Trio rises to top of ATB Classic leaderboard
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SHERWOOD PARK, Alberta—Eric Lilleboe shot a 9-under 63 Friday and joined Nicolo Galletti and Davis Lamb in a three-way tie at 12-under to share the 36-hole lead at the ATB Classic.
Lilleboe had nine birdies, including six on his final eight holes, to equal the lowest score relative to par posted on PGA TOUR Canada this season. Lamb, who had to Monday qualify to get into the field, shot a 68 and Galletti fired a 67 to create the three-way tie at 136 at the Northern Bear Golf Course.
“I just told myself to stay patient and ended up putting together a string of birdies that really got me going,” said Lilleboe, of Okemos, Michigan. “At that point it was just good talk with my caddie and picking good (yardage) numbers, picking good lines, being aggressive when I should be aggressive. It just turned into 9-under.”
Lamb, of Bethesda, Maryland, began the round one shot off the lead. He had five birdies but incurred a rare bogey on the par-5 15th hole.
“I’m happy with how I’m playing and I’m happy to be in this position, but there’s a long way to go,” Lamb said. “I just stayed patient. I didn’t get off the greatest start I wanted, but I rolled in a good birdie on No. 5 and kept it going from there.”
Galletti, of Berkeley, California, began the day tied for third. He overcame an early bogey and birdied six of his final 13 holes to move up two spots.
“The confidence is really high right now. I was driving it really well today, hit all 14 fairways, which is pretty huge out here. They have some holes that are really narrow. So, if I can just keep doing that, I should give myself a lot of chances and hopefully the putts will start going in,” Galletti said.
Charlie Reiter of Palm Desert, California, shot 66 and is alone in fourth place, one shot back at 11-under. Tied for fifth at 10-under were Ryann Ree of Los Angeles, California, who shot 66, and first-round leader Carr Vernon of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, who slipped to 71.
The low Canadian is Chris Crisologo of Vancouver, British Columbia, who shot 66 and is among four players tied for seventh at 9 under.
The long-hitting Reiter had a stretch of four consecutive birdies on the back nine and finished with a 31. His only misstep was a bogey at No. 6 that was predicated by an unplayable lie.
“I salvaged a bogey, which quite honestly was weird, but it kind of jump started me, and I fired off five quick birdies on the back nine,” Reiter said.
Vernon had three bogeys, including one of his final hole, the difficult par-4 ninth. But the poor finish didn’t diminish his optimism for the weekend.
“Overall, (I’m) excited about where my game is at,” Vernon said. “Looking forward to a good weekend. Just got to keep at it, keep focusing on one shot at a time and hit good golf shots.”
Twenty-eight Canadians entered this week’s ATB Classic. Of those 28, 10 made the cut. Through 36 holes, leading the way is Chris Crisologo, a 9-under and tied for seventh. Here are all the players who will be playing on the weekend.
|T7||Chris Crisologo||135 (9-under)|
|T11||A.J. Ewart||136 (8-under)|
|T11||Noah Steele||136 (8-under)|
|T21||Chris Wilson||137 (7-under)|
|T32||Jimmy Jones||138 (6-under)|
|T39||Jared du Toit||139 (5-under)|
|T39||Étienne Papineau||139 (5-under)|
|T39||Matthew Anderson||139 (5-under)|
|T49||Sudarshan Yellamaraju||140 (4-under)|
|T49||Aidan Goodfellow||140 (4-under)|
Eric Lilleboe again has Jordan Hoyda acting as his volunteer caddie this year. She carried his bag a year ago, when he tied for 12th at the ATB Classic. “We just got together by chance, and we clicked. I texted her a couple of months ago and said, ‘Hey, you want to get back on the bag this year?’ And she was all about it,” he said.
Chase Sienkiewicz had five birdies on Friday en route to shooting a 68. Three of those birdies came on par-3 holes—Nos. 4, 8 and 13. None of the putts were longer than 10 feet, either. “Throwing darts. I think the longest putt I’ve made this week has been 10 feet, so as long as I can get it rolling [Saturday] and make a couple here and there, we’ll be good,” he said.
