Last Modified: Saturday, August 04, 2012 8:27 PM
SULPHUR — John Morrissey maintained a five-shot lead in the Sulphur City Championship by shooting another 5-under-par 66 on Saturday at Frasch Park.
He’ll take that edge into today’s finale over defending champion Ben Suarez and former champion Jason Horn, all three to be in the final grouping that will tee off at 11 a.m.
Morrissey is at 132 while Suarez and Horn are both at 137, both having also posted a 66 on Saturday.
Jacob LeJeune was at 139 after a 1-under-par 70 on Saturday while Craig Trosclair followed at 142 after another even-par 71 and Neithan Allen was at 143, also shooting a 1-under 70.
Rounding out the championship flight were Chris Vallette at 144 (69 on Saturday), Sutton Farmer at 145 (70 on Saturday) and Matt Reed at 146 (76 on Saturday).
Morrissey’s round was an exceptional one based on the fact that after six holes he was 3 over par. He played his final 12 holes in 8 under, producing six birdies and an eagle.
He opened with pars on the first three holes then ran together three consecutive bogeys. A birdie on the short par-3 seventh hole was followed by birdies on Nos. 8, 9 and 10, and his 31 on the back nine is the low nine of the tournament.
A chip in for birdie on that No. 7 seemed to jump start his round as after that he became deadly with his short game and his putting continued to run true.
“I don’t know what to think,” he said about heading into Sunday’s final round with a five shot lead. “I’ve never had a lead like that going into a final round. I’m just going to try to take them one hole at a time.”
Although they are five shots down, both Suarez and Horn are more than formidable opponents.
Suarez said that improved putting helped his game on Saturday and that he did miss some makeable putts.
“I played my game today with my goal being to make the final group (on Sunday),” the soon-to-be-pro said.
He had a quick start on Saturday, birdying the first two holes and posting a 32 on the front side. Suarez then started his back nine with an eagle on No. 10 and went on to a 34.
Horn also went out in 32 and came home in 34, claiming six birdies and a bogey along the way.
“I got off to a faster start than yesterday,” the former champion said, adding that putting was a strong point as he had to take only 25 putts.
Horn is also looking forward to the challenge of coming five shots off the pace. He did in when he won the title in 2010, shooting a 68 the final day to take the championship.
The grouping of Morrissey, Suarez and Horn in the final threesome on Sunday is thought to be the first time they have been together in such a tournament finale.
Also, tournament director and club pro George McInnis said to look for the final three holes as being a key.
Those – a par three (16) and two par fours (17 and 18) – could be the toughest on the course and certainly make the close a tough one. The 421 yard 17th is the No. 1 handicap hole on the course while No. 18, a dogleg left, is ranked No. 3.
In the first flight, high school player Devon Fontenot held the lead with a 147 total after shooting 74 on Saturday. Byron Martin is in second place at 149 (71 on Saturday) and Morgan Rhorer is at 150.
Leading the second flight is Mike Beglis after shooting a 77 while Scott Lantier’s 82 leads the third flight and Rene Durflinger’s 85 tops the third flight. Players in these flights are only playing 36 holes.