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  • Meissner claims 36-hole lead at Bolingbrook

  • Wednesday, Meissner birdied all four of Bolingbrook’s par-5s, and he’s 6-under on those holes this week.
    Wednesday, Meissner birdied all four of Bolingbrook’s par-5s, and he’s 6-under on those holes this week.
  • In This Article
  • BOLINGBROOK, Illinois—Mac Meissner has been in this position before. Two weeks ago at the Auburn University Club Invitational, Meissner opened 62-68 and held a one-stroke lead with 36 holes to play. The magic he showed in the opening two days disappeared as he faltered, with a 75-69 finish to fall into a tie for 18th.

    Meissner is looking for a different result after he followed his opening, 4-under 68 at the Bolingbrook Golf Club Invitational with a sterling 65 Wednesday to again take a one-shot lead over a trio of players—Canada’s Joey Savoie and Americans Justin Doeden and Jake Scott. Six players are only two behind Meissner’s leading pace in the Forme Tour’s third event of the season.

    The Auburn setback was a good learning experience for Meissner, a Texan, who grew up in San Antonio, attended Southern Methodist University and still lives in Dallas.

    “At Auburn, I had two great rounds and was leading. It’s looking like I might be up there again today after this round,” he said after finishing his work early in the afternoon. “So, the goal for [Thursday] is to keep the pedal down and make as many birdies as I can. At Auburn, I think I kind of got a little bit complacent and was just OK with a top-20 finish. In hindsight, it should have been a lot better.”

    Wednesday, Meissner birdied all four of Bolingbrook’s par-5s, and he’s 6-under on those holes this week. In his second round, he also birdied No. 8 and No. 15, both par-3s.

    “Those are ones you don’t expect to get. It’s exciting when you do get them,” Meissner added. After his only bogey of the day, at the par-3 fourth hole, he birdied Nos. 5 and 8, with three pars to go with them for the 65.

    Canada’s Savoie, a native of La Prairie, Quebec, tied for 10th at the Forme Tour Qualifying Tournament in Georgia in April to earn conditional status. He wasn’t able to get into this week’s field based on his standing but did receive a sponsor’s exemption, and he’s putting it to good use. Savoie has only made one bogey in 36 holes, and he offset that with nine birdies and an eagle.

    Scott, a 33-year-old Ohioan, is rejuvenating his playing career. He played five Mackenzie Tour events between 2014 and 2018 before stepping away. After earning his playing privileges at the Qualifying Tournament in March, he’s in the hunt after a long hiatus. Scott missed the cut in the first two tournaments but matched Savoie’s 67-67, also recording only one bogey through 36 holes.

    Doeden won on the LOCALiQ Series last summer, capturing the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills in Florida. That was a 54-hole win, and Doeden knows the difference between this week and last year. “That was a quick event. Even though this is only one more round, this feels like a marathon compared to that,” Doeden noted. “That (win) definitely showed that I can do it. Every time I tee it up, I know I’m there.”

    Meissner, Savoie and Doeden will play in the final grouping Thursday, teeing off No. 1 at 10:01 a.m., CDT. Scott joins Jonathan Brightwell and Byron Meth in the second-to-last grouping, at 9:50 a.m.

    Did you know Mac Meissner’s brother, Mitchell, is playing in this week’s PGA TOUR Latinoamerica’s season-ending tournament, the Bupa Championship presented by Volvo, at PGA Riviera Maya in Tulum, Mexico? Meissner is 38th on the Points List but is coming off his best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at the Banco del Pacifico Open in Quito, Ecuador.

    Key Information

    • The cut came at 3-under, with 72 players proceeding to the final 36 holes.

    • First-round leader Matt McCarty never got anything going in Wednesday’s second round, shooting an even-par 72, eight shots worse than his opening score. Still, the Santa Clara Bronco is tied for 11th and only three back with 36 holes remaining.

    • Overall Points List leader Philip Knowles opened with a 4-over 76, shot a second-round 70 and missed the cut, the same plight as No. 2 on the Points List, Sam Saunders, who went 74-71.

    • With a hole-in-one at the par-3 fourth hole, Jonathan Brightwell “kickstarted” his round. He was 1-under for the day and 2-under for the tournament when his ball dropped in the hole from the tee for the eagle. That moved him to 4-under for the tournament, and he added five more birdies the rest of the way for the 64, tying him for low-round-of-the-week honors with opening-day leader Matt McCarty. “Today you could see the pin. I saw it land really close. Just about any time you see a good shot, you’re begging for it to go in. It’s a good feeling to see it drop. It landed right next to the hole and fell in. It was pretty cool,” Brightwell said of his third career ace and second in competition.

