E.A. Sports Today

Edwards carries lead into final round

[corner-ad id=2]Edwards shoots 65, but bogey on 18 narrows the gap

Danny Edwards carries a three-shot lead into Thursday's final round of the Oxford Senior Open. (All photos by B.J. Franklin)

Danny Edwards carries a three-shot lead into Thursday’s final round of the Oxford Senior Open. (All photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Danny Edwards nearly shot his age in the second round of the Oxford Senior Open Wednesday to take sole possession of the tournament lead, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the 18th hole that tightened the race.

Edwards shot 7-under-par 65 on a golf course the Sunbelt Senior Tour players are raving about, but the bogey he made on 18 combined with the birdies made by playing partners Roger Rowland and Tim Conley left him with a three-shot lead instead of a more comfortable five with 18 holes to play.

After shooting one of the best rounds on the Tour this season, the five-time PGA Tour winner stands at 11-under 133 for 36 holes. Rowland (67) and Conley (68) are tied at 136. Mike Beaver (67) is at 140 and Bob Flanagan (72) is at 141.

“It’s not over now; he has to earn it now,” Rowland said. “There’s a big difference in three and five down. … It’ll make us all a little more into it.”

No matter what tees they’re playing. Rowland is playing from the II tees, while Edwards and Conley are up on the IIIs. The winner takes home $2,500.

Edwards, who turns 64 Sunday, needed a birdie in the par-5 18th to shoot his age, not that it was any big concern of his. Instead, he made bogey, landing in heavy rough just outside the left hazard off the tee, catching it heavy coming out and failing to make the green from the bunker on his fourth shot.

Rowland made a 20-footer for birdie and Conley birdied from inside five feet. Conley also birdied 17.

“You guys are bringing up 18,” Edwards said. “Eighteen’s over. I shot 65, that’s what I shot today, and tomorrow I’ll come out just like I did today and see what I can do. One shot at a time. Start on the first hole just like I did today and see how it goes. There are 18 holes to go, that’s a lot of golf.”

Through 16 holes Edwards stood at 8-under for the day, leaving him 12-under for the tournament. He had played his last 25 holes to that point in 13-under. The course record from the III tees is 64.

Only two players have shot 64 on the Tour this year – Conley and Skip Kendall. There have been five other 65s. One third of the field Wednesday made birdie on 18.

“Nobody likes to make bogey on the last hole, but it was a great round,” Edwards said. “I played good and it was a terrific round.”

Rowland started off “a little sketchy” – birdie-bogey-birdie – and was even through six holes. He birdied 7, but the shot that “got me back into the round” was his eagle on 9 that let him turn at 3-under. He made two birdies on the back “that kept me within breathing range.”

Conley remains the only player in the field to have not made a bogey this week. He hadn’t made a bogey in his last 48 holes on the Sunbelt Tour. He made birdies Wednesday on 9, 11, 17 and 18, and is still looking for that 20-footer that can make a difference.

“I’ve got to out-putt Danny and he putted very well yesterday and today,” Conley said. “Danny doesn’t think he putts very good; he putted good today. He made probably four 7- or 8-footer and four 10- or 12-footers, and he usually doesn’t do that.”

Only Beaver had a better start than Edwards. The director of the Central Florida Senior Tour opened his round 2-3-3-3, holing a 53-degree wedge from 108 yards for eagle on No. 1.

He was 5-under through 6, turned in 31 – coming within inches of another eagle on 9 — and finished sharing the second-best round of the day.

It could’ve been even better. He had two bogeys and parred his last seven holes coming home, none of which were any bigger than on 17 from six feet into the back fringe he said saved his round.

“Anytime you sit there and hole a sand wedge on the first hole it’s always a good start,” Beaver said. “The hardest thing to do is learn to play one shot at a time and I’m still trying to learn that because all of these guys out here have so much more experience than I do. I made a good swing on 2 and made a birdie and just stayed real aggressive.

“As you turn at 5-under you figure out a way to get it deeper, that’s where your learning curve comes in.”

Actually, he started good in Tuesday’s first round, too. He birdied the first two holes and was 2-under through 6, then came down with a case of the shanks. A little soul-searching overnight and a tip from Rowland on the range prior to the Wednesday’s round straightened him out and it showed on the front.

“The guys out here are just so good,” Beaver said. “This tour has so much good fellowship on it, guys trying to help each other. Danny Edwards has been good to me for 10 days on this trip, helping me understand certain things and he wins five times on Tour. It’s great to have guys out here (do that).”

Mike Beaver reacts after watching his eagle putt on No. 9 just turn away from the cup. He tapped in for birdie, turned in 31 and finished with 67.

Mike Beaver reacts after watching his eagle putt on No. 9 just turn away from the cup. He tapped in for birdie, turned in 31 and finished with 67.

OXFORD SENIOR OPEN
At Cider Ridge GC
Second-round scores

Danny Edwards, Scottsdale, Ariz. 68-65–133
Tim Conley, Braselton, Ga. 68-68–136
Roger Rowland, Ocala, Fla. 69-67–136
Mike Beaver, Newberry, Fla. 73-67–140
Bob Flanagan, Lawrenceville, Ga. 69-72-141
Jim Doing, Verona, Wis. 70-72–142
Rob Willbanks, Kilgore, Texas 76-71–147
Danny Gonzales, Round Rock, Texas 70-78–148
John Whitty, Longs, S.C. 73-76–149
Bob Kurtz, Cullman 75-80–155
Dave Pickett, Oliver Springs, Tenn. 78-79–157
Randy Kennedy, Buford, Ga. 78-79–157
Jim White, Birmingham 75-83–158
Tommy Edwards, Duluth, Ga. 80-84–164

LEADERS SCORECARDS
Player 443 454 435 36 443 445 435 36 72

Edwards 333 454 334 32 333 344 436 33 65
Conley 443 454 434 35 433 445 424 33 68
Rowland 352 464 333 33 433 445 434 34 67
Beaver 233 353 534 31 533 445 435 36 67

Thursday’s pairings
8:00 a.m. — Jim White, Tommy Edwards
8:09 — Bob Kurtz, Dave Pickett, Randy Kennedy
8:18 — Rob Willbanks, Danny Gonzales, Jim Doing
8:27 — Mike Beaver, Bob Flanagan, Jim Doing
8:36 — Danny Edwards, Tim Conley, Roger Rowland

Roger Rowland can sweep the Sunbelt Senior Tour's Alabama swing with a come-from-behind victory Thursday.

Roger Rowland can sweep the Sunbelt Senior Tour’s Alabama swing with a come-from-behind victory Thursday.

Tim Conley is the only player in the field without a bogey after two rounds this week.

Tim Conley is the only player in the field without a bogey after two rounds this week.



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