CALGARY — Steve Flesch wasn't as sharp on the greens in the second round, but he still managed to move atop the Shaw Charity Classic leaderboard.
After shooting 62 on Friday to come within one shot of tying the course record at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club, Flesch carded a round 2-under 68 on Saturday to take the outright lead at 10 under at the PGA Tour Champions event.
“Today I played just as well as yesterday, but I didn’t hole any putts,” said Flesch, who had a chance to make an eagle on the par 5, 18th hole, but settled for birdie instead. “Hopefully (Sunday) I’ll convert some more birdies, because I expect it will take a pretty good round to win.”
Flesch’s birdie on the final hole of the par 70, 7,086-yard layout gave him a one-shot lead over Tom Gillis and Wes Short Jr. heading into Sunday’s final round of the 54-hole tournament.
“I’m surprised I’m leading,” said Flesch, who fully expects that he won’t be in the lead anymore when he tees off in the last group on Sunday. “I expected if I shot 2 under today, I would have lost some ground.”
Gillis made six birdies on his front nine before going even par over his final nine holes to finish Saturday’s round at 6-under 64.
“The first hole I hit it right of the green and I was like, here we go again, and then chipped it in, which none of that’s been happening,” said Gillis, who admitted he’s been struggling with his game all season long. “So, that’s kind of how it started. It put me in a good frame of mind.”
A solid round moved Gillis up from 21st place and into a tie for second spot with Short at 9 under.
“I’m going to try to do whatever I did today, that’s it,” said Gillis of his mindset heading into the final round. “Not over-think it and play free, just go from there. We’ll see what happens. I don’t really have any expectations the way the year’s been so far.”
Short also birdied the 18th hole to get into Sunday’s final grouping with Flesch and Gillis.
“I like the course, it suits me well,” said Short, who followed up the 64 he shot on Friday with a 67. “I’ve got a chance to win the tournament. That’s all you want going into the last day.”
After his 1-under round of 69, Tom Byrum is alone in fourth place at 8 under.
Two-time defending Shaw Charity Classic champion Scott McCarron highlights a group of seven golfers who are tied for fifth spot at 7 under. Also in that group are first-round leader Michael Bradley as well as Corey Pavin, Gibby Gilbert III, Ken Duke, Tim Petrovic and Billy Andrade.
After carding a 66 on Friday, David Morland IV, of Aurora, Ont., struggled on Saturday and shot 72 to fall back into a nine-way tie for 22nd spot at 4 under.
“It’s always great to play back home,” said Morland, who now resides in Palm Coast, Fla. “Fan support’s been awesome and we’ll see if we can shoot a low one (Sunday) and catch the boys.”
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member and former Calgary resident Stephen Ames is in a tie for 40th spot with six other golfers at 2 under after shooting 71 on Saturday.
Laurence Heinen, The Canadian Press