Ryan Marter and Spencer Provow are tied for the lead at 8-under entering Wednesday’s final round of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Invitational, but 17 other golfers lurk within five shots.
The congested leaderboard was a byproduct of more challenging conditions at Council Fire Golf Club. After 40 golfers bettered par on the opening day, Tuesday’s second round produced a different story. With the low humidity and steady winds quickening the challenging greens, only 19 participants posted red numbers on the day.
Marter carded a 67 to put himself in the final group, posting six birdies and a single bogey to move to 8-under. The Columbia, South Carolina native chipped in for birdie on 16, then backed that up with another birdie on 17 to close his round with momentum.
Marter, who played collegiately at Wofford and will compete next season at Appalachian State with an extra year of eligibility granted due to Covid-19, never imagined he’d be in this position when he walked off the course.
“I looked at the scoreboard and I was several shots back, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out I’ll be in final group tied for the lead,” Marter said. “I hadn’t played in any tournaments in two months so I had no expectations coming into this event. But I’m hoping I can put together another solid round tomorrow and see what happens.”
Provow stood on the 17th tee at 10-under, but an errant tee shot into the hazard led to a triple-bogey. The Murfreesboro resident rallied to birdie the the final hole, finishing the day with a 71 and a share of the lead.
“I had a bogey, double-bogey and a triple and I still felt great about my round,” Provow said. “It certainly was a round-about way to hit it 71 times. I was especially happy how I played 18 to close with a birdie, because I could’ve beaten myself up how I’d played the prior hole.”
Provow, who is 37, has recently returned to competitive golf having won the Tennessee State Match Play event in 2007. He’s thrilled to compete again at a high level after devoting the past decade to his family and his career.
“I’m not nervous at all because I came here with no expectations,” Provow said. “I’m just excited to be able to able to play again at a high level against a talented field.”
Luke Wells, who enters his junior year at Rutgers, posted the best round of the day with a 66 to sit one shot off the lead at 7-under. He’s tied for third with first round leader Clay Amlung, who shot 73.
Samuel Jean, who is a teammate of Amlung’s at the University of Cincinnati, is one of two golfers at 6-under after shooting 68 on Tuesday. He will be paired with Tennessee’s Tyler Johnson, who shot even par.
Reece Nilsen, Blain Tuner and Noah Gillard are tied at 5-under, three shots behind the leaders.
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Paul Payne can be contacted by email at email@example.com or via Twitter @Paul_A_Payne.
Chattanooga Choo Choo Invitational
Second Round Results
Played at Council Fire Golf Club
Ryan Marter -8 (69-67)
Spencer Provow -8 (65-71)
Luke Wells -7 (71-66)
Clay Amlung -7 (64-73)
Samuel Jean -6 (70-68)
Tyler Johnson -6 (66-72)
Reece Nilsen -5 (71-68)
Blain Tuner -5 (69-70)
Noah Gillard -5 (66-73)
Eric Wowor -4 (69-71)
Michael Shears -4 (68-72)
Hunter Logan -3 (72-69)
Rafe Reynolds -3 (72-69)
Braedon Wear -3 (71-70)
Tyler Jones -3 (70-71)
Kye Meeks -3 (70-71)
Ross Funderburke -3 (69-72)
Ethan Hagood -3 (67-74)
Andrew Farraye -3 (66-75)