SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - In the nine-year history of the Rapiscan Systems Classic, just one golfer that led the field after the first round went on to win the entire tournament; Fred Couples back in 2012. But this year? History may just be repeating itself.
Entering round two tied for first with Marco Dawson at -7, Kevin Sutherland shot a 3-under 69 Saturday, while Dawson’s score remained stagnant.
Sutherland’s three-stroke lead (-10) is the largest after 36 holes in tournament history.
“Hit a few good shots and made some putts, so kind of a good deal," Sutherland said. "I didn’t play nearly as well as I did yesterday, but it played a lot harder today than it did yesterday. I’m very pleased with the 69 today.”
Speaking of Fred Couples, the former tournament champion slowly made his way up the leaderboard. Despite posting a triple-bogey on the fifth hole, Couples rallied to finish at 2-under 70 to finish in a tie for third place (-5).
“It’s a nice golf course, I like the course," Couples said. "You have to hit the ball really solid. The wind blew today, and I hear it’s going to blow harder tomorrow, so I mean, that’s kind of good because Sutherland is quite a ways ahead. But it’s a great golf course to play, and if you like it, you’re going to do well if you do all the right things.”
Couples is tied for third with Billy Andrade, who had one of the biggest climbs up the leaderboard of the day, finishing at 4-under 68, a career best at Fallen Oak. However, his performance could have been even better.
“It’s just one of those days where you really could have jumped up the leaderboard," Andrade said. "I could have shot an eight or a nine-under today. I mean, I played that well. I just didn’t make a few putts that I should have made.”
But will anything be enough to catch Kevin Sutherland? We’ll find out in tomorrow’s final round.
“Not really pay attention to what’s going on around you," Sutherland said about his mindset entering Sunday with a three-stroke lead. "Wait until you get to the back nine to kind of figure out where you stand and stuff. Just keep doing what I’m doing, I’m putting the ball well.”
Sutherland, Dawson and Andrade will tee off from the first hole at 12:56 p.m. Sunday afternoon, with Couples preceding their pairing by eleven minutes.