HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. –– Joe Jaspers has owned the Golfweek Amateur Tour Championship over the years, having won the event an unprecedented three times.
Saturday, Jasper took a major step toward earning his fourth title and putting his name back on the trophy for the first time in three years.
Jaspers turned in a 2-under-par 70 at the Robert Cupp Course and vaulted into the lead by three shots heading into Sunday’s final round.
Beginning the day one shot behind Zach McElvey, Jaspers started strong with a birdie on the first hole and finished strong with birdies on nos. 14 and 18.
Jim Aughtry, also one shot back to start the day, rebounded from a front nine 39 with a bogey-free back nine of 34 to remain in contention three shots back. He’s tied with Steve Reigle, who carded four birdies en route to an even-par 72.
Jody Clary played his way into contention with the low round of the day, 68. His bogey-free round leaves him four shots off the pace and tied with Billy Hall (69-72—141).
Ron Sullins (72-70—142) sits alone in sixth place while defending champion Christian Vozza remains in contention at 71-72—143.
McElvey, the first-round leader after a brilliant 66, fell back in the pack after an 84 Saturday and is 13 shots off the pace.
In the A Flight, Billy Loftin surged to a one-shot lead following his second-round 77 at the Country Club of Hilton Head. Standing at 152, Loftin sits atop a jammed leaderboard in which 14 other players are within four shots of the lead.
Loftin will play in the lead group of Sunday’s final round with the trio of players one shot back: Eric Neidermeyer (80-73—153), Jake Peterson (79-74—153) and Dustin Welch (75-78—153).
Two shots back are Jeff Hawkins (76-78—154) and Chandler Cain (78-76—154), who will be grouped with Scott Nichols (81-74—155) and Jon Blum (77-78—155). Tied with Nichols and Blum are first-round co-leader Kevin Dick (72-83—155) and Josh Woods (77-78—155).
First round co-leader Keith Carter (72-84—156) sits with a group of five players all four shots off the lead.
In the B Flight, Seth McDuffie and Jason Liu moved into a share of the lead at 159, a shot ahead of Lyle Joyner.
McDuffie fired a 78 and Liu 77 in overtaking the lead previously held by Sean Redmond. The two will play in Sunday’s lead group on the Arthur Hills Course with Joyner (78-82—160) and Radek Klauda (81-80—161).
In all, 13 players find themselves within five shots of the lead including the trio of Ron Charlton (82-80—162), Bob Burinskas (78-84—162) and Ben Cole (82-80—162).
First-round leader Redmond ballooned with a 92 Saturday and fell to 10 shots off the lead.
In the C Flight, Michelle Gillan and Dave Parish have turned the event into a two-person race. Gillan’s 83 and Parish’s 84 at Shipyard Golf Club propelled each of them five shots clear of the pack at 167.
The two will play together in the lead group Sunday at the Robert Trent Jones Course along with James Goans (89-83—172) and Lance Happenny (90-83—173). Mason Hagen is tied with Happenny at 90-83—173 while first-round leader Andrew Ciszczon shot 94 Saturday to sit with a group of three players seven shots off the lead.
Dwight Williams surged to a 3-shot lead in the D Flight following a second-round 88 at Robber’s Row golf course.
Williams’ low round of the day has him at 179 while Kelly Minton (91-91—182) and Duane Wandel (91-91—182) are the closest competitors. Those three players will play in the lead group today at Robber’s Row along with Greg Wentzel (94-90—184).
Tied for fifth place is Robert Kope (93-92—185) and Chris Spanka (89-96—185).