Gregory Moves in Front at MGA Senior Amateur
September 14, 2022
By Nick Hunter
HUTCHINSON, Minn. – Challenging conditions have yielded just two scores below par through the first two rounds of the 101st Minnesota Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship this week at Crow River Golf Club.
First round co-leaders Jay Gregory and J.B. Lloyd managed to record a pair of 2-under 69’s on Tuesday, but Crow River was unwilling to budge during Wednesday’s second day of competition.
Gregory’s second-round 2-over 73 will send him to the final round with a two-stroke lead over Lloyd and two-time MGA Mid-Amateur champion John Spreiter.
“The conditions were much tougher today with the wind picking up,” the 2020 MGA Senior Players’ champion Gregory said following his second round Wednesday. “I hit probably the ugliest tee shot I’ve ever hit on [No.7]. I was 3-under at the time, but that didn’t last long. Other than that, I played pretty solid.”
Starting his second round with a bogey at the first Wednesday, Gregory quickly bounced back by nearly holing his approach at the par-4 second for eagle.
He reached the par-5 fifth in two, but settled for a two-putt for birdie to move to 3-under for the championship.
Following his triple-bogey at the seventh, Gregory fell to 2-over for the round and would give up another stroke with a three-putt from 12 feet at the 10th.
The 57-year-old Gregory, from Bemidji Town and Country Club, found his footing by sinking a 20-footer for birdie at the 11th and two-putted for birdie at the 12th to once again move into red figures for the tournament.
Recording his third bogey of the round at the 13th, Gregory caught a break after hitting his second shot at the par-5 15th into the water and pitching his fourth inside of tap-in range to save par and remain even for the championship through two rounds of play.
“The wind could gust to 30 mph tomorrow so I’m going to need to hit more greens,” Gregory said of his final-round strategy Thursday. “Just play smart, take what the course gives me and play one shot at a time.”
Spreiter, who’s looking for his first win in 18 seasons, bounced back from an early bogey Wednesday by dropping the first of back-to-back birdie putts at the fourth to reach red figures for the first time this week.
“The birdie on [No. 4] was a big boost to the early holes,” Spreiter said. “The hole played about 200 yards and I hit a solid iron to 15 feet and made a nice putt.”
His momentum would be short-lived, however, as Spreiter turned in 1-over for the round with back-to-back bogeys at the eighth and ninth.
Playing the first eight holes of his inward nine in even par, Spreiter would take a bogey on the final hole to drop to 2-over for the round to sit two shots behind Gregory’s lead at 2-over 142 with 18 holes to play.
"I played fairly conservative the past couple of days,” Spreiter said Wednesday. “I think that will be the key entering tomorrow’s final round.”
Lloyd, from Rush Creek Golf Club, battled early with a pair of early bogeys during his front nine Wednesday to turn in 2-over for the day, but double-bogey at the par-4 14th would drop him to 1-over for the championship.
Bogeys at two of his final three holes put Lloyd into the final round tied for second with Spreiter at 2-over 144.
Carding a 2-over 73 for the second consecutive round Wednesday, 2017 champion Dave Haslerud will begin Thursday’s final round four shots off the lead, tied for fourth with Bob Neuberger.
Following his opening-round 73 Tuesday, Jim Price tallied a final-round 77 to earn a one-stroke victory over Leif Carlson in the 65-and-over Masters Division Wednesday.
In the 75-and-over Grand Masters Division, John Wells posted a 1-over 72 during Tuesday’s opening round before carding a 70 during the final round Wednesday to earn medalist honors over Tim Anderson.
The final round of the 101st MGA Senior Amateur Championship is slated to begin at 7:30 a.m. at Crow River Golf Club.