GOLDEN VALLEY, MN (August 30, 2016) -- Prior to winning his first Minnesota Golf Association Senior Amateur victory at Bearpath Country Club in 2013, Jim Lehman shared the lead with David Kokesh heading into the final round before edging Kokesh by one stroke, shooting 73 during the final 18.
A year later Lehman trailed David Haslerud and Leif Carlson by three shots following the second round at Somerset Country Club and came from behind to edge Haslerud and Mark Knutson by a single shot to claim his second straight MGA Senior Amateur in 2014.
The two-time MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year is staring at his best opportunity yet, firing a 1-under par 72 Tuesday at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club to take a two-shot advantage over Jerry Rose to Wednesday’s final round, seeking his third title in four years.
“I played really solid again; I had a couple of loose shots, which resulted in a couple bogeys and I had a three-putt, so I had three bogeys today. But I had four birdies and did a little bit better on the par-5s,” Lehman said after his second round Tuesday. “I need to improve on that tomorrow.
“This is my fourth straight round under par and I feel like I’m in a nice groove right now. Starting out with a couple of early birdies really helped a lot.”
Lehman, who began his second round on the 10th tee, fired a 1-under par 72 for the second straight day and started quickly with birdies on two of his first three holes.
He knocked an 8-iron to six feet at the par-3 11th before rolling in a tap-in birdie at the par-5 13th. Falling back to 2-under for the championship following a bogey at the 18th, Lehman rolled in his short birdie look on the first hole before giving back a shot at the second with a bogey.
Lehman, Windsong Farm, put his second shot at the par-5 sixth just short of the green and chipped to within four feet, converting his birdie, but a three-putt bogey at the seventh would put him back a 2-under for the championship, but he remains on top of the field at 144.
“I need to be patient and see what happens,” Lehman said ahead of the final round Wednesday. “I know I can play well enough to win—I just need to go out and do it. There are a lot of really good players in this tournament as usual and a lot of great friends of mine.”
Shooting 2-over par 75 during his opening round Monday, Jerry Rose came back with a 2-under par 71 Tuesday and will begin the final round two shots back of fellow Alexandria, Minn., native Lehman.
Rose, Alexandria Golf Club, began his second round on the tenth tee with a birdie his opening hole Tuesday before giving back a stroke with a three-putt bogey at the 11th to remain at 2-over for the championship.
Rolling in his birdie look at the 13th, Rose got back to 1-over, but dropped a shot with another three-putt for bogey at the 17th to turn at even for the round.
With birdies at the first and fourth holes, Rose quickly drew even for the tournament before failing to get up-and-down for par at the par-3 eighth. He would finish strong with a birdie on the closing hole to finish the day at 71 and into second place at 146 with 18 holes to play.
“I played a lot better today,” Rose said Tuesday. “I hit the ball off the tee a lot better and other than a couple three-putts, I played really solid. My short game was good and I putted pretty well.”
Despite rolling in five birdies during the second round Tuesday, Rose said he struggled getting the ball in the right spots on the green.
“I couldn’t get them to stick on the greens and they kept coming all the way off,” he said. “ These greens are so tough, if you’re in the wrong spot, you’re just playing defensively. You’ve got to get in the right spots, otherwise you don’t have a chance to think about making a putt. Out here you’ve got to capitalize on the par-5s.”
First-round leader, Leif Carlson, carded a 5-over par 78 during Tuesday’s second round and will begin the final round in a tie for third place with Haslerud, Greg Murphy and Skip Schultz at 149.
In the Masters Division (65 to 74-years-old), Schultz carded a 3-over par 76 Tuesday for a two-day total of 149 to earn medalist honors by four shots over Patrick Vincelli.
Bruce Odlaug, a rookie to the Grand Masters Division (75-years-old and older), carded a 79 during Tuesday’s round to earn top honors at 16-over par 162, one stroke better than David Haugan.
The final round of the 95th MGA Senior Amateur Championship is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m CT Wednesday at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.
View results for Minnesota Senior Amateur Golf Championship