Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Brent Grant earns 36-hole lead at LECOM Suncoast Classic

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. – Brent Grant fired a flawless 5-under 66 during a windy second round at the LECOM Suncoast Classic to take a one-stroke lead over Brett Coletta after 36 holes. Grant finished at dusk just as play was suspended due to darkness at Lakewood National Golf Club. One player elected to wait until Saturday morning to finish their round.

“I don’t know [playing partners] Jack and Callum all that well, but I looked at both of them on the tee of the eighth and was like ‘We’re all going to finish, right?’” laughed Grant. “I’m really thankful for that, I really didn’t want to come back when it was 45 degrees tomorrow morning.”

After a sparkling 65 in his first Tour round of 2021, Grant backed it up with four birdies on his first nine (back nine) to turn in 4-under 31. He added a birdie at the par-4 fourth and parred out to reach 11-under at the halfway point of the tournament.

“Yesterday I hit the ball really well and controlled distance well,” said Grant, a 24-year-old who grew up in Hawaii. “My caddie Tony and I were really dialed in. My short game was a little off with that one bogey yesterday. But then today it saved me. I had some pretty crazy shots that I had to hit and I pulled them off. My putter was really solid.”

The lead after a round is the first of his career in his 20th tournament. Grant is best known for qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship – a team event – by himself at 18 years old. Grant’s partner, a doctor, was called into surgery at the last minute so Grant went at it alone and shot a 63.

Grant is in the midst of an extended rookie season on the Korn Ferry Tour due to the combined 2020-21 season induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 19 starts he has collected five top-25s and a career-best T8 finish at the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank. He also ranks second on Tour in driving distance with an average of 325.5 yards per drive.

“The offseason was really lengthy, four or five months,” said Grant. “But I’ve been ready to go for a few weeks. I’ve been working…I probably worked the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life [this offseason].”

After an opening 8-under 63, Brett Coletta followed it up with a 2-under 69 to reach 10-under through 36 holes. The Australian opened with two rounds in the 60s for the fifth time in his 17th start during the combined 2020-21 season. He finished inside the top-20 in the previous four instances, including a season-best T3 mark at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Club.

“It’s really nice to come out of the gates running hot,” said the 24-year-old Coletta. “And I finished well last year too. I know it was a four-month break, but you still get the same feel from being in contention and being around the top of the leaderboard. It’s a feeling that is hard to replicate in any other form of practice or playing with your mates. I’m ecstatic to be back in contention out here.”

Grant leads Coletta by one and each of Billy Kennerly and Hayden Buckley by two. Buckley was the last player to gain entry into the field after earning a spot through the alternate list after a withdrawal on Thursday morning.

The second round will resume at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Third-round tee times will run from 8:15 a.m. to 12:17 p.m. off of the first tee on Saturday and will be finalized after the conclusion of the second round.

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