Three share lead at Fuhrer Invitational
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Strong, gusting winds ensured that no one took control of the field at the second day of the Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational Tuesday at Pittsburgh Field Club, and three players will enter the final round with a share of the lead.
David Bradshaw, Nathan Sutherland and Mat Schall, all touring professionals who entered the tournament through sponsors exemptions, sit at 2-over 212 through 54 holes.
With wind that blew at strengths of up to 20 mph Tuesday, birdies were difficult to find. Sutherland posted the only round under par, with a 1-under 69.
"[The wind] makes it about three or four shots harder for sure," Sutherland said. "Getting the ball close is really hard. Putting is difficult in the wind and when the wind blows, it continues to bake the greens out, so the greens are only getting firmer and faster."
Sutherland entered the day three shots behind the leaders, and took advantage of a mostly steady round to move ahead. He birdied the par-5 fifth and bogeyed the par-4 seventh on the front nine, and put together a steady string of pars throughout the middle of the course.
He made a 20-footer for par on No. 10 and recovered from a disastrous tee shot that hit a tree on the 11th to stay even. A birdie on the par-4 17th moved Sutherland to 2 under.
Schall looked ready to claim the solo lead after a birdie on the par-5 15 moved him to even par for the tournament, but bogeys on 16 and 18 brought him back to the field. Both holes were par 3s, where he found a bunker off the tee.
"The tee shot there on 18, you can't miss it left and I did. I hit it in the bunker and it's a pretty difficult up-and-down," Schall said.
Schall said that, with the winds and conditions playing so tough, players had to adjust.
"You just have to be a lot more patient and understand that pars are really good," he said. "If you go shooting at flags that are close to the edge, it's a lot easier to make bogeys on days like today."
Bradshaw needed some heroics down the stretch to stay in contention. After missing a 4-foot par putt on 14 to move to 4 over for the tournament, he birdied 15 and 18 to reach the lead pack.
On the 183-yard final hole, Bradshaw hit 6-iron to the right of the green and drained roughly a 50-foot putt.
"I just got lucky," Bradshaw said. "I was just trying to two-putt."
Mike Van Sickle, who entered the day tied for the lead, shot 72 to fall two strokes back heading into the final round. Van Sickle bogeyed the first four holes on the back nine, but bounced back and closed with a birdie on 18.
"To pick up one more shot and get a little bit closer to where the leaders are, that's a real positive," he said. "Makes me feel a little more positive about the round I just had to finish on a high note."
The 40-man field will return to action today for the final 18 holes to determine who takes the $30,000 first prize. Tee times start at 8 a.m., with the lead groups teeing off at 9:21 a.m.
First Published June 27, 2012 12:00 am