Garrett Jones is somewhat familiar with combining good golf, the Greater Cedar Rapids Open and Hunters Ridge Golf Course and coming out with success.
On Sunday, the University of Wisconsin graduate hopes to enhance his formula.
Jones, who has tied for fourth and seventh in previous GCRO appearances, fired a 7-under-par 65 Saturday in near-perfect scoring conditions and takes a two-shot lead into Sunday's final round of the 54-hole tournament.
"I've played well here before," said Jones, of Rewey, Wis. "It will be fun tomorrow. I like my chances.
"I gave myself a lot of opportunities in the fairways, hit it on the green and I've been rolling it really well. It was just a solid day. "The conditions were perfect. If you hit good golf shots and hit the lines in the greens you will be rewarded," said Jones, who had eight birdies and a bogey.
"I always like coming down here," Jones explained, mentioning host family and the good cooking of Steve and Karen Siefert and son Elliott, who caddied for Jones.
"I feel relaxed. I feel my game has been on steady climb the last couple months."
Jones has plenty of company at the top going after the $20,000 first prize, including a lot of Hoosiers. Veteran Dave Rummells of Kissimmee,Fla., 2010 champ Andy Winings of Brownburg, Ind., first-year pro Chase Wright of Bloomington, Ind., and Eric Steger of Noblesville, Ind., all are two shots back at 10-under par 134. Seth Fair, also of Brownburg, is one shot further back. A total of 11 golfers are within five shots of the lead in what sets up to be a dandy finale to the 14th annual tourney.
Winings had one of the rounds of the day with an 8-under 64 that included nine birdies.
"Yesterday I played well and didn't make any putts at all," said Winings. "Today, I took care of the putter and made some putts. I made a lot of birdies and it was a lot of fun. The big thing tomorrow is just to make putts like I did today."
Wright and Fair both had 7-under 65s in the second round.
Wright, who graduated from Indiana University in May and then turned pro, birdied four of his first six holes.
"I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and not really think about anybody else or think about what anybody else is doing," said Wright "If I go out and play like I did today, I'm sure I'll have a pretty good chance come the last few holes tomorrow."
Fair was even par in his round through eight holes (he teed off on 10), was 2-under through 12 holes and then reeled off birdies on five of his last six holes. He carded a 6-under 30 on his second nine, Hunter's front side, and said he missed a "couple 6-footers" his last nine holes.
"I played well," said Fair, a former NCAA Division II PING All-American. "I'm happy I stayed patient and kind of let things happen to me. I'm pleased to be in the position I am in going into tomorrow."
The 54-year-old Rummells, a former Seniors Division champ at the GCRO, hasn't made a bogey in his first 36 holes.
"I played bogey-free golf for two days and I kept the ball in play and when I've had an occasional bad shot I've recovered," said Rummells, who followed his opening-round 66 with a solid 68. "That's the key to playing good golf. You have to recover after hitting bad shots."
That's something first-round leader Chris Thompson of Lawrence, Kan., couldn't overcome. Thompson, who shot a 65 Friday, started his Saturday round with two birdies on his first three holes, then hit one into the water on 13 (he teed off on 10) and ended up with triple bogey.
"I didn't play good today, it was struggle," said Thompson, who shot an even-par 72 and is five shots back. "I hit an awful shot on (13) into the water and I tried to play it and made a mess of the hole and made triple. Three birdies and a triple today and I get lapped."
Steger bogeyed his opening hole – the 10th – then proceeded to reel in seven birdies, including on four of his last five holes. He shot a 6-under 66 and is right in the mix.
Defending champ Brock Mulder, who shot a 7-over 79 Friday, showed his character Saturday, equaling Winings for round of the day at a 64. He was helped with a hole-in-one on the fourth hole after double-bogeying that same hole Friday.
First tee times for Sunday's final round begin at 7:30 a.m. with the final threesome of Jones, Winings and Rummells going off at 10:51.
To view video interviews with Jones, Rummells, Thompson and more following the second round of action, visit our YouTube channel.
Don Wojciechowski resides in the Hunters Ridge Golf Course community and plays the course on a regular basis. He's a former sports editor for a suburban Chicago daily newspaper and an avid golf fan.