Jonathan Hodge stood at 4 under par for the tournament and saw signs that the cut would be 3 under when he played the 18th hole Friday at Black Creek Club.
But he knew better.
It would at least move to 4 under, which it did, so he took a cautious approach and hit 3-wood off the tee. Then he laid up, stuck a wedge shot close and rolled in a birdie putt to finish at 4-under 68 for the day and 5-under 139 for the first two rounds of the Children's Hospital Classic.
"This is my second Nationwide Tour event -- first as a pro -- and this is a huge confidence boost," Hodge said. "This has the potential to be my biggest check."
Hodge, the Southern Conference golfer of the year twice while playing for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, tees off at 9:50 this morning. He and Fort Payne's Scott Weatherly, also at 139, were the only area representatives to make the cut.
Former Baylor School star Luke List missed it an agonizing fashion. Starting the day at 2 over after a 74 on Thursday, List rallied with nine birdies and two bogeys in his first 17 holes Friday.
Playing his last hole, No. 9, scoreboards showed that the cut would likely be 5 under. A par there and he would make the cut.
But he pulled his approach into rough beside the green. He chopped out to about 40 feet. He missed the long putt. Then he missed a three-footer.
The cut moved to 4 under a moment later, and List headed home.
Harris English shot 68 and finished at 2 under. Henrik Simonsen and Andrew Black finished at 5 over, and Bruce Bowen shot 7 over.
Leader slips back
Nicholas Thompson shot a 63 on Thursday to claim the first-round lead. He shot a 71 Friday with a birdie on No. 18 and dropped into a tie for fifth, three shots behind new leader John Mallinger.
"Today wasn't my day," Thompson said. "I hit a lot of good shots. I had some misreads, hit a couple poor shots. It was a little bit of everything. To not play that good and shoot 71 isn't the worst thing that can happen."
Monday qualifier in hunt
Brice Garnett is making a habit of waiting until the last moment to get in Nationwide Tour events.
The 28-year-old graduate of Missouri Western State, an NCAA Division II school, is playing in his seventh NWT event this year based on Monday qualifying. He shot 63 this week at Cleveland Country Club.
He carried over that success to Black Creek, where he is 11 under and alone in fourth place.
"I've been hitting the ball really well for the last two or three weeks now," said Garnett, who has won twice on the E-Golf tour this summer. "If I get the putter going, I'm pretty good."
Ted Potter Jr. was the last Monday-qualifier to win a Nationwide Tour event. He did so at the Stadion Classic in Athens, Ga., earlier this year.
Past champs still in
Five past champions of the Classic started this week. Four of them remain to play on the weekend. Defending champion Scott Gardiner missed the cut by one stroke.
Justin Bolli, who won in 2004, is tied for second. Kyle Reifers won in 2006 and is tied for fifth. Jason Schultz, who won in 2005, and 2007 winner Ron Whittaker are tied for 59th.