FORT WAYNE – Autumn Ridge Golf Club was more forgiving in the second round of the Mens City Tournament.
But only slightly.
After an average score of 81.29 in the opening round, and only one round under par, Saturdays second round saw an average of 81.06 and three sub-72 scores.
The best score of the day came from Callahan Elzey, who fired a 3-under 69 to pull into second place, but the leader heading into todays final round is Patrick Kelley, who shot a 2-under 70 and is at even par for the tournament.
I hit the driver really well today and I just made sure on the holes where I wasnt in the fairway off the tee that I made no worse than bogey. I had three bogeys and five birdies, said Kelley, a 26-year-old financial analyst with Parkview.
Elzey and Marty Rifkin, who shot a 72, are both at 2 over.
There are typically a slew of sub-par scores in the Fort Wayne Golf Associations marquee event, but not this year.
Still, there was relief Saturday that the course played a touch easier.
I think everybody got over the first-day nerves, Kelley said, and the pins are a little more favorable today and I think everyone settled down after the first round.
Travis Hemsoth, who came into the day at 2 under, and still held his lead when he made the turn at 3 under, shot a 7-over 43 on the back nine.
I had a couple little hiccups. On 12 and 13, I had double bogeys. I hit it left on all of them and got in the rough stuff. But Im still in the hunt, said Hemsoth, 29, who was a professional golfer for a short spell and now works for Riverside Manufacturing.
Hemsoth is tied for fourth place at 4 over with Johnny Strawser, Ryan Olbin, Joe Hayden and Tom Wood.
I just need to take those bad holes out and Ill be all right, said Hemsoth, who placed fourth in 2003 at Chestnut Hills but took a six-year hiatus from the City Tournament.
Elzeys 69 had people talking. After shooting a first-round 77, the Bishop Dwenger sophomore caught fire with a birdie on the par-3 5th. That started a run of four birdies over six holes. His round could have been even better; he bogeyed Nos. 13, 16 and 17.
Scott Pieri, who won last year, and five of the last seven City Tournaments, didnt compete this year. He was stripped of his amateur status by the United States Golf Association for lending his name to a commercial for retailer Golf Etc., even though Pieri received no money.
Last years runner-up, Strawser, who happens to be the club champion at Autumn Ridge, answered a first-day 77 with a 71.
Olbin followed his 77 with a 71; Nick Bienz went from a 77 to a 72; Jonathan Fox and Sean Ferguson answered 79s with 73s; and Brad Hughes went from an 80 to a 73.
The top 120 players and ties made the cut at 25-over 169 to advance to todays final round.
Kelley, who has two top-five finishes, the last coming in 2010 at Brookwood Golf Club, is now the one to beat after he took a couple of years off from the tournament.
It feels good to get back into it and get a shot at it, Kelley said.