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Rochester’s Bozzelli stalks co-leaders in tourney

CLYMER – Dominic Bozzelli has accomplished his goal through two rounds of the LECOM Health Challenge at Peek’n Peak.

He’s in contention going into the weekend.

Bozzelli, the 25-year-old from Rochester, carded a 2-under 70 Friday in the second round on the Upper Course, getting to 9-under through 36 holes, currently tied for seventh place.

“I played pretty solid all day,” Bozzelli said. “Didn’t hit as many solid shots as yesterday, but you know, a lot of the same. I was chipping pretty well. I just didn’t give myself a whole lot of looks out there, but I was able to get the ball up and down.”

That started right off the bat, when Bozzelli holed his chip shot on the par-4 first hole for a birdie.

“Almost broke the flag stick,” he said. “It was a nice way to start, for sure. Any time you can steal one like that, it’s good for momentum. I feel pretty good with where my game’s at, and hopefully that can carry into the weekend.”

Bozzelli is chasing two players who share the lead at 12-under 130 through 36 holes – Australian Rhein Gibson and Denmark’s Sebastian Cappelen. Gibson shot a 4-under 68 Friday, while Cappelen birdied the 18th hole in near darkness to shoot a 6-under 66. Play was suspended because of darkness with four groups yet to finish the second round.

“By the looks of the names, it should be a shootout, especially if it stays soft,” Gibson said.

Gibson has himself positioned nicely after entering the field late. A member of the PGA Tour by way of his 10th-place finish on last year’s Tour money list, he only entered this week’s field after the PGA event in West Virginia was canceled because of flooding.

The 30-year-old has earned a little more than $100,000 in 16 PGA Tour starts this season, and is playing in just his fourth event.

“We’re kind of week by week out here,” he said. “I knew I was in the Greenbrier. Unfortunately that got canceled, so just rerouted all my plans to come here and I’m happy to be here.

“When I showed up Tuesday the course was kind of hard and fast. It was going to be a real good test. The rain came in and softened everything up. You can be a little bit more aggressive off the tee because there’s not much run and the greens are pretty soft so you can attack them.”

Gibson made two bogeys, but quickly erased those with birdies during his round Friday.

“I’m happy to be where I am,” he said. “Even today, it was a little tricky judging the wind, it was a little swirly out there. Hopefully it’ll dry the course out and get back to how it was Monday and Tuesday.”

The only disappointing part of Bozzelli’s round Friday was his performance on two of the par-5 holes on the Upper Course. He made bogey on No. 8 and No. 18 for his only two dropped shots of the week.

“Those are some of the easiest holes on the course,” he said. “Gave a couple away, but at the end of the day, I’m right where I want to be and we’ve still got two days left.”

Playing as close to home as the Tour gets, Bozzelli has enjoyed the support of friends and family this week.

It’s “not really pressure. I kind of look forward to that stuff,” he said. “I feel like when the spotlight’s on you a little bit, you can use that one of two ways. You kind of feed off that and use it as energy and motivation. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Thanks largely to his first win last month at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, Bozzelli is ninth on the tour’s money list, well within the top 25 who will land a PGA Tour card for the 2016-17.

Should he finish where he is now on the leader board, he’s projected to move up to No. 5 on the money list.

“Just try to keep myself up there in position,” he said his approach will be Saturday. “Hit fairways and greens and do all the basic stuff that usually equates to good golf.”