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Area golfers make move up leaderboard before rain halts Round 2 of Georgia Amateur

Ridge Purcell fires a 4-under 68 to move to move into a tie for fifth at the Georgia Amateur.

Ridge Purcell fires a 4-under 68 to move to move into a tie for fifth at the Georgia Amateur.

ROSWELL — Ridge Purcell credits the Darton golf program for turning his game around.

Now the 2009 Darton graduate is once again proving he is one of the best amateur golfers in the state.

Purcell fired a 4-under 68 Friday in the second round of the Georgia Amateur Championship, which was suspended at 5 p.m. when thunderstorms rolled through the Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek course.

But before the rain soaked the course, Purcell, who finished tied for fifth in last year’s Georgia Amateur, carded one of the tournament’s best rounds and moved all the way into a tie for fifth at 2-under.

“This course is very challenging tee to green, and when you get on the green you aren’t even done with the challenges,” said Purcell, who had four birdies and no bogeys in his round. “I was able to hit some fairways, and from there it was lift, clean and place. Once I got a good lie in the fairway I hit some greens. I can’t even think of any that I missed.”

Several other current and former Southwest Georgia stars were making their moves when the tournament was postponed to 7:30 a.m. today.

Former Lee County star and Georgia Southwestern golfer Nate Gahman was even through nine holes and is 2-over and in a tie for 32nd, while Darton’s Austin McNeill was 1-under through nine holes and is 3-over and tied for 41st.

The only other Southwest Georgia golfers to finish their rounds Friday were Darton’s Chase Jones and GSW’s JP Griffin. Griffin shot a 2-under 70 to move to 3-over overall, while Jones carded a 9-over 81 to move to 19-over. The projected cut-line is currently at 8-over.

Other Southwest Georgia golfers who will still have to finish their rounds today are Albany natives Craig Taylor (6-over) and Lee Jamison (7-over), and Darton freshmen Von Stripling (7-over) and Tyler Vaughn (8-over).

Albany’s Collin Ho, who shot an opening-round 79, withdrew from the tournament Friday.

Acworth ‘s Michael Garretson fired a 4-under 68 to take the second-round lead. At 6-under-par 138, Garretson holds a one-stroke lead over 2010 champion and first-round co-leader Lee Knox of Augusta.

At the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties and anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. The third round will begin at approximately noon.