Thursday March 19, 2009
Southern Pines, NC – Former Augusta State standout Emmett Turner spent four years of college golf playing on a Donald Ross design in Forest Hills Golf Club. After graduation, the Greenwood, SC native remained in the town best known for “Amen Corner” and still refers to Forest Hills as a home course. Perhaps it’s the patience that Ross courses force you to have or the shotmaking they require you to create, but Turner has felt at home this week and opened a two-shot lead after 36 holes of the eGolf Tarheel Tour’s Pine Needles Classic. On Friday, he will look to run away with the title.
The inaugural Pine Needles Classic, being contested at Mid Pines and Pine Needles Resorts in Southern Pines, NC, highlight two of the master architect’s famed venues that carve their way throughout towering Carolina pines. For Turner, the layout could not have fit his eye any better.
"I like the kinds of courses you don’t have to trick up with out-of-bounds or water hazards. It’s just through the pine trees – you can visually see the shot you have to hit,” said Turner, who returned to Mid Pines on Thursday afternoon to practice after carding a 5-under 66 at Pine Needles in the morning wave.
Turner’s second-round 66, which followed up a first-round 65 at Mid Pines, began on the par-4 ninth at Pine Needles as players went off of Nos. 1 and 9 at the venerable Southern Pines staple. Needless to say, the round began at a pace closer to mach seven than that of tournament golf. Birdies on Nos. 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14 vaulted the soft-spoken Turner up the leaderboard on a day when wind played havoc on players attempting to think their way around the two courses.