Victoria, BC – Fargo, North Dakota’s Josh Persons shot a 3-under 67 at Uplands Golf Club on Saturday to take a two shot lead heading into the final round of the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist, the second event of PGA Tour Canada’s 2014 season.
The 30-year old former University of Minnesota Gopher will take his first 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since the 2012 Neediest Kids Championship on the Web.com Tour. Persons built a two-shot cushion over California’s Garrett Sapp, Washington’s Brock Mackenzie and New Mexico’s Tim Madigan.
“I look forward to it. I had so much fun today and I’m hoping to have some fun tomorrow. I can’t wait to get out,” said Persons of his outlook for Sunday’s final round. “I played pretty solid today. I gave myself some chances and stayed out of trouble.”
Persons began his day inauspiciously with a bogey on the second hole, but carded four birdies without a bogey the rest of the day to leap in front of overnight leader Mackenzie, who fell to a 1-over 71 on a day when Uplands Golf Club provided a tough test. Among players to make the cut, the field scoring average was 70.13 on Saturday compared to 67.80 on Friday and 68.84 on Thursday.
“It’s fun to play well, so that’s the good part, but this course will definitely test you. It was firm and there were some spots where you had to be real careful today,” said Persons. The second year PGA Tour Canada member admitted he would likely feel the pressure on Sunday, but that he would simply try to make the most of the situation and enjoy it.
“It’s where you want to be,” said Persons, who fell to a 77 when he led through 54 holes at the Web.com Tour’s Neediest Kids Championship. “Let’s have some fun tomorrow. In the past I’ve been very nervous and I’m sure I’ll be nervous again tomorrow, but like I said I’m looking forward to it.”
Persons will play in the final group alongside Sapp, whose 67 on Saturday vaulted him into a tie for second. Mackenzie, the 2010 champion at Uplands, will play alongside Madigan, who chipped in for birdie on the final hole for a 1-under 69.