Chase Sienkiewicz is in contention for the second time in three weeks. He is a rookie, who earned a spot on PGA TOUR Canada by finishing No. 19 on PGA TOUR University. He joined others like Sam Choi and Derek Hitchner of Pepperdine, Ben Carr of Georgia Southern and Connor Howe of Georgia Tech, who have already been on the leaderboard this season. “College golf is brutal,” Sienkiewicz said. “The pins are a lot harder. I’d say the scores aren’t as low, but you see guys like Ludvig (Aberg of Texas Tech) and Sam (Bennett of Texas A&M) tearing up golf courses now. Having the confidence that I can play at those guys’ level when I’m playing well, it’s very promising.”
Matt Liringis got more aggressive with his putts Friday, and it paid off with a 66, moving him into a tie for 21st. Liringis, of Greensboro, North Carolina, said, “Really just giving myself opportunities for birdies and then getting it to the hole. I left a lot of putts short and in the heart (of the cup) [Thursday], and today it was more of like, ‘OK, let’s get the pace up, take shots on pins where we can be aggressive, but also kind of be conservative elsewhere where we can.”
Gunn Yang of San Diego, California, shot a 63 Friday and makes the cut at 6-under 138. The 2014 U.S. Amateur champion, who is trying to come back from a second herniated disc, bogeyed the first hole and went on to record eight birdies and one eagle. Yang shot 63 in the first round of last week’s Elk River Saskatchewan Open and went on to tie for 17th.
David Timmins of Sandy, Utah,won the Monday qualifier to get into the field and has played his way into the weekend. Timmins shot 65 Friday and jumped into a tie for 11th. Six of the eight Monday qualifiers made the cut.
William Holcomb of Crockett, Texas, shot 68 and made his first cut in seven events played. Holcomb had failed to make the weekend in five starts on the Korn Ferry Tour and one start on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
Fortinet Cup points leader ÉtiennePapineau shot 69 and is tied for 39th. John Pak, who won last week’s Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open, shot 72-72 and missed the cut. Chris Korte, who entered the week No. 3 in the Fortinet Cup standings, bogeyed the final hole and missed the cut.
Amateur William Holan of Edmonton, who plays at Lipscomb University in Tennessee, shot 65 Friday in front of friends and family, but missed the cut by a shot. Kyle Fisher, an 18-year-old amateur from Leduc, Alberta, finished with a 70 to finish at even par and miss the cut.
“Hit it really good again. I didn’t putt very well, but I gave myself a lot of chances, so I was happy with that.” – Nicolo Galletti
“I feel good. I’ll stick to the game plan at this point. It’s just being aggressive when something suits your eye and play to the middle of the green if you have to when it doesn’t.” – Eric Lilleboe
“(The course) has definitely firmed up. The ball is rolling forever it seems, especially on the last few holes. They were really firm and hard to control where the ball ended up. But I should have been a little bit better at that.” – Carr Vernon
“I played the first two tournaments and I always start slow and then (make) a bunch of birdies in the second round and keep that momentum going into weekend golf. I talked to my dad about this [Thursday] night, and he said I’m just trying too hard and sometimes when you try too hard, you forget that you’re good enough to play good golf.” – Sam Choi
“I hit it a lot better. All my birdies were really close to the hole. I think my longest birdie putt was, like, six feet.” – Charlie Reiter
“It was a blast. It’s been a great week. I had some of my old teammates staying with me this week up in Edmonton, so it’s been pretty good vibes all week. Today was pretty special. It was fun. It’s nice to string together a good round and finish with a positive note.” –Amateur William Holan on his experience this week
“My mentality was just trying to be grateful about what I have and all the opportunities and it just worked. So maybe I just have to stay that way for my entire life. Maybe it’ll take care of my life.” – Gunn Yang on playing well again after his back injuries.
Second-Round Weather: Mostly cloudy and warm. High of 27. Wind N at 4-6 kph.