Golf: Jim Knous fires an eight-under 63 to take a one-shot lead at the San Juan Open

Karl Schneider The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Jim Knous is the man everyone is chasing at the San Juan Open after the Basalt, Colo., native shot a 63 during the second round Friday the San Juan Country Club.

Knous' 63 was the low round of the day. Paired with his 68 of Thursday, Knous sits at 11 under par and holds a one-shot lead on the field entering the weekend.

Just behind Knous at 10 under are Nathan Lashley and Nick Killpack.

"I hit it pretty good today, about the same as yesterday, but I couldn't get a putt to drop," said Killpack, who tied for second place at last year's tournament. "I think I made a 6-footer and that was it. I didn't make a single putt today. My ball striking is good, but I'm a little frustrated with the putter. I felt like I hit good putts, I just misread a couple of greens. I think I'm just not reading (the greens) right now."

Playing with Killpack for the second day was 2013 San Juan Open champion Jimmy Gunn, who heads into today three shots off the lead in fourth place.

Like Killpack, Gunn struggled on the greens and finished the round with four three putts. Gunn said he's still adjusting to the softer conditions after playing in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., last weekend.

"(The greens) are a little slower here, but they're a lot softer," said Gunn, who shot 66 Friday. "You literally could not spin a ball back at Chambers Bay. It was physically impossible, but here you can spin it back. I've got to change my whole game, and my thinking of yardages. There, you were taking 15 to 20 yards off whatever yardage you had to the pin because of the release bounce. Here, you can fire it right in there."

Right in the mix and tied for fifth at seven under par is 2009 champ Derek Tolan.

Tolan, who shot 67 on Thursday, birdied holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 to get to five under on the round, but he took a double-bogey five on the par-3 18th and finished with a 68.

"I feel good about the course. Having had success here before helps a lot," Tolan said. "I think this is my fourth or fifth time playing (the San Juan Open), so there's a lot of knowledge from past experiences that helped me out today."

After tearing up the course for a first-round 62 Thursday, Collin Pratt couldn't keep the magic going Friday and finished the day with a three-over 74 to fall five shots off the lead heading into the weekend.

The tone for Pratt's round was set on the first hole when his birdie putt caught the left lip of the cup, went around the back and spun out, rolling back toward Pratt.

"That putt on No. 1 kind of sums up my day — close but not quite on anything," Pratt said. "I couldn't find it. I think I used up all my luck yesterday. I didn't get good breaks and couldn't make any putts today."

Jeff Roth, the head pro at the SJCC, followed up Thursday's 66 with an even-par 71 Friday and is tied for 10th at five under.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648 and Follow him @karltschneider on Twitter.