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In prime scoring conditions, Frankie Capan and Ben Smith play their way to top of South Beach leaderboard


Frankie Capan has created some buzz this holiday season. After leading through much of the Maridoe Amateur at the start of the month – and playing his way to the Round of 16 at that event – the Florida Gulf Coast transfer finds himself at the top of another stacked leaderboard.

Capan, from North Oaks, Minnesota, fired a 5-under 65 at Normandy Shores Golf Course in Miami to claim a share of the second-round lead at the South Beach International Amateur.

Conditions were prime in South Florida on Sunday, and Capan wasn’t the only one who took advantage. Georgia Tech redshirt junior Ben Smith brought in a late round of 7-under 63 on Normandy Shores to catch Capan. After 36 holes, the field was cut to the top 65 players and ties for the second half of the event. The cut fell at even par.

After making headlines at Maridoe, Capan told Golfweek he’d put in considerable work during quarantine and was looking forward to the summer season. Mentally, he said, he’s been keeping the game a lot more simple for the past few months.

Capan began working with George Gankas, the well-known instructor in Southern California who famously works with Matthew Wolff, since May of 2019.

Since mid-summer, Capan has won the Minnesota Amateur, narrowly missed a return to match play at the Western Amateur and advanced to the second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur.

On Sunday at Normandy Shores, he had five birdies in his first 11 holes and closed the round by bookending an eagle at No. 16 with bogeys at Nos. 15 and 17.

For his part, Smith, of Novi, Michigan, also eagled the 16th. His five birdies on the day came in the first seven holes and he added one more at No. 10.

Both men are 8 under and have a one-shot lead on Englishman Archie Davies, who brought in a 65 on Normandy Shores.

A loaded leaderboard also includes Garrett Barber, a 2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion, in a share of seventh at 5 under. Cole Hammer, who came straight south from the Walker Cup practice session at Bay Hill in Orlando earlier this week, had a 2-under 69 at Miami Beach Golf Club to also land in a tie for seventh.

Will Holcomb, the Maridoe Amateur medalist, is 4 under and T-17 after a second-round 68 at Normandy Shores.

Duke commit Kelly Chinn, recently named the AJGA’s Rolex Player of the Year, is T-26 after his 4-under 66 at Normandy Shores.

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