Derek Barron and Kevin PomArleau share the 36-hole lead at the 53rd Lilac City Invitational. No surprise there.
Brian Miller, Corey Prugh and Shane Prante are close behind. No surprise there.
Familiar names are hanging out on Lilac leaderboard midway through the 72-hole tournament at the Fairways, which played a tad tougher Friday because of cooler, breezy conditions and brief rain showers.
“You get a little experience out here, it helps,” PomArleau said.
So does bogey-free golf. Barron, from Lakewood, Washington, and PomArleau, who has relatives in Wenatchee but resides in Palm Springs, California, had no bogeys on their scorecards. Barron drained eight birdies for an 8-under 64, the low round of the day. PomArleau made seven birdies to post 65. They’re at 12-under 132 through two rounds.
Defending champion Miller, of Indian Wells, California, was 1 over after his first nine holes Thursday, but he’s played the last 27 holes in 10 under. He shot a 67 to climb into a three-way tie for third with Prugh and Prante at 135.
Prugh, who edged Barron at last year’s Rosauers Open Invitational, shot a 69 and Prante, another perennial contender, shot a 68. Richland’s Zach Bixler, who played at the University of Washington, is at 136.
Barron started well, nearly holing out for eagle on No. 1. He added birdies on 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13 and 14.
“Even though the course isn’t super long, there’s enough trickery out here to make those bogeys pop up,” said Barron, who shot a bogey-free 65 on Wednesday to qualify for the Colorado Open. “I made a couple of longer par putts, one from about 25 feet.”
PomArleau bookended his round with birdies on Nos. 1 and 18. His birdie on the first, which has been extended 40 yards with a new back tee box, was produced by a nice wedge approach. Playing into the wind on the 417-yard 18th, PomArleau’s approach was 8 feet from a pin tucked on the right-front corner. He rolled in the slippery downhill putt.
“I didn’t make any bogeys, but I made a couple of mistakes,” said PomArleau, who tied for sixth last year. “I was pin high chipping on No. 10 and made par and I was about 10 feet (for eagle) on No. 12 and three-putted. So there were those two little mistakes, but you’re going to miss a few and make a few.”
Prugh had it to 5 under – 11 overall – after a birdie on 14 but dropped back with a double bogey on No. 15. He toured the front in 4-under 32.
“It wasn’t bad, six birdies, a double and a silly bogey on 10,” said Prugh, assistant pro at Manito.
Asked what he’s doing well, Prugh said, “I’m actually trying to have fun with the game again, which is helpful. I caught myself in the middle of Thursday’s round trying too hard and I thought, ‘Oh, have some fun.’ And I made a bunch of putts.”
Prante, pro at Fort Steilacoom Golf Course near Tacoma, made five birdies and a lone bogey, courtesy of a three-putt on the par 5 14th. He three-putted from 70 feet for par on No. 12. He saved par on 18 with a quality shot from a greenside bunker and he curled in a 4-footer.
“There were a couple of shots I let get away, but I’m playing pretty well,” said Prante, who shared sixth with PomArleau and Prugh last year. “It’s a four-day tournament so you’re only halfway there. The main thing is to be within a couple of shots one way or the other on the last day.”
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