Fashioning 3-round lead

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

GIMLI -- Stewart Bannatyne is enjoying the view from the top of the leaderboard.

And if he manages to stay there one more day, Bannatyne will capture his first Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship.

The St. Charles Country Club member shot a one-under 71 yesterday at Links at the Lake in Gimli to maintain a one-stroke edge over Scott Loewen of Elmhurst heading into today's final round of the 72-hole event.

Bannatyne, who made a bold fashion statement by wearing purple plaid pants yesterday, would love to have a bit more of a cushion but he's not about to worry about having to hold off the field today.

"One will do, it's nice to be at the top obviously," said Bannatyne, whose highlights yesterday included a chip-in for eagle on nine and making a tester for par on 18 to maintain the one-stroke advantage. "It's the first time I've ever led all three rounds and it's very positive to have done that with the level of players in the field here.

"I've been close in the junior and I've been close in the amateur, so I'm going to learn from those experiences."

LOGJAM

There is a four-way logjam for third at one-over 215, which includes defending amateur champion Jordan Krantz of Eagles Landing, Scott Markham of Niakwa, Dave Michaleski of Larters and Matt Johnston of St. Charles.

Jay Doyle and Mike Keast, both of Niawka, are tied for seventh at two-over 216, Peter More of Elmhurst sits ninth at 217 and Garth Collings of Breezy Bend rounds out the top-10 at 218.

Loewen shot 71 yesterday and is quite comfortable with where he's currently sitting.

"One shot is nothing," said Loewen. "I really enjoy playing with Stew, there's no question. We had fun, from the minute we teed off until the minute we got in (the clubhouse). It's going to be like a casual round out there (today). We're going to have fun and see what happens."

Krantz, who was actually five-under on the front side before making a couple of bogeys on the back, was one of three players -- Markham and More were the others -- to produce a 69, which was the low round of the day.

"I was trying to focus a little more on the targets and I was a lot more relaxed," said Krantz, noting he felt no additional pressure entering the tournament as the defending champ.

The highlight of Markham's day was a chip-in for eagle on the par-5 17th, a shot that his father Dave predicted would fall during the walk down the fairway.

"My dad said to me 'you're due for one,' and I was pumped to chip in for eagle. That was awesome," said Markham, who joked that the eagle and solid round could serve as a birthday gift for his mother Jan. "It was a steady day and I didn't make any mistakes, I just kept hitting it down the middle."

More's round was exceptional, considering he was three-over par after six holes and played the final 12 at six-under.

"I was feeling pretty bad and it wasn't going very good," said More, who got it turned around with three consecutive birdies to close out the front side and came in with 33 on the back. "I just wanted to give myself a chance. It's going to be exciting to try and come from a little ways back and put a charge together."

Collings struck the ball exceptionally well but was unable to score when his putter let him down.

"There'll be a new one in the bag tomorrow," said Collings.

The top four players secure a spot on Manitoba's Willingdon Cup team and will represent the province at the RCGA Canadian Men's Amateur Championship in Baddeck, N.S., from Aug. 12 to 19.


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