Fuhrer Invitational: Ex-prep star sits in first at 5 under

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Christo Greyling is a native of South Africa who went to high school at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando, Fla. At the time, he and his high school teammate, Ty Tryon, were considered two of the best junior players in the country.

If Tryon's name sounds familiar, he was the teenage sensation who became the youngest player to qualify for the PGA Tour at age 17. He and Greyling, who went to golf-power Georgia on a scholarship, were considered can't-miss PGA Tour players.

But they have gone their separate ways in the years since dominating the central Florida high school golf scene, and neither has found a home on the PGA Tour. The road has taken Greyling many places, including Western Pennsylvania and back.

In his latest return, he is the 54-hole co-leader at the $200,000 Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational, where he is considered a favorite to win the $40,000 first prize.

Greyling, 31, was one of just two players to post a subpar score in Tuesday's third round at the Field Club, shooting a 3-under 67 despite bogeys at two of the final three holes to finish at 5-under 205.

That left him in a tie with another player from Orlando with similar prominence -- Eric Cole, the son of former South African player Bobby Cole and former LPGA star Laura Baugh.

"I had a nice round going, no bogeys, till the last handful of holes," Greyling said.

He is no stranger to the rolling hills and tree-lined fairways in Western Pennsylvania. Before he qualified for the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, Greyling moved to Shadyside and lived on Bellefonte Street for three years while his then-fiancee, Laura, did her residency at UPMC Shadyside. After getting married, Greyling and his wife moved to Augusta, Ga., where Laura is doing another residency.

It was the second round in a row Greyling posted the day's low score. After opening with 72, he shot 66 in the afternoon during Monday's 36-hole start.

Greyling made five birdies and was leading the tournament at 7 under when he hit his 6-iron tee shot at the 202-yard 16th into the greenside pond and made bogey. At the par-3 18th, he misjudged the wind and tugged a 6-iron over the back left portion of the green, down a steep grassy slope. Another bogey.

"It almost felt like the wind would be helping," Greyling said.

Mike Van Sickle, the defending champion and a mini-tour player from Gibsonia, had similar issues with the wind when he bogeyed No. 16 and 17, dropping him to 3-under 207, two shots behind the leaders.

He thought he was hitting into the wind when he flew a 6-iron over the green at the downhill 16th. And he "definitely" thought he was hitting into the wind at the 425-yard 17th when his 9-iron approach also flew the green.

"I got tricked by the wind twice," Van Sickle said.

The wind and tight pin positions made scoring difficult in the third round.

Robert Rohanna, a mini-tour player from Waynesburg, was the only other player to better par, shooting 68. That moved him to 1-under 209, tied with second-round leader Dan McCarthy, who shot 77; and Jay Woodson (70).

Cole made only two birdies all day, but one of them was a 10-footer at the final hole -- a 196-yard par 3 -- to lift him into a tie with Greyling. They will be in the final pairing beginning at 9:21 a.m. today.

Cole is thrilled to play for a first prize that is considerably larger than any he has played for on the mini-tours.

"I don't think there are any tournaments like this," said Cole, who shot 71. "It's a great purse on a fantastic golf course."

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com and Twitter @gerrydulac.


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