Aaron Watkins remains in sole possession of first place after shooting -4 during the second round morning session of the Air Capital Classic. Watkins heads into the clubhouse with an overall score of -11 through two rounds.
Watkins' second round was less impressive than his first round -7, but he's taking a big-picture approach to the four-day event.
"It wasn't as clean as I did yesterday. I struggled a little bit, missed a couple fairways, but I managed to kind of play it safe and kind of take bogey out of the equation," Watkins said.
Watkins did bogey on hole No. 18, but managed to rebound through the front nine.
Tom Gillis and Sebastian Cappelen share second place behind Watkins at -9 heading into Saturday.
This is the first time the 45-year-old Gillis has played in the Air Capital Classic. The Kansas course came as a nice surprise to the Michigan native.
"It's a nice golf course. They've got it in good shape. The greens are perfect," Gillis said. "I wasn't sure what to expect when I came here. I figured we'd be playing in the plains and no trees and all that. "
Early in the morning, Gavin Coles surged to the top of the leaderboard , taking a share of the lead with Watkins at -9. At one point - Coles overtook Watkins - but settled for bogey on hole No. 9 and dropped back into a three-way tie for first. From there, Coles fell to sixth place, ending his morning round at -7.
Watkins was the tournament leader after day one, shooting a -7 in the first round. That score bested two-time Air Capital Champ Brad Elder and the No. 1 amateur in the world, Ollie Schneiderjans by one stroke.
Both Elder and Schneiderjans felt a second day slump. Elder remained static after he finished day two, but his on par score forced a slip in the standings, as he fell to 15th place with a score of -6.
Schneiderjans dropped further than Elder. The 21-year-old amateur sits tied for 22nd with a score of -5 heading into the final two days.
Even after a scare from Blayne Barber and Sam Saunders, Watkins remained atop the leader board after two rounds. Barber blazed his way into second place at 10-under, a stroke behind Watkins.
Barber stayed at 10-under for several holes and couldn't get over the hump to tie the leader. He finished the round at 8-under after a poor performance on the last few holes. Barber finished with a round score of 3-under.
Sam Saunders shot 4-under par for the round and finished the day tied for second at 9-under, two strokes behind Watkins for the lead.
"I worked a little harder today," Saunders said. "I hit the ball better yesterday, didn't drive as well, but I putted well today. I hit a lot of good shots and gave myself some good looks."
Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, is tied for second with Tom Gillis and Sebastian Cappelen. Zack Sucher played an incredible round Friday to finish with a 7-under and currently sits at 5-under for the tournament. For a few holes, it looked like Sucher might have set a course record, but couldn't quite keep up his torrid pace.
Ollie Schneiderjans out of Georgia Tech is tied with Sucher at No. 22 with a tournament score of 5-under. He was nipping at the heels of Watkins Thursday, but a round of 1-over hurt his cause Friday. Schniederjans is currently the top-ranked amateur in the world.