Yale's Ben Carpenter leads Connecticut Open by 2

Ben Carpenter, a rising sophomore at Yale, plays in the Connecticut Open at Country Club of Darien on Monday.

Ben Carpenter, a rising sophomore at Yale, plays in the Connecticut Open at Country Club of Darien on Monday.

Photo courtesy of the Connecticut State Golf Association

Ben Carpenter shot a 4-under-par 67 Tuesday to take a two-shot lead into the final round the 87th Connecticut Open at Country Club of Darien.

Carpenter, a rising sophomore on the Yale University golf team, stands at 9-under 133, 2 shots better than first-round leader Peter Ballo (Silvermine GC in Norwalk) and Milford’s Ben James (Great River GC). CC of Darien is Carpenter’s home course.

“I’m sure there is going to be a big crowd tomorrow. I’m playing great right now. It definitely helps (playing his home course). ... It’s definitely an advantage,” Carpenter said. “My short game is really good right now. I’ve been putting in a lot of work the last couple of months.”

Carpenter said he received a special exemption from the CSGA to play in this event. He is taking a summer class at Yale and he has had to do work in it over the first two days of the Open.

Ballo followed up his opening round of 64 with a 1-under 70 to stand 2 shots behind Carpenter. Ballo placed second in this event last year behind champion Max Theodorakis at Ridgewood CC.

“Definitely more of a roller-coaster today. ... At the end of the day, I still hit it pretty well,” Ballo said. “I want to come out and try to play a solid round of golf and not think about it.”

James fired a 6-under 65 to put himself into contention, birdieing our consecutive holes (12-15). The rising senior at Hamden Hall Country Day finished third in this championship two years ago at Torrington CC.

“I hit a lot of fairways, which is really important here, James said. “As long as I get the putts to the hole, I’m happy.”

There is a five-way tie for fourth place at 2-under 140, which includes reigning New England Amateur champion Cody Paladino and Blake Morris, who finished third in the Open last year.

joseph.morelli

@hearstmediact.com; @nhrJoeMorelli