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The Greenbrier

Varner in pursuit; ECU's Taylor cut

East Carolina’s Blake Taylor shoots 70-71 in the first two rounds, misses cut of 3-under.

US Open Golf

Harold Varner III plays his shot from the fourth tee during the first round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Staff, wire reports

Friday, July 6, 2018

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Kelly Kraft is about to find out whether he’s ready to handle the lead entering the weekend for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Kraft shot a 7-under 63 in the second round of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier on Friday to take a one-stroke edge over first-round leader Webb Simpson and Anirban Lahiri of India. Kelly is at 13-under overall.

Former East Carolina standout Harold Varner III also is not far behind Kelly after firing a bogey-free 64 in Round 2 to improve to 10 under. Current ECU golfer Blake Taylor, a rising junior, was solid in shooting 70-71, but he missed the cut of 3 under after his 71 to finish 1 over in his PGA debut.

Kraft posted his career-best round Friday at the Old White TPC.

He is looking to turn around a season that has included missed cuts in seven of his 10 previous tournaments, including last week at the Quicken Loans National. But he has had some success in West Virginia, where he tied for fifth last year.

“I’ve kind of changed my attitude a little bit starting with last week,” Kraft said. “I just feel like I’m ready to keep playing good.”

Kraft made four birdies on the front nine and didn’t let a bogey on the par-5 12th hole derail him. He added birdies on the next two holes and took the lead with a six-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.

Reminded that it’s his first time leading a PGA Tour event after 36 holes, Kraft said he was confident.

“I’ve been up there before and I know I can play out here,” he said. “I’m just looking for two more low ones and a bunch of scoring opportunities.”

Lahiri shot a career-low 61 and Simpson had a 67. Both were at 12 under.

Lahiri has yet to make a bogey in his first trip to The Greenbrier resort. He found just eight of 14 fairways but reached all 18 greens in regulation Friday. Four of his nine birdies were putts of 18 feet or longer.

“I’ve been feeling good over the last two weeks,” Lahiri said. “I’ve seen the improvement on the golf course and I’ve tried to plug the gaps that I’ve found over the last two weeks. And I’m happy that more than anything else I haven’t dropped a shot. But I’m not thinking about that. The focus is just to put myself in the best position that I can, and that’s a big positive for me.”

After shooting 61 on Thursday, Simpson saw his chance for a very low score end quickly on Friday.

Starting on the back nine, Simpson hit a tee shot that went out of bounds and made double-bogey on the par-5 12th, a hole he had eagled the day before. He then bogeyed the par-4 13th after his tee shot found the rough. He made five birdies the rest of his round.

“It was not the start I was looking for,” Simpson said. “I hung in there. I weathered that storm and made some birdies there on the front nine to keep it under par and give myself a chance for the weekend.”

Jason Kokrak shot 64 and was in fourth place at 11 under. Whee Kim is tied with Varner for fifth place.

Simpson is the only one among the top six players on the leaderboard with a PGA Tour win. Since its 2010 debut, the tournament has produced four first-time winners, including three rookies.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

February 15, 2019

CATCHER

Jake Washer, junior: Washer is back as East Carolina’s starting catcher after receiving Major League Baseball draft interest following his breakout sophomore season. In addition to showing power with six home runs and 40 RBIs a year ago, Washer posted a smooth .287 batting average.…

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February 15, 2019

Equipped with All-American Bryant Packard ready to serve again as East Carolina’s leadoff man in the batting order and a stable of proven pitchers who battled during the preseason for lead rotation spots, ECU is ready to face an opponent and begin a new season.

Radford’s visit to Clark-…

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February 15, 2019

WEEKEND ROTATION

FRIDAY

Alec Burleson, sophomore: Burleson will be a frequent player at designated hitter and first base in the lineup, but his main focus in the season opener versus Radford will be on the pitcher’s mound. The left-hander, who was the American Athletic Conference rookie…

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February 15, 2019

One of baseball’s many adages is that good teams need to be strong “up the middle,” a reference that focuses on important defensive positions from catcher to middle infielders at shortstop and second base and then into the outfield with a center fielder.

This East Carolina team is…

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s 64-54 women’s basketball win at SMU on Thursday night gave the Pirates consecutive victories for the first time since December.

The Pirates (13-11, 4-7 American) had four double-figure scores, led by Raven Johnson’s 18 points and five rebounds. She was 2-of-4 from…

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s baseball season will begin Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and from there the series schedule versus Radford will be fluid.

Changes were made Thursday morning to the weekend schedule because of expected rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Revised Weekend…

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February 13, 2019

Joe Dooley has warned about these funks, especially on the offensive end, that East Carolina’s basketball team has been prone to lately.

It happened again Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum when the Pirates were plenty competitive against a more talented Memphis team, but the Tigers pulled…

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February 13, 2019

Dorthea Forbrigd shot a career-low 54-hole score of 209 (7-under-par) to claim a share of first place at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic this week.

It marked the third time in the career for Forbrigd, a junior, that she finished tied for first in a collegiate event. The Oslo, Norway, native led…

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February 12, 2019

East Carolina baseball has four left-handed pitchers and two of them, Alec Burleson and Jake Agnos, are set to be the Pirates’ first two starting pitchers of the season.

They will go about their starts in different ways, naturally, versus Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium. 

Burleson, a…

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February 12, 2019

East Carolina’s football team is basically being led by strength and conditioning director John Williams for another month, but head coach Mike Houston also has used weekly meetings with players and the team’s leadership council to receive positive feedback about workouts with Williams.…

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