After the fireworks of day one at Niagara Frontier, when six sub-par rounds were posted, things got tougher in Youngstown. On Friday, not one of the 70 competitors broke par and only one player matched it. Scores went as high as 90. with 23 posted rounds in the 80s. When the ink had dried on the scoreboard, the field had compressed a bit more, ensuring a final round run at the BDGA Men’s Individual title.First-round leader and course record setter Dan Yustin found things a bit tougher in round two. The whirlwind of the last five days may have slowed the Canisius HIgh product a bit. Yustin played US Amateur medal rounds in Colorado on Monday and Tuesday, unsuccessfully attempting to qualify for the match-play portion of the event. Returning to western New Yok, he lit the Frontier course on Thursday with a course-record 65. His second-round 74 preserved the lead, albeit a reduced one. Former champion and current points leader Raman Luthra closed the gap from 4 strokes to 2 with a round of 72, In third place, one more stroke back, is south Buffalo’s Young Michael Carrig, who followed up an opening 70 with a solid 72.
Lurking at 144 is local favorite Young Frank Garcia. His father, a longtime teaching professional at Frontier, doubtless schooled the son on the nuances of the golf course. Despite a trio of added holes in the 1990s, Niagara Frontier is a classic golf course, built on old school principles. The finishing stretch includes a number of birdie holes, one of the area’s toughest par four holes (number 16) and more than one gut-check tee shot.
The cut fell at +12, eliminating forty players and conducting 30 more to the final round. Among the early departures were veterans Bob Rosen, James Smith, John Gaffney and Jeff Wolniewicz. Brandon Grzywacz, Chris Covelli and Kyle Harman stand at +4, seven strokes back, while Joe Walesczak, Andy Bernatovicz, Mike Boss and recently-crowned Erie County Amateur winner Ryan Hawkins round out the top ten at +5. The day’s big move was made by Bill Gaffney, who followed an opening 77 with a days-best 71 to quickly climb the leader board, into the top twenty.