EXETER – As the second round of the John A. Allan tournament drew to a close on a Saturday afternoon featuring lots of changes on the leaderboard, it seemed the only constant was the challenging green of the 18th hole.
The undulating surface fooled numerous participants, the majority of whom needed two putts or more to end their day, until Eric Plisko stepped up.
The senior-to-be on Temple University’s golf team coolly drained a par-saving 17-foot putt to make sure he and partner Paul Keating kept a one-shot lead, at 8-under-par 134, over Mark Answini and Joe Weiscarger heading into today’s final 27 holes at Fox Hill Country Club .
“Lot of those today,” said Plisko of his shot on 18. ”We had a little cleaning up to do on some holes and you have to make those shots. We’ll just try to keep it consistent (today), go out there and play good golf and not try to force anything, but, you have to go out there and fire because the guys behind are going to be coming after us.”
Considering the pairings that are as close as four shots off the lead, Plisko and Keating are going to have to go out and fire indeed.
The duos of Walt Kuharchik and Art Brunn Jr. and Bob Gill and Brian Corbett both carded their second consecutive rounds of 69, leaving them only four shots back in the better-ball competition. Answini and Weiscarger followed up their opening-round 68 with a 67 and Eric Williams and Dave Kluger shot a 1-under 70 to stay within two strokes.
“(Friday) was a lot easier than (Saturday),” said Williams of an up-and-down afternoon. “Mostly every par we made we worked hard for. It was probably the worst we played, but we’re still in it. I’m feeling good that there’s 27 holes left (today), so we’ll see what happens.”
If that scrapping style of golfing leaves Williams and Kluger a shot or two behind coming into the last few holes, maybe they can borrow a play out of Weiscarger’s book.
With his partner facing a tough putt for par on the fifth hole, Weiscarger was able to knock his shot right into the cup from a bunker on the side of the green for a birdie, effectively winning the hole.
“Playing with a guy like Joe Weiscarger, he’s one of the best,” said Answini. “He made a great shot out of that bunker on five.”
“(Today’s) going to be tough though,” continued Answini, regarding the final 27 holes. “If we shoot 3 to 4 under for the first round and then on that last nine go a couple under, then we’re going to be in the hunt.”
Given their strategy heading into the final round, that hunt should figure to include the pairing of Santo LaFoca and Jim Gardas. The opening round co-leaders followed up Friday’s 5-under par 66 with a 70, setting themselves two shots off the pace.
“I think (Saturday) is the hardest day … you’re either going to put yourself in a position to win or have a couple hiccups and fall back a bit,” said LaFoca of the second round. “We struck the ball well, but we couldn’t make any putts. (Today) we’ll be very aggressive, trying to make everything.”
On a day that figures to feature a lot of aggressive play, Keating might have the best approach ready to go.
“Win it,” Keating joked. “Two balls in the fairway, two on the green, two putts for birdie, it’s a great concept.”
Today’s tee times are: 8:57 a.m. John Mulhern and Len Coleman paired with Don Crossin and Bill Briggs; 9:15 a.m. Gill and Corbett paired with Kuharchik and Brunn Jr.; 9:24 a.m. Kluger and Williams paired with LaFoca and Gardas; and 9:33 a.m. Keating and Plisko paired with Answini and Weiscarger.