EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Australian Alistair Presnell fired a 3-under-par 69 in Saturday’s sweltering heat and increased his lead at the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club.
Presnell stands at 11-under 205, which is two shots better than a group of seven others. The logjam at 9 under consists of Nicholas Thompson (65), Peter Tomasulo (65), Richard Scott (65), Will MacKenzie (68) Martin Piller (69), Brian Stuard (70) and Chris Riley (69).
“Having the lead tomorrow will be slightly a job, but it’s nice to know I’ve already got my nose in front,” said Presnell, who is in search of his second career win on the Web.com Tour. The former air conditioning mechanic from Melbourne won the 2009 Moonah Classic in Australia.
Saturday’s high temperature was 105 degrees, breaking the record for the hottest June 30th on record in Evansville. The old mark of 100 was set in 1952. Saturday also marked the third straight record-breaking day for high temperatures with Sunday’s forecast looking very similar.
Presnell wasn’t particularly crisp off the tee – he hit only eight of 14 fairways – but made up for it with solid iron play that gave him plenty of birdie chances. He missed only two greens on the day and is tied for second in the Greens in Regulation category this week.
“The game’s felt pretty good from the first tee shot on day,” he said. “Today was pretty rock solid other than a couple of shots.”
Any one of a dozen players had a chance to emerge from the pack on Saturday afternoon. The lead zig-zagged back and forth all day with as many as seven players sharing the lead at one point.
“The guys can all play out here and if you keep on giving yourself opportunities somebody’s going to strike a hot putter for the day,” said Presnell.
Presnell moved into sole possession of the lead late on the back nine when he stole a birdie at the 454-yard 17th, the third-toughest hole on the course.
“One, maybe two (shots),” said Presnell after his tee shot found a fairway bunker. “After we were tracking the ball in the air off the tee, we were thinking that it was going to be wetter than a fish.”
Presnell ripped a 5-iron into the wind from 180 yards and watched his ball stop six feet from the pin. The birdie upped his lead to two, which he’ll take into Sunday’s finale and the chase for the $99,000 first-place check.
--Peter Tomasulo shot a 7-under 65 that included 10 birdies and a double bogey. Scott Gutschewski and Scott Gardiner both had a pair of eagles on par 5s.
--Sunday tee times will run from 7:50-9:40 a.m. with play in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees. Play is expected to be completed both days shortly before 3:00 p.m.
--The Web.comTour will take next week off before resuming the 2012 schedule at the Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club near Salt Lake City July 9-15.