    • Justin Doeden was pleased with how he played the par-5 third hole, saying he “was out of position the entire hole” after hitting his tee shot a foot into the rough. “That was the thickest stuff all day,” he said. Once on the green, he rolled in a 20-foot putt with significant break to it for birdie. “I don’t know if you can say I stole one there, but it was good.”

    • England’s Greg Eason decided to make a change after missing the first two cuts of the season. He’s trying to draw the ball off the tee after playing a fade for “a long time.” Eason shot a 67 Wednesday following his opening 68. “It’s going a bit farther, a bit straighter and I’m giving myself a few more chances. I can’t really complain. It’s working so far,” he said of his change.

    • Playing partners Michael Johnson and Frederick Wedel both opened with 2-over 74s and were tied for 111th through 18 holes. On day two, the duo shot identical 67s to finish at 3-under and make the cut on the number. They had unique ways of getting to 67 Wednesday. Johnson was bogey-free, with his five birdies coming at Nos. 2, 3, 10, 12 and 14. Wedel’s scorecard had a bit more variety. He had two birdies and a bogey on the front nine before making three birdies, an eagle and a bogey on the back to go with his 12 pars.

    • The biggest improvement from day one to day two came courtesy of Benjamin Shipp, who shaved nine strokes off his opening-round score with his second-round 66. He had eight birdies and two bogeys to jump 70 places on the leaderboard.

    • Zach Cabra withdrew during the middle of his second round with an injury.

    • Due to the global pandemic that forced the cancellation of the 2020 Mackenzie Tour season, the Mackenzie Tour held a four-tournament series for those living in Canada. Joey Savoie played in three of those tournaments, posting three consecutive top-10s, including a final-round-infused 64 that led to a tie for second at the event at Bear Mountain Resort’s Valley Course.

    • Mac Meissner’s only real miscue of his second round came at the par-3 fourth hole. He landed his ball in the wrong spot on the green and watched it fall off, rolling 25 feet farther away from its landing spot. Facing an uphill, winding birdie putt, Meissner three-putted for bogey. “That was my only error. It’s a tough hole location for me, with the wind off the right with the pin tucked in the right (of the green), as well,” Meissner explained. “I had to land that thing perfect just to keep it up on top with the shot I was trying to hit, and I just landed it too far to the left and it took the slope down.”

    • James Hervol needed a low round Wednesday after his opening, 2-over 74, and that’s what he did. With four birdies and an eagle, Hervol fired a 6-under 66 to move up 65 places on the scoreboard to make the cut by a shot. Hervol has only played in one Forme Tour event this season, missing the cut at the L&J Golf Championship at Jennings Mill Country Club.

    Quotable

    “People don’t stop making birdies out here. The scores are always low, and I need to go as low as I can. I have to try to win this tournament by as many shots as possible.” –Mac Meissner

    “I did everything pretty well. The driver was better today than it was [Tuesday]. I hit a lot of good iron-approach shots.” –Mac Meissner

    “I think the key on this course is taking advantage of the easy holes. The par-3s are tough, but there are a couple of gettable par-4s and a couple of easy par-5s, and I took advantage of those today.” –Mac Meissner

    “I’m hitting the ball great. I’m driving it well and giving myself a lot of opportunities.” –Justin Doeden

    “I’m rolling it, I think, nicer than I have all year. I love the bent(grass) greens. I grew up on bent, so it kind of reminds me of home.” –Justin Doeden on his putting

    “My ball-striking is the best it’s been so far to date. But it’s early on. We still have a lot of golf left to go.” –Justin Doeden

    “It was 8 o’clock in the morning. We were pretty quiet in our group and then the ace. We high-fived, and I’m pretty sure I threw my club.” –Jonathan Brightwell on his reaction after his hole-in-one

    “I was able to hit a couple of par-5s in two and make a couple of nice two-putts. It was pretty stress-free for the most part.” –Jonathan Brightwell

    “I would say definitely college to pro, for sure. Everybody out here is pretty good. It’s the best of the best from every conference. All these guys can play. It’s a bigger jump, but it’s still golf. I think that’s what I realized.” –Jonathan Brightwell on his transition from amateur golf

    “It’s been a while since I’ve been in contention in one of these.” –Greg Eason on playing on the PGA TOUR’s International Tours

    “I was pretty good from 12 to 15 feet, and I had quite a few chances right at the start and took most of them.” –Greg Eason

    Second-Round Weather:
    Overcast and much cooler. High of 77. Wind SSE at 7 mph. Gusts in the afternoon reached 18 mph.