Consecutive birdies on the final three holes gave the 24-year-old an opening round 6-under 66 and a tie for top spot with Nathan Green (Australia). American Kenneth Staton (Ormond Beach, Fla.) sits one shot back, while 2001 Order of Merit winner Aaron Barber (Orlando, Fla.) struggled to a 73 Friday and finds himself deadlocked for 25th.
With the starting field comprised of 30 of the top money-leaders from the 2001 season, Drewery knows he cannot afford to be conservative in Sundays final round of the 36-hole event.
Im just going to go out there, play the same way and see what happens, said the two-time Ontario Amateur Championship runner-up. If you go out there approach it like a match play event, there are too many good players that are going to creep up and pass you.
An eagle on the par-5 4th hole gave him some momentum, but is wasnt until the finishing holes that Drewery, who finished third at least months Aliant Cup in St. Johns, NF, began to get into a groove.
It was an up and down round all day, I just wasnt hitting it well. Ive been rolling the putts very well in the last little while, and it came through for me again today.
Green had a second place finish earlier this year at the Barefoot Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as another two on the Australasian Tour, but hasnt been overly pleased with the way his game has been coming around, either.
I have those three seconds earlier this year, I just havent been able to sneak in there for a win, he said after a round that featured an eagle on the final hole to go along with seven birdies and three eagles. But lately I havent been consistent with my ball striking, and it was the same today. Hopefully, it will come around this weekend, but it still needs work.
Staton, the 2001 MTS Classic champion, was in the clubhouse with his 67 long before Drewery and Green closed out their rounds. Despite bogeys on two of his first three holes, the 28-year-old settled down to reel off birdies on the 4th, 5th and 6th holes to stay within striking distance heading into Sunday.
Youre always going to make bogeys in this game, it just depends on when you get them, he maintained. I just had to bear down and focus. If I have a bad start and Im playing well, the bogeys dont bother me like they used to. If they have to come, Id rather get them out of the way early.
Full-field scores from the Niagra Classic