DAVIDSON – Camilo Benedetti hasn’t had the best of luck on the pro golf tours this season, and his confidence – and tournament finishes – suffered as a result.
But a small change in his swing has helped the Colombia native get his confidence back, and it was on full display during Friday’s second round of the Chiquita Classic.
Benedetti shot a 5-under-par 67, putting him among a group of four players one stroke behind British pro Greg Owen’s 136 in the second event of the PGA Web.com Tour Finals.
“I was very focused, and I hit it good,” said Benedetti, whose two-day total of 137 left him tied with Americans Andrew Svoboda – who had the day's low round, a 7-under 65 – Will MacKenzie and Kris Blanks.
“It was easy to hit the ball today for some reason. Everything was easy to place, and the ball was just running along.”
Benedetti has plugged away at the PGA’s developmental tours after turning pro in 2002. A three-time All-American at Florida, he's come close to earning his PGA Tour card the past three years.
That carried over into this season – Benedetti has missed the cut in more tournaments (11) than he's made (10, including the Chiquita Classic), and he hadn't made back-to-back tournaments since early May.
“I thought I was going to have a great year at the beginning of the year,” Benedetti said. “But everything just went somewhere else, and it took me a long time to find it. My game's better again, and I feel better about it.”
On Friday, Benedetti offset a pair of bogeys with five birdies and an eagle on River Run's par-5 No. 2. That was enough to put him atop the leader board until Owen, Svoboda, MacKenzie and Blanks – all playing in the afternoon groups – made their runs.
“I got a few good breaks,” said Owen, who shot a 6-under 66. “I kept it in play and had a couple of long putts go in. It’s not easy out there. I got away with a few loose shots, and made the most of it.”
First-round co-leaders Hudson Swafford and Ben Kohles were tied with Peter Maltani at 138, with four other players – John Peterson, Tim Petrovic, Vaughn Taylor and Australia’s Tim Wilkinson – at 139.
While PGA Tour veteran and Charlotte resident Robert Karlsson made the cut, shooting a 2-under 70 Friday to finish at 143, others had their problems.
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @Bkiser_CLTObs.
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