Nova Scotia Mid-Am: Burns leads entering final round
From the Nova Scotia Golf Association

NEW GLASGOW, Nova Scotia (July 20, 2014) -- The best was saved for last Saturday at Abercrombie Golf and Country Club in New Glasgow, that's because Bill Burns was in the final pairing. Burns, a Sydney native, entered the day two strokes back of first round leaders Matt Vaughan and Paul Coulson, and ventured on to the course last heading out at 2:30 in the afternoon.

As the score cards began to come in, it was a 68 from River Hill's Aaron Nickerson which talk of the clubhouse as he held the tournament lead at +1. As more and more groups came in it seemed as though Nickerson would take the lead heading into the final round, however Burns was still on the course and he did not disappoint turning in a -1 (70) to take a one shot lead into tomorrow's final round sitting at even par for the tournament. "My goal this week was to hit the ball solid, I have done that, the course reminds me a lot of Highland Links and I have enjoyed my two days here" explained Burns.

Despite his solid play in his two days here at Abercrombie, Burns acknowledged this year has been a struggle for the Lingan member "I haven't hit the ball that well all season, and I have ballooned up to a handicap of about 4.5 to 5 I am certainly deserving of that handicap right now it's been a really frustrating year, but I worked hard the last couple weeks to turn things around". That poor start to the year had Burns in a later pairing then he would normally be accustomed to based on handicap, however as he approached number 9 tee he was actually -3 he would end up bogeying his last two holes despite an excellent tee shot on #10 which fell off the green from the slope uphill towards the pin.

In total Burns would end up with four birdies while collecting three bogeys, and will play with Aaron Nickerson and Paul Coulson in the final group on Sunday. When asked what it would mean to win a provincial championship of the mid-amateur caliber Burns explained it would be 35 years in the making but he doesn't want to look to far ahead."I can't even go there, I have been trying this provincial thing for 35 years now. I had a second runner up in Lingan a few years back at the Senior, and that was the Senior I mean there are too many kids here I am just going to go out and hopefully I am competitive" said Burns.

Nipping right at Burn's heals is Aaron Nickerson who had a great day firing the tournament low 68 to put himself in great shape for Sunday. "It was pretty solid I hit the ball good except for a couple holes, things really got started for me with a 45 foot twister on #2 for birdie. I let a few opportunities slip, but I tried to keep things in perspective and not bogey. With the greens out here there are holes you can take advantage of some you can't and I just picked my right opportunities to score" said Nickerson, dissecting his game.

Nickerson would end up recording three birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 17 which was the difference in his score card "I asked the guys to pull the pin on #17 and I used a 60 degree (wedge) and fortunately it rolled in, that was the TSN turning point" Nickerson said with a grin. Nickerson is no stranger to success and has won Mid-Amatuer titles before once in 2008 and also in 2012.

Rounding out the top five is a three way tie for 3rd place with first round leaders Paul Coulson, Matt Vaughan both stroking scores of 75, and Chris Topshee of Oakfield shooting a 71 to sit at +3 for the tournament. Coulson nearly shot himself out of contention on the opening nine carding a 40; however the Truro Golf Club member settled down and turned in a 35 on the back nine. "I started the front nine with a couple pars ran into a bit of trouble on number three, but the wheels started to fall off on #6 when I got stuck in some bunkers. I bogeyed #8 and #10 but hunkered down on the back nine and got 1 stroke back on #17 it was a scrappy round for me".

Coulson said patience is key when things are not going well on the course "patience is so important, not letting the little bad breaks get to you. In the past I would struggle with that so I was happy I could turn it around today". Heading into tomorrow Coulson said regardless of what happens it's more experience he can draw on "winning would be really cool, I have never finished this high, last year at Ashburn when I finished 18th was my best result. I really started to get back into golf again when I was 40, and this is only my 4th year playing competitive tournaments so every tournament is more experience for me. Last year I played in the third to last group and you have a bit of a gallery and it's fun to see how you'll handle that. Stuff like this is another stepping stone so I am excited to see how I'll handle it and I'll learn from that and ultimately go after it tomorrow".

ABOUT THE Nova Scotia Mid-Amateur

54-hole stroke play event open to Amateur Male Members of recognized NSGA Golf Clubs who have reached their 25th birthday by August 1 of the year in which the competition is being conducted.

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