Tough day at amateur

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:01 AM ET

GIMLI -- It may have been a bit more of a grind, but Stewart Bannatyne did enough to maintain the lead.

Bannatyne battled the tough wind conditions to fire a steady even-par 72 at Links at the Lake in Gimli to take sole possession of top spot midway through the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship.

"It was pretty tough out there," said Bannatyne, who had five birdies, five bogeys and eight pars on a blustery day.

Bannatyne's two-day total of 140 gives him a one-stroke edge over Scott Loewen of Elmhurst.

Loewen shot a two-under 70 that included a double bogey on his final hole after his tee shot found the water.

A LOT OF GOLF LEFT

"There were just a couple of bad swings, but there's still a lot of golf left to be played," said Loewen, who also had five birdies, one bogey and 11 pars during his round.

Mike Keast of Niakwa has yet to get into a groove with his putter but is right in the thick of things in third spot, just two shots off the pace after his 70 yesterday put him at 142. Shayne Fredborg of Selkirk is fourth at 143.

Matt Johnston of St. Charles had the low round of the day at Gimli, a three-under 69 that helped him move up the leaderboard after his opening-round 75.

"I'm playing really well and I had some fun," said Johnston, who had four birdies, 13 pars and one bogey. "I smile all the way around, talked to my dad and just enjoyed the day. I was tense all day (on Monday) and didn't let myself play well."

Johnston said his lone bogey came on a three-putt on the ninth hole from about 10 feet.

Dave Michaleski of Larters, who shared the first-round lead with Bannatyne, shot 76 yesterday in what was his first round ever at Links at the Lake and is now tied for fifth with Johnston and Russel Slobodian of Rossmere at 144.

Two-time amateur champ Garth Collings of Breezy Bend shaved four strokes off his opening round with a 71 yesterday and sits at 146 with a group that includes defending amateur champion Jordan Krantz of Vermilion Bay, Ont., Scott Markham of Niakwa, Tyler Mancini of Pine Ridge and Jay Doyle of Niakwa.

In what can only be described as an odd circumstance, addition was a factor for one of the players who was forced to eat an extra stroke after signing for the wrong number on his scorecard.

Jamie Wilkie of Sandy Hook, who sits eighth after two rounds, was the guilty party on Monday and yesterday it was Brad Kirton of Elmhurst.

Kirton actually made a three on the 11th hole, but signed for a four and was forced to take a 77 on a tough day when he really shot 76.

Pace of play proved to be a concern for the second consecutive day as several groups were put on the clock.

The first group of the day needed just four hours and seven minutes but the following group was over four-and-a-half hours, which backed things up from there.

Mark, lift, clean and place rules were in effect for the second consecutive round but won't likely be used during the final 36 holes, slated for today and tomorrow at Links at the Lake.


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