By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
MOORE — Getting aggressive off the tree, hoping to birdie the 18th hole at Belmar Golf Club Thursday, Norman North product Taylor Artman instead had to chop out of the native grass and eventually get up and down from the sand for a bogey and a 67.
Playing the second round of the OK Kids Korral Championship, Artman, at 2-over par 142, missed the cut by a stroke.
J.R. Hurley, another North product hoping to get a piece of the Adams Golf Pro Tour event’s nearly $100,000 purse, also missed the cut, following a 68 with a 78. Facing high winds, a triple bogey 8 on the par 5 third hole was the beginning of Hurley’s undoing.
Also, Abraham Ancer, the former Sooner who played in the No. 1 slot at the recently completed NCAA championship, making his pro debut, missed the cut by a wide margin when he followed a Tuesday 73 with Wednesday 74.
Leave it to Will Kropp to hold down the fort for the locals.
Kropp, a Georgia transfer who followed OU golf coach Ryan Hybl to Norman, just finished a three-year run on the Sooner team that included a 72.96 senior year stroke average.
Over two days at Belmar, Kropp has been significantly better than that, opening with a solid 69 and following it Wednesday with a wind-blown 65 in which he chewed up and spit out the front nine, which happened to be his back nine.
At 6-under par 134 after 36 holes, Kropp is a stroke back of the leading fivesome that includes Vilhelm Bogstrand (67-66), Sam Powell (67-66), Jonathan Randolph (68-65), Trent Whitekiller (67-66) and first-round leader Jordan Russell (61-72).
Kropp is playing his second Adams Tour event, also his second event as a pro.
“I’m just kind of learning the ropes,” Kropp said. “It’s fun. I like it a lot … It’s just you. You have to make your own decisions and decide how you’re going to play and I like that.”
He had to like it Wednesday.
Kropp got himself to 2-under on the day with a birdie on the par 4 15th hole, his sixth hole of the day. Three holes later, on the 18th, he gave the strokes back with a double bogey six.
Of course, that was nothing five more birdies on the front nine — at Nos. 2, 3, 4, 7 and 9 — wouldn’t take care of.
Kropp said he’s been working on bringing a consistent mental approach to the course for each round. Wednesday appeared to prove he’s executing that approach.
“Just getting out of your own way,” is one of the ways Kropp described his approach. “Having a consistent mental approach really pays off.”
Not just this week, but last week, too, for Kropp, who finished tied for 18th at the Buffalo Run Prairie Moon Casinos Classic at Peoria Ridge in Miami, pocketing $1,680 after finishing at 8-under par 280.
Though this week’s event remains wide open — 18 players are within four strokes of the lead with 36 holes remaining — Kropp’s in a good spot, coming off a 65, Wednesday’s co-low round.
“I got some putts to drop on the (front nine),” he said. “I just need to keep taking advantage of the holes you’re supposed to take advantage of.”
Keep it up and he may be hard to beat.
Follow me @clayhorning