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Phay leads Rosauers Open entering final day

Golf ball. (Associated Press)
Golf ball. (Associated Press)

David Phay backed up one great round with another, and he wasn’t alone.

Phay fired a 7-under 64 Saturday at Indian Canyon to go with his opening-round 62 and built a three-shot lead at the 25th annual Rosauers Open Invitational. He’ll tee off in today’s final round at 11:30 with 2005 champion Ryan Benzel, who had a bogey-free 64 for a 129 total, and Kalispell, Mont., amateur Ryan Porch, who sits at 130 after carding a 66.

Manito assistant Corey Prugh, who won the Rosauers in 2011 and 2009, is four shots behind Phay after his second straight 65. The trio at 131 includes Avondale assistant Russell Grove, who shot a 68, The Fairways assistant Robert Selland, who had a 66, and Bend (Ore.) Country Club’s Brandon Kearney, who played his last 11 holes in 10 under for the day’s low round of 62.

Past champions within striking distance include Michael Combs at 132 after shooting a 63, Kyle Kelly (64) and Jeff Coston (71) at 133, and Casey McCoy at 134 after a 69.

Phay, the pro at Whidbey Golf and Country Club in Oak Harbor, Wash., shot an eventful 3 under on the front side.

“I think I had two pars, the rest were birdies and bogeys and a double,” said Phay, who is 6 under on the par 3s through two rounds. “I just tried to keep myself in good spirits and on the back I started playing well and rolling in the putts.”

Benzel, who finished way before thunder forced an 80-minute delay during the afternoon session, didn’t have a five on his scorecard. The former Idaho Vandal narrowly missed birdie putts on 7 and 8 but snaked in a 25-footer on No. 9.

“It probably had 8 feet of break and I curled it and it just dropped over the edge,” Benzel said. “It probably would have been more realistic to make one of the other ones, but it works out all the same.”

For the second straight day, Prugh shot 5 under on his first nine and 1 under on his last nine. He started on No. 10 Friday and No. 1 Saturday.

“I just have to put it all together,” he said. “I’ve played both front nines really well, I just haven’t let the momentum climb the whole time around. I’m not saying you should shoot 8 or 9 under every time, but it’s obviously doable out here.”

Kearney, who opened with a 69 Friday, started on No. 10 and was 1 over through seven holes before finishing with a barrage of birdies.

“It was nice,” Kearney said. “I finally got some putts to the hole and things started going in. The longest was maybe 35 feet on No. 8 (his 17th hole) and everything else was 15 feet at the longest.”

Phay has already accomplished one goal by being on the leaderboard.

“I’d like to win obviously, but I want to be in the hunt and get experience doing this. I haven’t had a lot of it,” he said. “We’ll see if I can do it under pressure (today). That’s what I want to experience, being under that type of pressure where you have to do it because two or three of those guys on the leaderboard are going to shoot 64, 65, maybe 62.”