Saturday is known as moving day at golf tournaments and Jason Humphrey made a big move at the Lilac City Invitational.
Humphrey fired an 8-under-par 64 – the lowest score of the tournament’s first three rounds – but his primary competition, Michael Roters and amateur Hank Frame, didn’t exactly move backward. Roters and Frame each shot 67s at The Fairways, meaning Frame has been atop the leaderboard after each round.
Frame, who will be a senior at Washington State University this fall, is 15-under with a three-round total of 201, one shot in front of Humphrey, who is from Coos Bay, Ore., and Roters, who owns Gateway Golf Discount in Clarkston. The three will play together again in today’s final round, teeing off at 10:40 a.m.
“I’m just playing for competition and to keep sharp,” said Frame, who isn’t eligible for the $5,000 first-prize check in the professional flight. “Last summer I didn’t play in any tournaments, so when I went into the fall I wasn’t competition sharp.”
The three thoroughly enjoyed playing together. Piling up birdies and an occasional eagle probably had something to do with it, not to mention the fact that Humphrey and Roters have known each other for seven years. Humphrey caddied for Roters on the Canadian Tour in 2009. The WSU golf team hits balls in the offseason at Roters’ driving range in Clarkston.
“It’s fun when you have two other guys making a lot of birdies,” Roters said. “I’ve played with Jason a lot, he went to LCSC. Hank can golf his ball, that’s for sure. He’s a good, young talent.”
Humphrey, who caddies at Bandon Dunes and has played in a few events on the National Pro Tour, tore up the front with a 6-under 30. He made birdie putts from 6, 20 and 10 feet and drained a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fifth. He birdied No. 9 after nearly holing his approach.
Humphrey wobbled a bit on the back side, hitting a ball into the water en route to a bogey on the par-5 12th and essentially three-putting the par-4 15th. He bounced back, ripping driver on the 367-yard 16th within 5 yards of the green and making birdie. He followed with a 10-footer for birdie on No. 17.
“It was a good comeback,” Humphrey said. “I putted really well.”
Humphrey and Roters are six shots clear of Bainbridge Island’s Austin Hurt, who shot a 68.
Frame had a messy bogey on the 501-yard par-5 14th, but he recovered by holing out from 76 yards for eagle on No. 15.
“Just had a good number with the wedge,” Frame said. “I felt like I had two bad holes in a row but luckily was only 1-over in that stretch. The eagle just kind of lifted my spirits.”