Saturday is referred to as moving day in 72-hole golf tournaments, and that was certainly the case at the Lilac City Invitational.
Movement in both directions.
The final group struggled, opening the door for a handful of players to climb up the leader board at the Fairways.
Peter Lansburgh made the biggest move, firing a 6-under-par 66 for a three-day total of 12 under and a one-shot lead over good friend Jesse Schutte. T.K. Kim and first-round leader Steve Tarkon are two shots off the pace at 10-under 206.
Lansburgh started the day three shots behind North Idaho College coach Russell Grove, who was at 12 under before a messy triple bogey on No. 13. Grove, the 2013 Lilac champion, and 2016 champ Derek Barron (69) trail by three shots entering Sunday’s final round.
Lansburgh, based in Sacramento, California, heard about the Lilac from Schutte, the 2016 runner-up. The two are traveling together this spring and summer to events in the Midwest and on the Dakotas Tour.
The two went on a lengthy road trip – from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Los Angeles to Sacramento to Schutte’s home in Florence, Oregon, and then a quick stop in Eugene to check out Oregon’s campus before arriving in Spokane.
“We spread it out, stayed four or five days in Florence,” Lansburgh said. “But it was a lot of continuous driving.”
The 31-year-old Lansburgh appears to be getting more comfortable with the Fairways with each round. He opened with a 71, followed by a 67 (Friday’s low round) and a 66, matching Patrick Sato and Daniel Miernicki for the day’s best score.
Lansburgh putted well and kept the ball below the pins on the speedy greens en route to seven birdies and a single bogey.
“I made a 20-footer on 4 for birdie, but nothing crazy long. Most were in the 10-foot range,” he said. “The greens are rolling so perfect.”
Lansburgh, Schutte and Kim, who played at Boise State, tee off at 1:20 p.m. in the last group, chasing a $10,000 first-place check.
Grove reached 12 under after an eagle on the par-5 third and birdies on the next two holes. He three-putted No. 10 for bogey but got it back with a birdie on the par-5 12th. He pushed his tee ball right on the par-3 13th and found the water, leading to a triple.
“I felt like on the back nine I kind of lost focus,” Grove said. “I felt like I forgot how to play golf there for a little bit.”
Playing partners Derek Bayley (74) and 2018 champ Vinnie Murphy (76) had off days, too. Bayley, the former Washington State Cougar, trails Lansburgh by six strokes, while Murphy dropped into a tie for 22nd.
“I think I still have a shot if I can get in the right mindset (Sunday),” Grove said. “Hopefully, I’ll feel a little better over the ball.”
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