Several familiar names worked their way up the leaderboard Saturday at the 26th Rosauers Open Invitational, and they were a bit surprised they didn’t have to work harder to get there.
Two-time champion Corey Prugh and Shane Prante share the lead after 36 holes at 10-under 132. Former Eastern Washington Eagle Kyle Kelly, the 2010 champ, is one of three players one shot back entering the final round today at Indian Canyon.
Matt Cowell, who equaled the course record with a 61 Thursday, had it to 3-under, but played the final five holes in 4-over to settle for a 72. Cowell, assistant pro at Lake Padden in Bellingham, joins Kelly and Chuck Milne, co-owner of the Vanco Driving Range in Vancouver, Wash., at 133.
Prante, who played at Saint Martin’s University, shot a 7-under 64 to go with Thursday’s 68. Prugh followed up his opening-round 67 with a 65.
“I’m shocked that 10-under is leading,” said Prante, who had seven birdies, including all three par 5s, and no bogeys. “I thought I’d need a 64 or 63 to get within three or four shots, but I’m excited. This section has great players, top to bottom. I’ll try to go out and do it again tomorrow.”
Prante, who was fifth at last week’s Lilac City Invitational, saved par from sand traps on 8 and 10, one requiring a tap-in putt and the other a 15-footer.
Prugh made birdies on 1, 2, 4, 11, 14, 15 and 18.
“I played pretty clean; didn’t do anything really stupid,” said Prugh, who is battling a stomach bug. “I bogeyed 8 and made par on (the par-5) 12th, which sometimes feels like a bogey, but beside that it was pretty good.
“I’m hitting it at three-quarters power, so I’m kind of bunting it down there, but you can get away with it here.”
Prante, Prugh and Cowell tee off in the last group at 11:40 a.m.
Kelly had eagles on No. 2 and No. 18, both par-5s. He came home with wedge on No. 2 and drained a 15-foot putt. He clipped a tree on his drive on 18, but his 3-iron approach from 210 yards left him a 10-footer.
“I drove the ball 10 times better than I did (Friday),” said Kelly, pro at Tamarisk in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
“I was playing from the fairways. The course is about as firm as I’ve seen it so it’s important to hit the fairways.”
Brandon Kearney (69-66), three-time champ Jeff Coston (68-67), Josh Immordino (67-68) and Ryan Malby (66-69) are at 135. Brady Sharp (67-69) and Rob Seibly (67-69), who tied for third with Kelly and Kearney last year as the low amateur, are at 136.
Six players are at 137, including Avondale assistant Russell Grove (71-66), former Eagle Brian Thornton (64-73) and ex-Washington State Cougar Hank Frame (72-65), who aced the 13th, which was playing 164 yards. He used an 8 iron to record his fifth career hole-in-one.