three players – India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar (65), Chilean Mito Pereira (67) and South African Jaco Ahiers (68) share third place at 15-under.
Overnight second round leader David Puig slipped back into ninth place with the Spaniard losing two balls in a round of 73 to be back on 13-under.