UT alum David Skinns, Knoxville’s Eric Axley share Three Ridges Lead

2008 U.S. Amateur runner-up Drew Kittleson 3rd

NGA Pro Tour GolfKnoxville, Tenn. – May 25, 2012 – It’s safe to say that David Skinns and Eric Axley are both fond of Knoxville, but their commonalities seem to be a little bit stronger this week. After two rounds of play in the NGA Pro Golf Tour’s Three Ridges Knoxville Classic, both golfers 10-under par and tied atop the leaderboard.


Skinns, a former University of Tennessee standout from Lincoln, England, shot a 6-under 65 in the second round to reach 10-under par. A day after shooting 67, Skinns, who won last year’s NGA Tour event in Tennessee, went bogey-free around the 7,010-yard course on Friday and rattled in six birdies.


Axley, a former East Tennessee State standout and Knoxville resident, made the turn at even par, but the PGA Tour winner ran off five birdies on the inward nine to shoot a 5-under 66 for the second round in a row and remain tied atop the leaderboard in the $150,000 event.


Drew Kittleson of Scottsdale, Ariz., started the day T9, but the 2008 U.S. Amateur runner-up moved up the leaderboard with a 6-under 65 in the second round. Kittleson, a former Florida State All-American, was 1 over for the day through four holes before running off seven birdies to reach 9-under par for the event. Kittleson will start the weekend in solo third.


After sharing the first-round lead, Jonathan Randolph of Brandon, Miss., slipped to T4 with a 3-under 68 in the second round. However, the Ole Miss All-American is still within striking distance going into the weekend play, sitting at 8-under par and tied for fourth with Patton Kizzire, Andrew Loupe and Brandon Brown.


Brown, a six-time NGA Tour winner from Shelbyville, Ky., matched the low round of the day with an 8-under 63, while Loupe, a former LSU star from Baton Rouge, La., and Kizzire, a former Auburn standout from Tuscaloosa, Ala., carded 5-under 66s on Friday to reach 8-under par for the event.


Patrick Lundy of Little River, S.C., and Hamilton Wheeler of Russellville, Ky., are T8 and 7-under par after two rounds. Lundy shot a 3-under 68 on Friday and Wheeler carded a 5-under 66 in the second round.


Erick Justesen (Russellville, Ky.), Daniel Wax (Pacific Palisades, Calif.), David McKendrick (West Monroe, La.), Ryan Spears (Del City, Okla.), Ken Looper (Mandeville, La.), Jack Newman (Des Moines, Iowa) and Clayton Rotz (Chambersburg, Pa.) will start the weekend T10 at 6-under par.


Tennessee golfers David Holmes (T17), Chase Carroll (T21), Jonathan Hodge (T21), Derek Rende (T31), Paul Apyan (T31), Hunter Green (T31), Chris Erwin (T40), Josh Bevell (T40), Trey Bridwell (T40), Jason Millard (T53) and Bryce Ledford (T53) all advanced to weekend play.


The third round of the Knoxville Classic will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. As always, spectators are admitted free of charge.


The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA and Nationwide Tours and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA and Nationwide Tour Professionals.


The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA, Euro, Nationwide, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won an incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships.


NGA Alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk; 2009 British Open Champion Stewart Cink; 2009 US Open Champion Lucas Glover; 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson; 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel; 2003 British Open Champion Ben Curtis; two-time US Open Champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA Champion John Daly; British Open Champion Tom Lehman; PGA Champion David Toms; 2003 Tour Championship Winner Chad Campbell; 2010 NGA Player of the Year Michael Thompson; 2011 PGA winners Sean O’Hair, Scott Piercy, Scott Stallings, Mark Wilson, Gary Woodland and many, many more.


At this year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School, 52% of those earning full exempt status on the PGA Tour and 67% of those earning full exempt status on the Nationwide Tour were past NGA Professionals. Another 16 NGA Professionals advanced to the PGA Tour for 2012 by finishing inside the Top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list, including 2011 NGA members Ted Potter Jr., Russell Knox and Billy Hurley III.


The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Nationwide Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. For more information on the NGA or the NGA Pro Golf Tour, please visit our website at www.NGATOUR.com or contact our Tour Office at (800) 992-8748.