Had Craig Anderson and Bill O'Connor finished anywhere near the 64 they shot Tuesday in the first round, they might have put the 10th Trans-Mississippi Four-Ball Championships out of reach before the final round today at The Farms Golf Club.
Instead, Anderson, of Fallbrook, and O'Connor, of Beverly Hills, returned to earth with a two-under-par 70 Wednesday and are now 10 under at 134 after 36 holes. Seven teams finished with better second-round scores, but Anderson and O'Connor's lead is still three.
Anderson and O'Connor, who originally entered this national best-ball mid-amateur (25 and older) tournament with different partners, are fortunate to be where they are. They sank two chip shots and birdied four of the last five holes.
Only three teams were within six shots of Anderson and O'Connor after 18 holes. Three teams are now three shots back, two more five behind.
Jack Spradlin Jr. of San Diego and Frank Merhar of La Jolla shot a low-round 66 to make up more strokes, four, than any among the leaders. Spradlin and Merhar are tied for second at 137 with Pat Duncan of Rancho Santa Fe and Randy Reznicek, of Vista (69) and defending champions John Pigg of Austin, Tex., and Eddie Lyons of Shreveport, La., who picked up three strokes with a 67.
And if 1989 was any indication, no lead is safe with Pigg and Lyons within striking distance. Pigg and Lyons scored birdies on six of the last seven holes in the final round at Barton Creek Country Club in Austin to wrest what seemed to be a certain title from Kemp Richardson of Laguna Niguel and Jim Myers of Oceanside.
Richardson and Myers, who made up two strokes with a 68 Wednesday and are now five back at 139, had led by eight strokes after a first-round 61, then collapsed.
"They've made several long putts and done some unusual things, like chipping in a 90-yard wedge," Lyons said of the leaders. "We've made five bogeys since we've been here. You can't do that. We've got to figure on shooting a 64 or a 65 tomorrow."
Anderson and O'Connor will tee off last at 9:40 a.m. with Duncan and Reznicek, who have been most consistent among the leaders with a 68 and 69 the first two days. Spradlin and Merhar and Pigg and Lyons will tee off at 9:30 a.m.