Utley Nabs Top Spot

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FINDLEY LAKE, N.Y. -- Stan Utley posted a 6-under 66 on Friday to take the lead at the halfway point of the Lake Erie Charity Classic at Peek'n Peak Resort. He stands at 10-under-par 134 and owns a one-shot lead over Vaughn Taylor, Eduardo Herrera and Scott Sterling.
 
Guy Boros (67), Bob Heintz (70), Gary Hallberg (70), Stiles Mitchell (69), Bubba Watson (70), Todd Demsey (67) and Shane Bertsch (69) share fifth place at 8-under-par 136.
 
Utley began on the second nine Friday and birdied the par-4 12th hole. He added a birdie at the par-5 17th to make the turn at 2-under-par 34 but his best golf would come on his second nine.
 
He birdied three holes in a row, starting at the first, then birdied No. 8 to get one clear of the field.
 
'I do like being in the lead but it's awfully early to be worrying about that,' said Utley, whose last win on the Nationwide Tour came at the 1995 Louisiana Open. 'It's just nice to hit good shots and make a putt or two and feel good about your game.'
 
Utley's game this week has been fairways and greens. On Friday, he hit 11 out of 14 fairways and 16 greens in regulation.
 
'I'm driving it right in the fairway,' said Utley, who is ranked second in the tour in driving accuracy but 138th out of 140 in driving distance. 'I'm about as short a hitter as there is out here and the fact that we're playing it 'up' makes scoring conducive if you're in the fairway.'
 
Play is being contested under lift, clean and place as rain has pounded the Peek'n Peak Resort throughout the spring.
 
Taylor, a Monday qualifier who has three top-10s in three starts, birdied five holes on the back nine for his round of 67.
 
Herrera opened on the back nine Friday but only tallied one birdie in that stretch. He collected three more birdies in his first five holes on his second nine but closed with two bogeys in his last three holes for a 2-under-par 70.
 
Sterling also started on the back nine and traded one birdie and one bogey in his first nine. He birdied four in a row from the first and added another at nine to shoot a second-round 67.
 
Michael Allen, the first-round leader struggled to a 2-over 74 and is part of a group tied for 17th at 6-under-par 138.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-under-par 142 and 68 players made it to the weekend.
 
Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Lake Erie Charity Classic
  • Full coverage of the Lake Erie Charity Classic