Golf: Tom Ferguson finds a way to take the Aurora City Championship lead

Tom Ferguson has found himself in the hunt at many golf tournaments, but never tasted victory.

“I’ve been the bridesmaid about eight times,” the 47-year-old from Naperville said.

He appears poised for a breakthrough.

Putting on a ball-striking clinic on a day where red numbers were otherwise non-existent, Ferguson carded a 1-under-par 71 Saturday at Fox Valley to take a commanding six-stroke lead into the final round of the Aurora City Golf Championship.

Ferguson, who entered three shots ahead, was the only golfer to break par and is at 1-under 214 for the tournament, with the final round at Phillips Park. Ferguson will be joined in the 10 a.m. grouping by first-round leader Brian Kirhofer, who shot a 2-over 74 to put him 5-over for the tournament.

Also in the final foursome is Aurora Central graduate Justin Prince, three shots back of Kirhofer after shooting 5-over, and Marmion Academy’s Luke Hoss, three back of Prince.

Ferguson came out on fire with birdies at No. 1 and 5.

He showed his mettle over the next three holes.

His approach from 90 yards out at the 533-yard par-5 sixth was aimed at the pin but took one hop, hit the flagstick and rolled off the green. Ferguson wound up making bogey, but came right back with birdies at Nos. 7 and 8 to make the turn at 3-under.

“I just held my composure and told myself ‘Same thing happened to Tiger Woods at the Masters,’” Ferguson said. “You have to expect crazy things in these tournaments.”

Later, at the par-3 15th, Ferguson hit his drive behind the trees, but didn’t panic and punched it back onto the fairway and made bogey.

“I took my medicine instead of making some sort of hero shot,” Ferguson said. “In tournaments like these you want to stay away from the big numbers.”

Defending tournament champion Jason Frantzen, also in the final foursome, couldn’t avoid those big numbers — shooting an 8-over 80 to put him 12 back. He was impressed with Ferguson’s steady game.

“He was Mr. Consistent. I don’t think he missed many shots,” Frantzen said. “It’s hard to post big numbers when you’re making every green in regulation.”

Kirhofer, a West Aurora and North Central College graduate, experienced a rollercoaster front nine.

He birdied Nos. 2, 3 and 7, and drove the 304-yard par-5 eighth to within five feet of the cup, making eagle. But bogies at Nos. 1, 5 and 9 and a double on the 533-yard par-5 sixth kept him at even-par at the turn.

He missed several birdie putts on the back until finally dropping one at No. 18. Kirhofer knows he’ll need more of those to chase down Ferguson.

“Back nine, I tried to make a push but I couldn’t quite get the putts to fall,” Kirhofer said. “They’re such small greens here that it’s tough to stick it close out here. My approach shots were right around the green; I just couldn’t get up and down.”

Frantzen woke up just three shots back of Ferguson, but also with a 101-degree fever. Things didn’t get much better once on the course.

He hit his second shot at No. 6 into the hazard, then lost a ball out of bounds off the seventh tee. On the 496-yard par-5 12th, he hit his drive into the water, then knocked his drop out of bounds and made triple-bogey.

“When you lose three balls it’s not a good thing,” Frantzen said. “I’m just happy I was able to get through the round.”

SCORES

Aurora City Golf Championship
Saturday’s second round at par-72 Fox Valley
Tom Ferguson 74-69-71 – 214
Brian Kirhofer 73-73-74 – 220
Justin Prince 75-71-77 – 223
Luke Hoss 84-69-73 – 226
Jason Frantzen 75-71-80 – 226
Luke Kreiter 75-76-76 – 227
Jon Price 77-73-80 – 230
Adam Baumann 76-75-81 – 232
Kirk Madison 75-75-83 – 233
Gary Hunley 74-76-83 – 233
Hamilton White 78-77-78 – 233
Jackson Clark 75-81-79 – 235
Chuck Van Horn 83-76-76 – 235
Rob Wallers 78-80-78 – 236
Brett Kirhofer 78-79-80 – 237
Mike Connell 83-80-75 – 238
Scott Minta 80-75-83 – 238
Chris Whetstone 77-79-83 – 239
Andrew Borneman 86-78-76 – 240
Chris Patrick 79-79-82 – 240
Mark Webb 78-79-84 – 241
Dave Richert 85-75-82 – 242
Ryan Harreld 82-76-84 – 242
Nick Nelson 86-76-81 – 243
Wenming Zhu 80-78-86 – 244
Tim Weber 80-80-84 – 244
Nick Huggins 86-75-83 – 244
Alex Klein-Weeden 82-78-85 – 245
Nick Bonifas 89-78-80 – 247
Joe Sells 80-84-83 – 247
Dan Anderson 83-81-84 – 248
Blake Kauffmann 82-80-87 – 249
Nockoo Stewart 84-83-84 – 251
Kyle McCadric 87-86-78 – 251
Steven Lewis 81-86-87 – 254
John Paul Borneman 86-84-86 – 256
Mike Ponce 81-84-91 – 256
Brett Koskinen 89-81-86 – 256
Mark Walker 94-81-81 – 256
Zach Zamin 87-85-85 – 257
Rick Morales 88-91-79 – 258
Joey Manzari 91-82-86 – 259
Adrian Contreras 87-78-95 – 260
Mike Collins 89-91-82 – 262
Timothy Borneman 89-82-92 – 263
Robert Schneider 93-86-86 – 265
Ronnie Sickler 90-86-89 – 265
Mark Frantzen 88-86-91 – 265
Adam St. Cyr 94-86-85 – 265
Trent Jackson 94-89-88 – 271
Craig Thurston 92-94-87 – 273
Joey Manzari 91-82-87 – 273
Karl Tirevold 90-86-87 – 273
Ron Schwartz 90-89-94 – 273
Wally Cotton 100-84-90 – 274
Bill Moehlenkamp 95-88-95 – 278
Dan Lourde 95-93-90 – 278
Roger Haith 86-95-88 – 279
Mark Meservey 97-92-92 – 281
Kerry Taylor 100-84-98 – 282
Kerry Taylor 100-84-99 – 282
Rob Kramer 95-91-98 – 284
Bill Erickson 106-87-96 289
Phil Speck 101-97-93 – 291
David Schwartz 96-99-102 – 297
Edwin Pimentel 99-98-101 – 298
Daniel Valadez 96-102-103 – 302
Joe Morales 100-111-98 – 309
Terry Heap 107-99-104 – 310
Hanif Malik 109-114-109 – 332
Rolando Olivarez 118-111-106 – 335
Frak Kruter 116-126-115- 357

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