Last Modified: Saturday, June 23, 2012 9:24 PM
With four past champions and a high school kid chasing him, Nathan Allen believes he can hold on and claim his own City Championship.
“If I can stay out of trouble, I think I can play better,” Allen said Saturday, moments after he found out his tourney-best 4-under-par 68 gave him a one-stroke lead heading into today’s final round at Mallard Cove.
Allen, who said he caught “more than a few breaks” in the second round, was surprised to learn he was in the lead with a two-day total of 141.
“I thought I would be in the running but the lead, no,” said Allen.
Robby Going, who birdied both 17 and 18 to finish the round with an even-par 72, is a stroke behind at 142. Going, the 2008 winner, joined Allen and two-time champ Jacob Lejeune as the only three players under par for the tournament. Going is 2-under while Lejeune, who shot a 3-under 69, is two shots back at 143.
“I gave myself a chance,” said Lejeune. “I left a lot of shots out there. If I can get myself better looks, I think I have a chance.”
Three shots back at even-par 144 are 2009 champ Jason Horn, who shot a 1-over 73 Saturday, 2004 winner Matt Nicholas and Barbe High’s Shane Fontenot, who had an eventful round of 71.
“I had a little of everything out there,” said Fontenot, who at one time was 4-under for the round. That despite a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball on the fourth hole.
He followed that up with an eagle on No. 8.
“That was nice to bounce back,” said Fontenot. “We will see what happens (Sunday). I think I can still win it.”
A total of eight players are within four strokes of Allen, who knows he will have to be better in the final round to hold off the field.
“The way I shot the ball today, I’m surprised,” Allen said of both holding the lead and his score. “I stole a lot of shots out there. I could have easily been 3- or 4-over.
“Every time I hit into the trees, I had a shot out.”
As for what he expects he can do in the final round, Allen said it is up to his game.
“I just hope to strike it straight and hit some putts, and then we will see what happens.”
Going, who lost last year’s playoff to Lejeune, looks like he might have a late run in him. He has played the last two holes 4-under par the first two rounds.
“I like the position I’m in,” Going said. “Things happen out there, and we will have to see how it turns out.”
Going rebounded from a double bogey on No. 9 to have a par round.
“I’m really just happy to be in the mix,” said Going.
Not in the mix is Scott Folds. After a surprising 70 in the first round, which put him in a 3-way tie for the lead, Folds folded on Day 2.
After finishing bogey, bogey in the opening round, Folds shot an 82 Saturday, giving him a 155 for the tournament and missing the cut.
Sutton Farmer and Byron Martin each shot 2-under 70s, but were off the pace. Farmer is at 145 while Martin will start today’s round at 147.
The top 16 players made the cut, which landed at 151, but all eyes will at least start on Allen, Going and Lejeune.
“This should be fun,” said Going.