Parr has lead at halfway mark

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

PORT STANLEY -- It was all in the family for Andrew Parr yesterday at Redtail Golf Course during the second round of the Investors Ontario Amateur.

With brother Bryan, 16, on his bag, the 22-year-old London Hunt golfer shot lights out -- a five-under-par 67 -- to go with an opening-round 71 to climb into the 36-hole lead in the 72-hole championship he won a year ago.

With Parr's sister Lindsay, 19, caddying for the first time in her life for Peter Laws of Toronto, he also shot 67 to bolt into contention.

Parr takes a one-stroke lead into today's third round over teenager Graham Hill of Sarnia. Parr's six-under-par total of 138 puts him one stroke lower than Hill, who shot 68 to go with an opening round of 71.

Tied for third are Laws, with rounds of 73-67, Patrick Forbes of Toronto with scores of 69-71 and James Chan of Ancaster, winner of this spring's Early Bird at St. Thomas, who posted a pair of 70s for 140.

Lee French of Sunningdale and Will Mitchell of Whitby, who shared the first-round lead with 67s, remain in contention. Both shot 74 yesterday and are tied for sixth with Shawn LaFontaine of Cobourg at 141.

Another local player in contention is London Hunt's John Webster, 48, last year's provincial mid-amateur champ, who shot a pair of 71s for 142.

French shot 41 on the first nine holes after hitting his second shot out of bounds on the par-five second. He said he never really "got into a groove" until the back nine.

French said he was happy with his position just three shots back.

"That's nothing out here," he said. "I kept my composure and made a few birdies on the back," recovering with a three-under 33.

Parr said he doesn't mind being in the lead despite the pressure of being the hometown favourite. He said he had much more energy in his game yesterday. A major reason, along with his 300-yard drives and skillful short game, was his cheering section.

His parents, Rob Nash and Debbie Parr, were there along with his brothers, John and David, and other family friends, including London police Chief Murray Faulkner.

"I really feel relaxed here," he said. "Redtail is like a second home."

The Nash name is storied in Ontario golf circles.

When Andrew Parr won the Amateur last year at the Donalda club in Toronto, he said it was special to win the same trophy his stepfather's father, Jack Nash, won three times. Parr also became the first London-groomed golfer to win the Amateur last year since Len Foran did it in 1983.

No London player has won the Amateur back-to-back since Kelly Roberts in 1972-73.

Andrew Parr is also playing host -- at least his mother is -- to four other players in the field. Laws, Lafontaine, J.C. Deacon and Paul Davis are guests at their home. So is Davis's daughter Ashley, who finished second in last week's Ontario Women's Amateur and is dating Andrew Parr.

Nobody knows Parr's game -- or his disposition -- better than his caddie.

Bryan said the only advice he offers is to keep his brother thinking positive.

"He's always positive and concentrating on the next shot," Bryan said. "He's always moving forward."

Andrew said while he doesn't pay his brother, he does all right. He figures he keeps his brother stocked with clubs, shoes and golf shirts.

Parr said the turning point in his round yesterday came on the par-three 14th (he started on the back nine) when he chipped in for birdie. That set off a spurt of four birds over five holes.

"He just started cruising," his brother said.

Once again, Redtail played extremely easy because of middle-of-the-green pin placements and forward tees in some spots.

The top 60 who had scores of 151 or better made the 36-hole cut and play today and tomorrow. In addition, the top four players earn spots on Ontario's provincial team for expense-paid trips to the Canadian Amateur for Willingdon Cup matches against other provincial teams.


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