SNOQUALMIE – There was still much golf to be played, but one hole – No. 3 – at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge played a big second-round role Saturday at the Boeing Classic for the leader going in and the leader going forward.
Defending Boeing champion Mark Calcavecchia, whose first-round 65 on Friday earned a three-stroke lead, wrote down a double-bogey on No. 3, which brought him most of the way back to the field. A bogey on No. 4 did the rest.
Earlier, 64-year-old Tom Jenkins, playing in a group four holes in front of Calcavecchia after a 70 on Friday, used an 8-iron from 148 yards out to record an eagle-2 on No. 3. From there, he built a bogey-free round of 65 – 7-under par for the day – to get to 9 under, good for a two-stroke lead over Willie Wood and a three-stroke lead over Calcavecchia. Four others were at 6 under.
Jenkins will tee off about noon today in the last group for the final round.
“It took a big, old bounce about 10 feet up in the air, and went in the hole,” Jenkins said of the eagle on No. 3, a 439-yard par 4. “Stuff like that happens, it kind of gets you jazzed up and kind of gets you through the start of the round.”
The Austin, Texas-based Jenkins is a seven-time Champions Tour winner in his 14 years on the circuit. Saturday, he recorded birdies on the fourth, seventh, 10th, 14th and 17th holes.
Calcavecchia, 52, righted himself after the 3-4 stumble and earned birdies on 8, 12 and 14, offset by a bogey on 13, to card a 1-over 73.
Wood, 51, playing one week after winning the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y., and gaining entry to the field as a Tuesday qualifier, shot 68 Saturday after a first-round 69 to sit alone in second place.
Wood’s victory last week earned exemptions for the rest of the season and removes the pressure of weekly qualifying for the journeyman Texan. The flood of messages from well-wishers after his victory last week meant a new challenge: getting tuned in to the next tournament after a win.
Wood hadn’t won in 16 years at any level.
“That was the challenging part, trying to focus on this week and get really prepared to see a golf course that I’ve never played before,” he said. “(It) has some interesting lines that you have to take off the tee, and some interesting greens that need some local knowledge.”
Mark O’Meara made the tournament’s biggest improvement over Friday, when he shot 74. His 8-under 64 Saturday was the day’s low round and placed him in a tie for third at 6 under with Calcavecchia, David Eger (68 Saturday), Mike Reid (68), and Jay Don Blake, who shot 70 in the final group after a 66 on Friday.
On Friday, No. 3 played as the hardest hole on the course, with the pin tucked in the back left corner of the green. Saturday, the pin was front and center, and the hole yielded lower scores and the day’s lone eagle.
Jenkins’ eagle on No. 3 was only the second 2 on the hole in the eight-year history of the Boeing Classic.
Should Jenkins go on to win today, he would be the oldest to win any Champions Tour event.
“It’s me against me,” he said. “Me playing, trying to play like I know how to play, even at this age, and … try to stay focused on what I’m doing, one shot at a time.” blog.thenewstribune.com/golf