Saturday is known as moving day in 72-hole golf tournaments and that’s exactly what unfolded at the Lilac City Invitational.
The movement went in both directions on another windy day at the Fairways. Vinnie Murphy, of Linden Country Club in Puyallup, Washington, Clarkston’s Drew Reinland and Spokane’s Dylan Maine climbed up the leaderboard while second-round leader Shane Prante missed an opportunity to take control of the tournament.
Murphy posted an 8-under-par 64 – the tournament’s lowest score by two shots – and Reinland shot a 68. They share the lead at 10-under 206 entering Sunday’s final round, but a number of players are still in the chase for the $10,000 first-place check.
Maine (66) and Prante (72) are one back at 9-under 207. Li Wang, who played at Yale after a decorated prep career at Eastlake High in Sammamish, Washington, is alone in third at 208 after a 67.
Spokane’s Corey Prugh (68) is three strokes back while 2013 champ Russell Grove (66) and 2016 champ Derek Barron (68) are four behind.
“I let everybody back into the tournament,” said Prante, director of instruction at The Home Course in DuPont, Washington. “But I’ve still got a chance.”
Reinland, who started the day three strokes behind Prante, held a two-shot lead on No. 18, but his approach nestled in the cattails left of the green. He returned to the drop zone and eventually made double bogey.
“Bad shots happen, you just kind of roll with it,” shrugged Reinland, who played and coached at Lewis-Clark State College and teaches at Dave’s Valley Golf Center in Clarkston. “Everybody (on the leaderboard) is super good and I know who they all are. It’ll be fun to play with them.”
Reinland, 27, made birdie putts from 10-12 feet on Nos. 11 and 14 and chipped in for birdie after missing the 13th green left by 10 yards.
The 23-year-old Murphy, who played at Grand Canyon (Arizona) University, won the Bremerton Amateur last weekend. The Puyallup High grad is playing in his first pro event. He turned in 5-under 31 and birdied No. 10 and both back-side par 5s.
Maine, who played professionally in Arizona and on the PGA Tour-Canada, saved par with a 10-footer on No. 5. That was his closest brush with bogey. He carded six birdies and finished strongly with birds on 14, 16 and 17.
“I hit it really solid, I think I hit 17 greens,” the Freeman High product said. “All you can ask is to be near the lead going into Sunday. I put myself in good position.”
Maine moved back to Spokane 10 months ago. He’s been working in sales, so his time on the course has been limited.
“I’ve just been playing here or there,” he said. “It’s been nice to get back out and get into tournament mode. I’m a little bit (surprised), but I came in with no real expectations. There was no pressure on myself to play well. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Prante struggled on the swift greens. He had a 20-footer for eagle on the par-5 third and ended up making par. He missed short par putts on 11 and 17. He flushed his drive on the down-wind 12th, but the ball sailed through the fairway and into the water.
“Normally from 5 to 7 feet I’m really solid,” he said. “I had a hard time seeing the lines on the short putts and I wasn’t leaving myself in good spots either.”
Scores have been higher than usual at the Fairways as players deal with windy conditions.
“The first two days it was swirling and gusting, and it was hard to get anything close,” Prante said. “It’s wasn’t as bad (Saturday), but it was still windy.”
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