Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Crawford has 'beautiful day' at men's amateur

Teen shares second in Breezy Bend tilt

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SDLqIT was a beautiful day and the greens were rolling true," Alex Crawford crowed Tuesday afternoon at Breezy Bend Country Club. At least 17 of the greens were, for sure.

The 18-year-old Westwood Collegiate graduate didn't have to putt out on the 167-yard fifth hole, but he did get a little help from the pin as he aced it en route to a cool five-under 67 for a two-under 142, and a share of second place with Jese Skelton, also of Breezy Bend. Skelton shot a 68 Tuesday.

Leading the pack after Day 2 of the Nott Autocorp Men's Amateur Championship is Breezy Bend's Peter More at seven-under 137. Tuesday, More shot 67.

"It was quite a round," said Crawford, who used an eight iron to tame the fifth. "I didn't know where the ball was on the fifth because there were shadows on the green. All I know is that I heard it hit the pin. It wasn't until I got up to the cup that I found it."

Crawford has made something of a habit of scoring holes-in-one.

"I had one when I was 12 during another Golf Manitoba tournament and I also aced the same hole (fifth) here about three years ago on a normal round of golf."

Skelton said he had a steady game Tuesday, but the combination of his driver and putter made all the difference. "I played well, but it was pretty windy," he said. "I got up and down a lot, saved par, and made birdies on the par fives, so that helped. I also putted really well and hit my driver well too, so it was a combination of those two things."

Not everyone was as upbeat as Crawford and Skelton. Rossmere's Ryan Pitzel, Monday's leader at four-under 68, self-destructed with a disappointing 11-over 83 for a seven-over total of 151 and dropped down for a share of 23rd place. "I played really bad today," he said, shaking his head. "I just didn't play well."

With a monumental hole to climb out of over the next two days, Pitzel was optimistic. "I'll just have to play like I did (Monday), I guess, and try to stay positive."

After a tough day with his putter on Monday, three-time champion Garth Collings said his play on the greens was a little better, but he still shot a two-over 74 for a total of 146 and a share of sixth place.

"I did OK," he said. "Conditions were difficult. I made some birdies, made some bogeys. My putting was a little better today, but I was a little more erratic on the rest of the shots.

"My expectations were kind of high, but not as high as they should be. I'm just going to go out (today) and play the best I can play, and hopefully it's good enough. If it's not, then somebody else is going to be up there."

allan.besson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2010 C4

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