Austin Rene's second day of professional golf Thursday in Hartford, South Dakota, turned out to be one for the record books.
The Jamestown golfer scored a Central Valley Golf Course 18-hole record of 10-under-par 62 on Day 2 of The Dakotas Tour 2020 opener. Rene has made Friday's final cut and is currently locked in a six-way tie for 12th overall at 8-under 136 following two of three rounds.
Rene, the only North Dakota golfer out of 82 participants registered to compete for a total purse of $66,600 this week in Hartford, trails tournament leaders Pete Skirpstas of Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Eric Ansett of Nashville, Tennessee, by five strokes.
The final cut came in at a stout 6-under par. Rene tees off Friday morning at 8:30.
"When I handed my card in today the (course) pro said it was the course record," said Rene, whose previous best round of 18 was a handful of 65s fired at Jamestown Country Club. "The cut's about 4 under right now. Yesterday I shot 2 over, so I knew I needed to post something low, and I guess I did just that."
Rene was one of three University of Jamestown seniors, along with twin brothers Michael and Allan Pruss, who were not afforded a final college spring golf season due to COVID-19. The accounting major, and former Jamestown High School standout, plans to receive his diploma in person during 2020 commencement ceremonies scheduled for Oct. 10, part of UJ homecoming.
"I kinda made the decision to keep golfing awhile back," Rene said. "I knew I always wanted to give professional golf a shot, so I definitely was bummed out that we didn't have a spring season that I could prepare myself for this.
"It was a circumstance unlike anything we've ever seen, so you just kinda dealt with it one blow at a time."
The Dakotas Tour is normally a 19-event professional golf tour played annually in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, where tour members compete for approximately $750,000 in prize money between the last week of June and the first week of September, according to information provided by The Dakotas Tour's website (www.dakotastour.com).
This summer's tour has 16 tournaments planned, which began this week in Hartford and will end on Aug. 21-23 at Fargo Country Club.
Rene reigned in his game Thursday following Wednesday's score of 74. Central Valley Golf Course measures 6,326 yards with six par 4s measuring less than 350 yards and two more that measure less than 380 yards.
"You can drive the greens and yesterday I probably went for one too many," Rene said. "Today I laid back and attacked the pins from the fairway. I gave myself a lot of looks from inside 100 yards and I was just dialed in with the wedges."
Regardless of Friday's final outcome, a round of 10 under to start a professional career is something to which Rene can hang his hat.
"Hopefully I can gain enough experience and prove to myself that I can make it with these guys," Rene said. "And, hopefully, continue on."
The Dakotas Tour
Central Valley Golf Course
Leaderboard Thru 2 of 3 Rounds
1T. Eric Ansett, Nashville, Tenn., 64-67--131; Pete Skirpstas, Jacksonville, N.C., 68-63--131; 3. Sulman Raza, Eugene, Ore., 63-69--132; 4T. John Greco, Sunnyvale, Calif., 69-65--134; Andre Metzger, Sioux Falls, S.D., 66-68--134; Julian Taylor, Kansas City, Mo., 63-71--134; 7T. Justin Doeden, Prior Lake, Minn., 66-69--135; Jeff Burton, Scottsdale, Ariz., 68-67--135; Charles Merzbacher, Chattanooga, Tenn., 65-70--135; Ross Miller, Maple Grove, Minn., 69-66--135; Tyler Ostrovsky, Oxnard, Calif., 68-67--136; 12T. Austin Rene, Jamestown, N.D., 74-62--136; Jared du Toit, Scottsdale, Ariz., 67-69--136; Corey Pereira, Cameron Park, Calif., 71-65--136; Brady Calkins, La Quinta, 68-68--136; Alex Scott, Traverse City, Mich., 67-69--136; Jeff Swegle, Cumming, Iowa, 69-67--136; 18T. Broc Everett, West Des Moines, Iowa, 68-69--137; Joshua Gibson, Grandville, Mich., 65-72--137; Sam Gillis, San Jacinto, Calif., 67-70--137; Chris Gilman, Yorba Linda, Calif., 70-67--137; Thomas Lehman, Scottsdale, Ariz., 71-66--137; Andrew McCain, Knoxville, Tenn., 66-71--137; Brax McCarthy, Benbrook, Texas, 71-66--137; Matthew Walker, Ottumwa, Iowa, 66-71--137.