BANDON, Oregon (May 7, 2013) -- When Greg Wardle saw the 288 yard marker on the first tee of Bandon Trails on Tuesday, his eyes started focusing in on the green up ahead on the tight uphill par-4, playing straight into the cold morning breeze. With his partner Andrew Matagrano (a fellow member of California Golf Club near San Francisco) safely in play, the Australian native Wardle put a peg in the ground and drove his ball to eight feet, quicker than you can say "Australian, for beer."
Nevin Ellenberger, a caddie in the group, was quick to rib Wardle.
"Feeling it today, are we?"
Not missing a beat, Wardle joked back "I'm always feeling it."
Indeed, the drive (and he was the only one to try it all day) and ensuing birdie were a good omen for the round, as Wardle would add two more birdies and his steady-as-she goes and sneaky long partner Matagrano would make three as well, getting the team to 6-under with three to play.
On No. 16, the uphill par-5, Matagrano would break the tie with his partner as he holed a two-putt birdie for lucky 7-under, where they would finish. (That 64 is the lowest round ever posted at Bandon Trails in this event.) Wardle and Matagrano are 6-under for the 72-hole tournament with one round to play, trailing Trey Coker and Ben Hargis of Louisiana (72-65-68=205) by two shots.
Coker and Hargis fired 3-under 68, helping them stay in front. They've had a low round of their own, yesterday at Pacific Dunes when they fired 65.
The teams will battle it out at Bandon Dunes, the resort's original course fast by the Pacific Ocean, in Wednesday's final round. It should be interesting!
In the Senior Division, the team from Bakersfield of Greg Lockard and Bryan Lynne continue to improve every day, and today posted the day's lowest score in their division, a 1-under 70. Coming off rounds of 76 and 72, they stand at 5-over for the tournament and two shots in front of two-time champions Sherman Haggerty and Ben Whipple from El Dorado Hills, Calif.
In the Net Division, Dieter Dammeier (Alta Loma, Calif.) and partner Chris Lawton (Garden Grove, Calif.) once again covered each other when needed, avoided the big number and posted their third straight round in the 60's (a 65) for a one stroke lead over Steven Bobus and Ed Ruiz (San Francisco Bay Area).
Bobus (who aced Old Mac's 8th hole on Sunday) and Ruiz were one of two teams who posted 62 in the Net Division at Bandon Trails; the other was the Marin County, Calif. team of Stuart MacKeachie and Dave Freeman.
While Wardle's drive on No. 1 (heck, nobody else even tried it) wins the shot-of-the-day, a close second belongs to Mark Sicner.
Sicner, playing with Randall Schwartz, tried driving the 8th green, and thought his ball was in play but couldn't find it. After doing the long walk-of-shame back to re-tee, (where every one is annoyed as they were already waiting on that hole) he drove the green and made a 50-footer for par. Perhaps best of all, Sicner jumped up in the air like Phil Mickelson when he made the winning putt for his first masters.
View results for amateurgolf.com 2013 Two Man Links at Bandon Dunes