Zach Seabolt, the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year from Winthrop, shot 9-under-par 63 to leap into a tie for the lead with Georgia State’s Davin White, who shot 65. Both players lead the 91-player field at 11-under 133 after 36 holes.
First-round leader Seth Reeves, who recently played his final season at Georgia Tech, is one shot back and tied for third with Mercer’s Trey Rule. Seven others, including rising Kennesaw State senior Jimmy Beck, are at 135 and tied for fifth.
Twenty-nine golfers are within six shots of the lead heading into today’s round, and 57 are at least 1-under for the tournament, including Cobb County products Michael Hines and Michael Garretson, who are each tied for 37th at 141.
The field will be cut to the low 40 and ties following today’s third round.
“I had a lot of fun with the guys I played with,” said Beck, who carded a 5-under 67 Thursday to move up from ninth. “I played with Anders Albertson and Seth Reeves, two guys I know pretty well from Georgia Tech. We had fun. We made a lot of birdies and I had fun going back and forth with them. We kept the ball in play and tried not to make many mistakes.”
Albertson was among the group at 9 under.
Beck had a flawless second round with five birdies and no bogeys. He birdied three of the four par-5s and birdied Nos. 4 and 16. Beck closed the round with birdies at 14, 16 and 18 and is in prime position to make the cut and post a top-10 finish for the second straight season.
“I’m giving myself a chance to win, and to do that, you have to make the cut,” he said. “I’m right where I want to be, two shots out of the lead, and I hope to keep it up with some good play (today).”
Hines and Garretson aren’t in as enviable positions, both in danger of missing the cut.
After a 70 on Wednesday, Hines, a former Kell High School star now at Georgia Tech, shot 71 Thursday. He birdied the par-3 13th and eagled the par-5 14th to move to 5-under for the round, but he closed with two bogeys over his final nine holes and negated his momentum.
“Overall, I didn’t hit too great,” Hines said. “Two bad tee shots caused those two bogeys, and it was a frustrating day, all in all.”
With a crowded field hoping to make the cut, Hines is hoping for a strong performance today.
“I’m teeing off at 8 a.m., so I’ll be first out of the box,” he said. “The greens will be fresh, and I’ll beat the heat, which, hopefully, will be an advantage for me. I need to go out there and make birdies and get in the 60s to make it to Saturday. That’s the plan — shoot low and get in contention to be in the top 10.”
Garretson, a former Harrison standout entering his senior season at South Alabama, shot 71 Wednesday. He bookended Thursday’s round with a bogey on his first hole and birdie on his last and finished the day at 70.
“I knew there were birdies out there, so my bogey on 10 didn’t really faze me,” Garretson said. “I just had to be patient and kept going.
“I’m pretty pleased with my round (Thursday). I just started shaky, but hit some really good shots later. Hopefully, I’ll have a good round and get to play on Saturday.”
After a 76 Wednesday, defending champion Michael Johnson shot 67 Thursday to move to 1-under and a tie for 54th.
Mableton resident Brian Katrek is 7-over and tied for 81st after shooting 74 Thursday.