Alex Ellis Takes Firecracker Lead with 66 in Second Round

Alex Ellis posted a second round 66 to go with a first round 68 to put him at 134, 8 under par and grab the lead in the Firecracker Open.   Ellis got off to a fast start with birdies on three of his first five holes then cooled off in the middle of the round but finished strong.   Ellis, a former Westlake standout now plays at the College of Charleston for Mark McEntire and David Kite. Watch this video to see his comments about his round and playing college golf.  Click here

There are four players at 6 under par, including Chris Hartenstein (65-71), Michael Smith (72-64), Seth Stuart (68-68)  and Jordan Hawkes (71-65). 

Mike Allen, Nicholas Cristea, Charlie Laudermilk, Dylan Sheppard and Tyler Robert Wolf-Barnes are at 5 under with three players at four under and five at 3 under.  Needless to say, it will be a shoot out on Monday.

Chris Hartenstein who plays out of Great Hills, had a two shot lead going into the second round and posted an even par 71.  He commented that he had a chance to tie the lead with four foot putts on his final two holes of play but the Muny greens prevented him from captalizing on those opportunities.  See he comments in this video.

Michael Smith, who recently won the Texas Public Links at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, had the low round of the day with a 64 to go with his first round 72.  Smith, who recently won the Texas Public Links Championship,  plays for Stephen F. Austin and will be in his final year of eligibility next year.  See his comments on his round here.

The pace of play was again a subject of discussion as players marveled at four hour rounds and commented about how nice it was to play at that pace.

The scoreboard area is always a gathering place at the Firecracker Open as demonstrated by some of the shots of players such as Nicholas Cristea, Brian Kennedy, and Vince Brunson.  Other players, like Cole Shiflet, were on the practice tee working on their game.  James Gustafson, T. Ross Henry, and Ben Carter enjoyed a cool beverage and discussed the scores and payout schedule for the tournament.  See a photo album of the Firecracker Open here.

The complete leaderboard and Monday's tee times are available at  The leaders are scheduled for a 1:30 tee time in the final round. 

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