VICTORIA, British Columbia (Aug. 7, 2008)--Ryan Hallisey of Granite Bay, Calif. ended the third round of the 42nd Pacific Coast Amateur Championship right where he started: one shot atop a crowded leaderboard. The 20-year-old University of Nevada rising junior shot 2-under-par 68 today at Royal Colwood Golf Club and heads into tomorrow’s final round a shot ahead of Jordan Irwin of Calgary, AB and Derek Tolan of Boulder, Colo.
All three played in the final group and each shot 68. Hallisey is at 11-under-par 199 over the 6,683-yard, par-70- layout, while Irwin and Tolan are at 10 under par. The trio will play in the final group again tomorrow. Tomorrow’s tee times begin at 8 a.m. off of the first and 10th tees, with the lead group teeing off of No. 1 at 9:57 a.m.
Low scores abounded today at the venerable layout, which was designed in 1913 by Vernon Macan. The top 10 players broke par, as did three of the next five players (overall, 24 did so). Graham Hill of Forest, Ont. was one of five players who tied for low round of the day, 4 under par 66, and is in fourth place at 7 under par, a shot in front of Lindsay Reynolds of Christina Lake, BC. Four golfers, including reigning Canadian Amateur champion Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, BC, are tied for sixth at 5 under par.
Although Hallisey’s score today was six shots worse than yesterday, he was philosophical about the result.
“I didn’t hit the ball as well today as I did yesterday and I didn’t make a lot of putts,” he said after his round. “But I’m still in pretty good shape.”
He bogeyed the third hole (his only bogey in 39 holes) but birdied the short par-4 eighth to balance his books for the day and posted two birdies on the back nine.
“I tried to stay patient,” he explained. “And that’s what I’ll have to do tomorrow, as well. With the way these guys are playing, I can’t afford to make many mistakes.”
The 23-year-old Irwin, who has won five NCAA D-1 tournaments at the University of Houston, termed his round “not very interesting.” He posted three birdies and just one bogey but he’s in the hunt, in part, because he sank a 10-foot par putt on the first hole and a 15-foot par putt on the seventh, the latter coming after he had made two birdies in a row.
“I’ve got to hit it closer tomorrow,” he said. “If I can’t do that, I won’t win because these guys [referring to his fellow competitors] aren’t going to shoot over par.”
Irwin is hoping for a repeat of his first round when he posted seven birdies en route to a 5-under-par 65 and a share of the first-round lead.
Tolan, 22, who has played in five Pacific Coast Amateurs, was happy to be in the hunt after a rough start, as he bogeyed the first hole and made double-bogey 5 on the fourth. When he got back to even par for the day with birdies on Nos. 5 and 7, “that was huge,” said Tolan after his round.
“After I made double, I just wanted to get back to even at the turn because I figured I would make a couple of birdies on the back nine.”
He did, on Nos. 14 and 18.
The 22-year-old Hill, who was a semifinalist in last year’s Canadian Amateur, was nowhere near the leaderboard today after playing 1-over-par golf for his first 12 holes. Five birdies in his final six holes vaulted Hill 15 spots up the board and put him just two shots behind the leader.
Taylor, 20, who played in this year’s U.S. Open and will seek to defend his Canadian Amateur title next week in Lethridge, AB, could be near or atop the leaderboard, but for the second consecutive day, he made four bogies on his round (along with six birdies). Taylor and Hallisey have each made 15 birdies over three rounds (Tolan has made 16).
Defending champion Mike Knight of Calgary slide to a 3-over-par 73 and finished in 20th place at 1-under-par 209, all but ending his chances of becoming the first player since Billy Mayfair in 1987-88 to win consecutive titles.