The rising South Alabama sophomore was one stroke behind after the first round, but he rallied to take the top spot by a stroke after a 4-under 68 — a tournament-low score through the first two rounds — and a two-day total of 138.
Garretson was one of the golfers who managed to complete their round Friday as those who teed off during the afternoon session at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek were the ones most affected by the weather delays.
Sixty-four golfers were on the course when lightning halted play a little more than an hour after the final group teed off at 2:25 p.m. Although the tournament resumed one hour later, play was suspended for the second time at 5:06, and steady rainfall poured into the area for nearly an hour, soaking the course.
After an hour-and-a-half delay, tournament officials ultimately determined the course to be unplayable and elected to resume the second round today at 7:30 a.m. Weather permitting, the third round is expected to start at noon, with the field cut to the top 70 and ties, as well as those within 10 shots of the leader.
Garretson bogeyed only one hole during his second round, and he birdied each of the four par-5s on the 7,104-yard, par-72 layout.
Starting on the back nine, he logged four birdies over his first 13 holes to move to 6 under, but he lost a stroke with a bogey on the par-3 No. 5. Garretson finished his round with a birdie at No. 9 to move back to 6 under, and leads 2010 champion Lee Knox by one stroke and Savannah’s Scott Weeks by two.
“It’s unbelievable,” Garretson said about his lead, which comes two weeks after missing the cut at the Dogwood Invitational. “To be leading this week, after what happened at the Dogwood, is just unbelievable. I played well in the qualifying (at the Dogwood), but not well in the tournament.
“After that, I needed to figure out some things about my game, and it’s paying off. It’s weird to think that I’m in the lead right now.”
Garretson credited his strong play to improved shot selection and more consistency with his putter than he had in his first round.
“I did the same exact thing (in the second round), but when I used my 3-wood and my driver, I kept (the ball) in play better,” he said. “I putted well again and only had one bad hole on No. 5. Even then, I hit it into the water and had to take a drop and still salvaged a decent bogey. It could have been worse.”
Patrick Garrett, another former Harrison golfer and a rising senior at Georgia College and State University, was one of the players who finished their round with a 74 on Friday, and he sits tied for 20th at 145 with Pinetree Country Club member Mark Strickland.
Kennesaw’s Christian Raynor and Chris Hall and Marietta’s Jeff Belk also completed their rounds. Raynor shot his second-straight 74 and is tied for 47th, while Belk (76) and Hall (77) are another stroke back, as is Kennesaw State’s Austin Vick (71).
Vick’s college teammate, Jonathan Klotz, is 6 over after a 73, but Jimmy Beck is the one leading the Owls’ three-man contingent at Settindown Creek at 2 over. Beck shot 72 on Friday.
The projected cut stands at 7 over.
Marietta residents Matthew Hayes, David Yowell, Tom Price Jr. and Tommy Caswell Jr., along with Acworth’s Patrick Kenney — another Harrison alum — are all currently under the cut line, although they’re left to complete their second rounds today. Marietta’s John Guzman, Adam Wright and Jason Terranova also need to rally during the conclusion of their second rounds.
Smyrna’s Kevin Jordan, Acworth’s Rex Ross and Marietta’s Scott Davenport failed to make the cut. Acworth’s Jerry Witt and Powder Springs’ Brandon Alsobrook both withdrew from the tournament.