NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With the weather and course conditions a bit more difficult to grasp, Donny Lee figured he would be in for a grind when he prepared to compete in the second round of the Southern California PGA Sectional Professional Championship on Tuesday afternoon at Oakmont Country Club.
Lee, an assistant professional at Oakmont, had to remain patient while battling the warmer temperatures, wind and pin placements dotting each of the 18 greens on the historic 88-year-old course.
Lee survived the grind, as he carded a two-over-par 73 to place him second entering today's final round.
Lee, who opened with a 70 on Monday, overcame each obstacle to put himself in contention to win the tournament.
"It was a total grind [Tuesday], and Monday was a lot easier," said Lee, who trailed Grant Strobel by three strokes. "My ball-striking wasn't all that good, especially early.
"I parred the 10th hole and then bogeyed 11 through 13. I had to suck it up at that point. I had to get on the greens and start making pars."
Lee is one of 63 players who made the cut, which was 155. The final round will begin at 7 a.m. today. The top 11 finishers from the 54-hole stroke play competition will qualify for the 2011 PGA Professional Championship, which will be held June 26-29 at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa.
Lee collected two birdies, 12 pars and four bogeys on the 7,015-yard course. He's recorded 25 pars and five birdies through two rounds.
"I have to expect to play more of the same," Lee said. "I might have a little home-course advantage and try to use that to help me out."
Strobel of Fairbanks Ranch in San Diego County turned in a second straight round of 70.
"You have to get it to the right spot and hit quality shots in the greens," said Strobel, who registered 11 pars and five birdies Tuesday. "It's a very tough course and you have to hit well off the tees to be open to make good shots for birdies."
Oakmont head Professional John Milligan shot a 76 on Tuesday to put him in a tie for 53rd at 154. Milligan nearly played himself out of the tournament after he experienced some misfortune on the 15th hole, which saw him finish with a rare triple-bogey. However, Milligan shook off the hole and made the cut.
"I hit a perfect drive with an eight-iron and then it rolled down near two tree roots," said Milligan, who collected four birdies and nine pars. "I had to use the toe of one of my clubs to get out of there and then the club got stuck under the tree roots.
"Then, I hit the shot out. I birdied 15th and 16th holes and then parred the 18th. During the 15th, I was positive that I wouldn't be playing [Wednesday]."
Chris Starkjohann of Torrey Pines Golf Club and Outings and Timothy Parun of Sail Ho Golf Club are tied for third at 144. Parun, who led after Monday, shot a 75 on Tuesday, losing his one-stroke lead.
Defending champion Ron Skayhan of Hillcrest Country Club fired a 75 to place him in a tie for 34th at 151.
Chevy Chase Country Club Professional Rick Sessinghaus didn't make the cut after he finished with an 82 for a two-round score of 162. Kevin Erdman, of the Altadena Golf Course and the husband of Crescenta Valley High girls' golfer Courtney Renfro, withdrew Tuesday after shooting a 79 on Monday.
The field began at 149.
The section tournament winner will earn $14,000 from the estimated $80,000 purse and receive an exemption into the 2011 Bob Hope Classic. The top two finishers will earn exemptions into the 2010 Soboba Classic Nationwide Tour event. The top 30 placements will receive exemptions into the 2010 California State Open, which will be held in Beaumont in November.