Tom Jenkins shot a 7-under 65 in the second round Saturday to lead the Boeing Classic by two shots.
SNOQUALMIE — Tom Jenkins didn’t know if he would be in this position again.
After all, it has been six years since he has won on the Champions Tour and he hasn’t been in the top 10 of an individual event in two years, when he was tied for ninth.
But they all will be chasing the 64-year-old longshot at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge on Sunday, when he can make history by becoming the oldest winner on the 50-and-older Champions Tour.
Jenkins shot a 7-under 65 in the second round Saturday, highlighted by an eagle from the fairway on No. 3, to take a two-shot lead over Willie Wood heading into the final round.
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“I hit a soft 8-iron (from 148 yards) … it hit on the fringe, took a big old bounce about 10 feet up in the air and it went in the hole,” Jenkins said of the second eagle in tournament history on the third hole, the first coming from Bruce Summerhays in 2005. “Stuff like that happens and it kind of gets you jazzed up and gets you through the start of the round.”
There are many players in position to claim the $300,000 winner’s check if Jenkins, who is at 9-under 135, falters Sunday. First-round leader Mark Calcavecchia and Hall of Famer Mark O’Meara, who shot a 64, the low round of the day, are among a group of five who are three shots behind the leader. There are 22 players within six shots of the lead.
Mike Fetchick is the oldest winner on the 50-and-older Champions Tour, when he was victorious on his 63rd birthday in 1985. Numerous players have threatened to erase Fetchick’s name from the record book, but there it has stayed for 27 years.
“It would be wonderful and it would be a thrill,” said Jenkins, who has sons 12 and 9. “I’m not saying I’m going to win. It’s going to be difficult. The nerves are not as good as they used to be and it’s tough. I’m not going to talk much about how I’m going to do tomorrow because there’s a lot of golf left, but if I can get on that 18th with a five-shot lead, I’ll guarantee I’ll win tomorrow.”
Jenkins knows how to play well at this course. At 59, he set the course record (shared with Scott Simpson) in 2006 with an 11-under 61. He said that was the first time he thought about shooting his age. He has yet to accomplish that feat but had a chance on the 18th hole Saturday with a birdie putt of about 12 feet. It slid just past the hole.
“If my caddie had reminded me that if I had made that putt I would have shot my age for the first time, I might have focused a little clearer,” he joked.
Calcavecchia, the defending champion and the first-round leader by three shots, had a tough start with a double bogey on the third and a bogey on the fourth to fall out of the lead. He shot a 73, after two rounds of 65 here (going back to the final round last year).
Calcavecchia said after Friday’s round he was getting confident he could shoot low scores on this course, but just when the game seems easy, it can humble even the best of players.
Wood, who won last week’s Champions Tour event in New York after having to qualify on Tuesday before the event, shot a 68 and was surprised to be in second place after a week of distractions and never playing in a tournament in this state.
O’Meara was thrilled to get to 6 under. His 8-under round moved him from a tie for 57th into a tie for third.
“Anytime you shoot 64 you really can’t complain,” he said. “Hopefully tomorrow I can get out there and play well again.”
Also at 6 under are Jay Don Blake, David Eger, who won the inaugural Boeing Classic in 2005, and Mike Reid.
|After Saturday’s second round. Par 72.|
|Jay Don Blake||-6|