While significant history was made at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, in its having Oliver Betschart become the tournament’s youngest ever competitor at 15, there is no chance of any of the local entrants making the projected cut, currently calculated as -5.
For the second successive day play was suspended due to darkness, with three threesomes still to finish the second round, including local amateur Eric West [+14] at the foot of the 132 strong field. Only Augusto Núñez [-6] of the nine players still to finish stands below the line, meaning the field is about set.
Entering his fifth Championship Michael Sims again stood as the Island’s best hope to eclipse the mark, however it took only Thursday’s round to realise making it to the weekend, despite best efforts, was not on the cards for neither Sims, Betschart, Eric West or Scott Roy.
All will miss the cut by considerable margins, with Sims, currently tied for 199th, shooting the best score, ending with a two round total of 143 [+1]. Betschart syands in 126th, three shots behind Sims having totaled 146, while Roy ended at 153..
Doing in Sims’ quest were a pair of feast or famine outings, with the player employing high risk strategy as his best option, aggressively, attacking a placid, seemingly toothless Port Royal Golf Course, only to have the course bite back in a major way.
Nevertheless, the always cool and laid back former lower tier tour professional was at once thankful for the opportunity to compete, even if his game was nowhere near where it needed to be to progress.
“I mean, it was good,” said Sims, who may well have benefitted more if conditions were a lot less ideal, perhaps enhancing course familiarity as a factor. “I’d be lying if I wasn’t saying that to you.
“Very sloppy at times, really good at times. You know, the last time I played competitively was here last year, so yeah, it showed.
“It was a lot of rust out there. But once you get in the rhythm of it all, I think you start kind of cruising and going.”
“It was a lot of fun.”
Nevertheless, such as nature commands the older Sims’ star to fade, so doth Betschart emerge as the new luminary and hope for success.
It was thus fitting that the pair were cast together on both days, that the torch be passed.
“Playing with Michael’s been a lot of fun,” said Betschart following the day’s play. “We’ve played many rounds before together and we’re just always chatting around, you know, having fun out there, playing some golf.”
The day started with the pair having to finish the last few holes of each’s first round after darkness prematurely ended play on Thursday.
However, some early mistake by the teenager hindered his chances of scoring closer to par.
“I felt great making the turn, kind of went downhill from there,” explained Betschart. “You know, I kept it together, just played every shot, next shot and just finished the round how I wanted to.”
“Yeah, there was a lot of people following and the support was incredible, especially for Oliver,” said Sims. “That first tee shot yesterday was pretty special, and it was great, I got to feel it again for him.
“Your first tee shot in a pro tour event like that, a PGA TOUR event, that’s just so special.
“It’s neat to watch it again and for me, I get to relive it a little bit. But you don’t get that back, so I think that was so cool. Very proud of him.”
With Nunez no threat to the leadership Alez Noren [-15] of Sweden will lead the field into Saturday, with four players hot on his heels at -13, including the United States’ Ryan Moore, Satoshi Kodaira of Japan and another American Ryan Brehm.
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