Gulph Mills Golf Club assistant pro Jordan Gibbs fired a 2-under 68 Wednesday at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Wissahickon Course, an A.W. Tillinghast Classic, to take a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Philadelphia Section PGA Championship.
Combined with the 5-under 67 Gibbs put up Tuesday at the Militia Hill Course, it gave him a 36-hole total of 7-under 135. Defending champion Dave McNabb, the head pro at Applebrook Golf Club, is a shot back at 6-under 136 after he added a 2-under 70 at Militia Hill to the 66 he shot Tuesday at the Wissahickon Course.
In addition to competing for the Section championship, the top 12 finishers advance to the 50th PGA Professional Championship, which will be held next June at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon.
Gibbs started fast Wednesday, making birdies on two of the first three holes. He had three more birdies and three bogeys the rest of the way for a solid 2-under total on a course that hosted the top senior professionals earlier this summer in the Senior Players Championship, a PGA Champions Tour major won by Bernhard Langer.
Stu Ingrahm, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, carded a 2-under 70 at Militia Hill and is tied for third at 5-under 137. Ingraham won the Philadelphia Section PGA Senior title last month at St. Davids Golf Club.
Ingraham was joined at 5-under by Philadelphia Country Club head pro Scott Reilly, who had set the pace in the first round with a 6-under 66 at Militia Hill. Reilly posted a 1-over 71 at the Wissahickon Course Wednesday.
The round of the day belonged to Whitemarsh Valley Country Club pro Dave Pagett, who fired a sizzling 6-under 64 at the Wissahickon Course, the competitive course record since the Wissahickon underwent some renovations. Pagett’s game heated up on the back nine as he ripped off five straight birdies beginning on the 11th. His brilliant round left Pagett alone in fifth place at 4-under 138.
Michael Little of Lookaway Golf Club and John Pillar of the Country Club at Woodloch Springs, both of whom posted a 2-under 70 at Militia Hill, are tied for sixth at 2-under 140.
Leading a group of four players tied for eighth at 1-under 141 is Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster, who had a 1-over 73 at Militia Hill after opening up with a 2-under 68 at the Wissahickon Course.
He was joined at that figure by Stonewall head pro Ryan Lagergren, who had an even-par 72 at Militia Hill, Alex Knoll of Bethlehem Golf Club, who had a 3-over 73 at the Wissahickon Course, and Bill Walker of Riverton Country Club, who had an even-par 70 at the Wissahickon Course.
As always, the major subplot is the race for the top-12 finishers who earn a trip to Sunriver for the PGA Professional Championship. And nobody would like to get back to Sunriver more than Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion Golf Club.
Sheftic is one of three players tied for 12th at even-par 142 after a solid 1-under 69 at the Wissahickon Course Wednesday. Sheftic was the 54-hole leader the last time the National Club Pro was staged at Sunriver and settled for a tie for fourth. That earned him a trip to the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.
Sheftic is joined at even par by Tony Perla of host the Cricket Club, who had a 1-over 73 at Militia Hill, and Jason Lamp of Galloway National Golf Club, who had an even-par 72 at Militia Hill.
Spring-Ford Country Club head pro Rich Steinmetz is one of seven players tied for 15th at 1-over 143 and very much in the hunt for one of those tickets to Sunriver. Steinmetz matched par with a 72 at Militia Hill.
He was joined at 1-over by Terry Hertzog of the Country Club of York, who had a 2-under 70 at Militia Hill, Terry Hatch of Hidden Valley Golf Club, who had a 2-under 70 at Militia Hill, Overbrook Golf Club head pro Eric Kennedy, who had an even-par 72 at Militia Hill, Ryan Shaughnessy of Wedgewood Golf Course, who had a 3-over 75 at Militia Hill, John Spina of host the Cricket Club who had an even-par 70 on the Wissahickon Course, and Mike Molino of The Country Club of Scranton, who had a 4-over 74 at the Wissahickon Course.
The shot of the day belonged to Indian Springs Country Club’s Curtis Kirkpatrick, whose 3-wood shot at Militia Hill’s par-5 sixth hole found the cup for a double eagle. He finished with a 1-over 73, but his 152 total failed to make the cut for the final round, which fell at 8-over 150.
The top 60 and ties who made the cut will all tee it up at the Wissahickon Course Thursday.