Chas Narramore Maintains Lead at eGolf Gateway Tour’s Verdict Ridge Open

Chas Narramore

By Stewart Moore

Denver, N.C. – Chas Narramore of Kingston, Tenn. came one shot shy of matching the course record at Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club on Wednesday morning after posting a 9-under 63. The current Tour member failed to match his lofty day one effort during Thursday’s second round of the eGolf Gateway Tour’s Verdict Ridge Open, but still managed to post six birdies on his way to a 4-under 68 and a 13-under 131 tally, good for a one-shot lead entering Friday’s third and final round.

Narramore, making just his second career start on tour, struggled somewhat out of the gate on Thursday at the undulating Ed Schweitzer-designed course.

After a solid birdie on the par-4 10th (his first), the former Middle Tennessee State golfer had to make an 8-footer for par on the par-3 11th before getting up and down for par on the par-4 12th.

Narramore’s tee shot on the narrow par-4 15th found the trees and forced him to pitch out for his second, but a solid third shot to 18 feet set up an unlikely par putt that went in to somewhat settle a rocky ship.

“I got off to a real good start there on No. 10, but then I just struggled after that with some bad tee shots,” he said. “That par on 15, though, was a big turning point for me because I wasn’t swinging at it good up to that point.”

Narramore finished birdie-bogey-birdie on his outward nine, thanks to a two-putt from 20 feet on the par-5 16th and a 20-foot birdie bomb on the par-5 18th after a poor wedge shot for his third.

“My putter really saved me on that side as it could have easily been a 2-over nine,” he said. “That made the front nine a lot easier knowing there are several birdie holes on that side and that I could be aggressive.”

Narramore birdied No. 1 after hitting a wedge to 4 feet, then got up and down for birdie on the par-5 third to reach 4-under on the day.

Michael CromieMichael Cromie

A poor three-putt bogey on the fourth slowed his mid-round momentum, but a stellar wedge to 1 foot on the par-4 ninth (his last) made up for the lost shot, in turn leaving him with a 4-under 68 and the overnight lead for a second straight day.

Narramore has spent the majority of 2015 playing in mini-tour events and Monday qualifiers, with only three Tour starts to his name after a T79 finish at Q-School left him with marginal status for the year.

Missed cuts in each of those three starts did little to improve his number, which left the 28-year-old with a week-to-week question mark in regards to where he would play.

“It is what it is. It’s frustrating and it’s super hard as I want to be out there and not on mini-tours, but this gives you a place to practice and play for when you do get called in,” he said. “Those Monday qualifiers are tough, so it’s good to know you have something to play in and something to play for.”

In possession of a one shot lead, Narramore is cognizant of the fact that third place sits a distant five shots back at 8-under 136. That jumbled leaderboard won’t create a two-horse race, he says, but will more or less give someone fuel to produce a final-round charge.

“I like to know where I’m at out there. The guys at 8-under are still in it though, because you can get it going as low as 8- or 9-under out here. Even the 7-under guys aren’t out of it, anyone can go out there and make a move. It will be fun to play in the final group and see what happens.”

Michael Cromie of Cary, N.C. is in solo-second place after rounds of 68-64—132 put him at 12-under par, just one back of Narramore.

The former Georgia Bulldog, who was 1-over through six holes during Wednesday’s opening round, went on a veritable tear during his Thursday 64.

Starting his day on the front nine, Cromie birdied Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 to race out to a 4-under-par start and a 32 on the turn.

The 23-year-old birdied 12 and 13 to reach 6-under on the day before a bogey on the 15th dropped him back down to minus-5.

Down the stretch, Cromie shined, posting birdies on Nos. 16, 17 and 18 to wrap up an 8-under 64, which set a career-best (to par) for the first-year player.

Bo AndrewsBo Andrews

After missing his first four cuts of the year, Cromie looks to be much more comfortable in the latter part of his rookie year, notching four top-25 finishes in his last seven starts – including a career-best, runner-up effort at last month’s Mimosa Hills Open.

Cromie earned amateur acclaim roughly one year ago, winning the prestigious North & South Amateur at Pinehurst to become the first player in tournament history to win both the junior and amateur editions of the fabled event.

Taylor Dickson of Gastonia, N.C., Eric Brady of Cary, N.C., Chase Parker of Augusta, Ga., Bo Andrews of Raleigh, N.C. and Zach Munroe of Charlotte, N.C. are tied for third, five shots back of Narramore at 8-under 136.

The 36-hole cut fell at 4-under 140, with 32 players making it through to the third and final round. Final-round play in the Verdict Ridge Open will begin at 8:00 AM on Friday morning, with players competing in threesomes off of Nos. 1 and 10 tees. The tournament is open to the public and free of charge.