Bogey-free round puts Brittain up by 7 shots at Ridgefields

Pat Kenney • Jul 25, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Blustery conditions did little to slow Tazewell’s Buck Brittain in Saturday’s second round of the 59th Ridgefields Men’s Invitational.

After tying the competitive course record with a 64 on Friday, Brittain set sail around the Ridgefields Country Club course and breezed to a 3-under-par 69. His two-day total of 133 left him at 11 under and holding a seven-shot advantage over defending champion Alex Ratliff.

Ratliff followed a 71 with a 69 for a 140 total.

Six-time RCC runner-up Mike Poe was tied for third with Todd Ricker at 141 while Carlson Cox stood fifth at 142.

After holing nearly every putt he looked at Friday, Brittain lost his feel for the greens Saturday.

“I was still hitting it pretty good with my irons but just couldn’t get the ball in the hole today,’’ he said. “And I never really got any momentum going.’’

Brittain parred the first five holes before missing a 6-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fifth. But the subsequent birdie got him going.

“I kept the ball in play and hit a lot of greens,’’ added Brittain, the Ridgefields runner-up in 2003 and ’05. “Not making any bogeys was the key.’’

Heading into today’s final round, Brittain needs a 68 to tie the tournament record.

“That would be nice, but my first goal is to win the tournament,’’ he said. “If I don’t make any bogeys (today), I think it will be hard for anyone to catch me.’’

Ratliff knew that his round could have been even better and put him closer to Brittain on the scoreboard.

“I thought going into today that 67 was a number I was capable of shooting,’’ said Ratliff, who will play golf for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in the fall. “But I didn’t birdie any of the par 5s and that just can’t happen if you want to shoot a low number.

“I’ve inched up the leaderboard, but I don’t know if it will be enough.’’

Poe has seen it all before and knows the field faces an uphill battle if there is any hope of catching Brittain.

“With him going so low it will be tough,’’ Poe said. “We’ll need some help from Buck.’’

Bill Hardin, who shot a 74 on Saturday, fell from second to sixth on the leaderboard. He, too, knows what needs to be done.

“Someone will have to shoot a low number to put pressure on Buck,’’ Hardin noted. “I just feel like I’ve got a 66 or 67 in me (today).’’

In the senior flight, Brady Richards shot a 1-under 71 to add to his first-round 73 and stood atop the leaderboard with a 144.

Defending champion Tony Green was second at 146 while Mike Freels, Rick Hudson, Hal McHorris, Jack Ramsey, Bill Argabrite and Les Ward were tied for third at 148.

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