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Novak is still on top for Round Two of the Emerald Coast Classic

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Round Two of the Emerald Coast Classic wrapped up Friday. Andrew Novak held onto his early lead from Round One finishing out the day at 3-under 67. This is the largest 36-hole lead since January 2020 before the pandemic shut the Korn Ferry Tour down.

Novak said he is doing some of the best putting of his life in this tournament with 23 putts, which is one less than Thursday.

“I would not say anywhere I’ve really putted better,” said Novak. “I mean, I might have putted pretty well, but this about as good as it gets for my putting for two rounds. It’s Bermuda greens. It’s kind of what I grew up on. I’m comfortable on them. I’m seeing them well. I think I’ve been putting really well lately. Louisiana, I putted really well. Savanna I putted pretty well. They didn’t all go in in Savanna, but they were all really close. I kind of had a feeling that if I kept doing what I was doing it would go in, and so far they have.”

The skills came to him before he even learned the game.

““I’d take plastic balls, hit around the yard just feeling shots… or throw a ball into the woods and see if I could hit it into our yard without hitting a tree. I’ve always had pretty good hands as far as just getting the club on the ball, knowing what the ball is going to do when it hits, and having a good imagination.”

David Lipsky, out of Los Angeles, California, is three strokes behind Novak, birdying four of his first seven holes and closing with tow more for a bogey-free 6-under 64.

Two are tied for third as of Friday. Adam Svensson, out of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, finished Round Two at 4-under 67, and Josh Hart, out of Jupiter, Florida carded a 3-under 67 Friday.

Hart earned his first Korn Ferry Tour start in 2008, but didn’t make the PGA TOUR-sanctioned start until 2017 on the Mackenzie Tour. In the meantime, he worked as an assistant pro at Hobe Sound Golf Club for almost four years before getting back into mini-tours.

“It’s been a slow road, I guess, but it’s been fun,” Hart said. “There have definitely been a lot of times where I thought it was kind of the end of the road. A lot of bad golf. But I kept wanting to stick it out, stick it out, and thought, eventually, things would kind of change. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been playing pretty well. It seems like everything is snowballing now.”

Saturday tee times start at 7:20 a.m. with a little less wind expected.

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