Wiebe leads by two at Dick's Sporting Goods Open
ENDICOTT, N.Y. – Mark Wiebe shot a 4-under 68 in the second round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on Saturday, taking a two-shot lead over John Huston in a bid for his second straight Champions Tour victory.
Wiebe, who won two weeks ago at Rock Barn, was at 11-under 133 at En-Joie Golf Club. Huston (70) started the day tied with Wiebe at 7 under and was one shot ahead of Jay Don Blake (68).
Local favorite Joey Sindelar (69), Bobby Wadkins (69), Nick Price (71), and Hal Sutton (70) were tied at 7-under 137 on a breezy, sometimes gusty day that finished with 20 players within six shots of the lead.
Dick Mast (66), Ted Schulz (67), Tim Simpson (67), Lonnie Nielsen (68), Ronnie Black (72), Peter Jacobsen (71), and John Cook (71) were at 6 under, and Tom Watson (67) and Mark Calcavecchia (68) were among seven players at 5 under.
Wiebe started with a flourish, sinking a long birdie putt on the first hole and making birdie at No. 2 to take sole possession of the lead. He reached 10 under after pitching to 3 feet and making birdie at the par-5 fifth hole, and remained bogey-free while his challengers took turns making mistakes.
Wiebe made it 27 straight holes without a bogey when he parred No. 9. He made a nice par save at No. 15 after a poor drive, drained a birdie putt of more than 20 feet at No. 16, and finished his second straight bogey-free round with a birdie try that somehow stayed out of the hole, coming to rest on the lip as Wiebe stared skyward.
Huston had an awful start. After a bogey at the par-5 third hole and a birdie at No. 5, he had a double bogey at the par-3 seventh, missing a 1-foot putt to fall back to 5 under, then rallied with four birdies in the next five holes to remain close.
Price, who started the day one shot behind, made four birdies on the front side to reach 10 under and tie Wiebe at the top of the leaderboard. He faltered at No. 13, driving the right rough, punching out before missing a 10-foot par putt to fall a shot behind. It was his first bogey since the second round at Rock Barn two weeks ago.
Price also found trouble at No. 15, which is guarded by a huge water hazard along the left of the fairway. He drove into the water and made double bogey.
Sutton moved to 8 under with a birdie at No. 12 and barely missed a long birdie putt at 15. But a three-putt bogey at the par-3 17th hole spoiled his finish.
Watson, who hadn’t played the course since the 1976 B.C. Open, opened with a 72 Friday and moved into contention with four birdies on the front nine Saturday. After birdies at Nos. 3, 4, and 6, he laid up at the par-5 eighth hole and stuck his approach shot to the elevated green 5 feet from the pin.
After bouncing his ball three times off the heel of his putter, Watson calmly rolled in another birdie, a satisfied smile creasing his face, and he could have gone even lower before making the turn. His second shot at the par-4 ninth hole landed above the pin and spun back down a gentle slope to within 6 feet, but his birdie try lipped out.
Watson regrouped with two birdies on the first three holes on the back side, but his charge came to an abrupt halt when he hit into water hazards at Nos. 14 and 15 and dropped three shots.
“I hit a bad 5-iron at the par-3 (14th). I just blocked it and it went in the water, but I did get it up and down,” Watson said. “Then the 15th hole I hit in the short cut (rough), kind of a sloppy lie, and I caught it fat. Hit a pretty good pitch up there to 6 feet but missed it for bogey.”
Watson, playing for the first time since he won the Senior PGA Championship a month ago, rallied with birdies at 16 and 18, sticking his second shot at the par-4 closing hole within 3 feet of the pin as the gallery cheered.
“Two bad shots there,” he said after signing his card. “It was a pretty good round of golf, except for those two shots. I needed to get to at least 8 under par. Those two water balls kind of shot me out of it, I think.”
Divots: Schwab Cup leader Tom Lehman had his second straight 71 and was tied for 39th ... Hale Irwin had his second straight 70 and was tied for 22nd.