Competing in his first Metropolitan Amateur Championship, 16-year-old Justin Hemings of Edwardsville continued to show no fear Friday at Westwood Country Club.
One day after shooting an even-par 71, Hemings settled for a 4-over-par 74 and is just six shots out of the lead heading into the final round of the 54-hole event.
"I usually play in AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) events. but I saw this tournament and that it had a pretty elite field and so I thought I'd play here,'' Hemings said. "I hit it good today, especially with the driver and played pretty well. I just didn't make a lot of putts.
"My goal for tomorrow? I'd like to shoot under par. I haven't done that yet.''
Hemings, who plays out of Sunset Hills Country Club and is going into this junior year at Edwardsville High School, is at 3-over-par 145 and is tied for 11th with four other players.
Tournament leader John Anderson, of St. Louis, playing in the early morning session carded a 3-under 68 and is at 3-under 139 after two rounds Three players -- Joe Midgal, Skip Berkmeyer and first round leader Patrick Riordan -- are two strokes back with 36-hole totals of 141.
Defending champion Kyle Weldon (142) and Metropolitan Golf Association points leader and Belleville native Phil Caravia (143) also are within striking distance
In all, 41 of the 150-player field made the 36-hole cut of 9-over-par 151 and will play in the final round, beginning at 7 a.m. today.
Former Highland High School standout Brendan Bargetzi is at 144 and tied for eighth. Steven Souchek of Columbia is at 148 and tied for 23rd. A senior at SIU-Carbondale, Souchek shot a 76 in the second round.
Bargetzi, a 2010 graduate of Highland who is a junior at SIU-Edwardsville, shot a 74 after opening tournament play with a 1-under 70.
"I played well. I just didn't putt as well as I did yesterday,'' Bargetzi said. "Hopefully I can come out tomorrow and just continue to play well."
A former IHSA state champion at Belleville West, Caravia did everything a little better in the second round.
In a tight battle with Berkmeyer for Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year, Caravia shot a 2-under-par 69 and is at 1-over 143 for the tournament.
"I played much better today. I hit it straight and gave myself a chance to make some birdies," Carvia said. "There were a couple more that maybe I could have made, but I got back in the tournament today.
"If I can come out and shoot a good number tomorrow ... anything can happen. I'm probably going to need to go a couple of shots lower than I did today. It would be a good time for my lowest round of the year.''
Local players failing to qualify for the final round were Mark Gardiner (152), Chance Reuter (153), Torrey Welsch (153) Justin Beaston (154), Jim Dunn (156), Alex Flaugher (161), Dane Gray (161), Allen Kohnen (164) Justin Robinson (165), David Speicher (167) and Mason Wetzel (168).