Familiar foes

Former Mesa teammates Bingaman, Robbins in first and second at Colorado West Amateur

aturday was a frustrating day for Brandon Bingaman. The former Colorado Mesa golfer missed a number of putts, including this one that hangs on the lip of the hole at Bookcliff Country Club. Despite the missed putts, Bingaman remains in the lead after shooting an even-par 71 at the Colorado West Amateur, with a four-shot cushion heading into today’s final round.

Joey Saad will be in today’s final foursome at the Colorado West Amateur with Brandon Bingaman, Sean Robbins and Scott Sullivan. Saad shot a 1-over-par 72 for the second straight day.

Sean Robbins didn’t let three back-nine bogeys take him down, and as a result he kept Brandon Bingaman in his sights.

The former Colorado Mesa University teammates enter today’s third and final round of the Home Loan Colorado West Amateur golf tournament in the top two spots.

Bingaman retained a four-stroke lead in the tourney despite shooting what he called a “frustrating 71” Saturday. That’s par, by the way, at Bookcliff Country Club, but it was five more strokes than the 66 he carded on Day 1.

Robbins, the defending tournament champion, fired the low round of Day 2, a 2-under-par 69 that gave him a two-day total of 141, and he spoke of keeping his cool after surviving a frustrating stretch to climb from fourth to second.

“It was up and down,” Robbins said of his day, but it actually started with a consistent first nine, which began on No. 10 and netted all birdies and pars.

His second nine then began with a birdie, but Holes 2, 3 and 5 bit him with bogeys. No. 5 in particular was frustrating as he said he tried to muscle a pitching wedge on the 170-yard par-3 and plunked his shot in the water.

Rather than wilt on an afternoon where the temperature climbed into the mid-90s, Robbins regrouped.

“I made sure I didn’t get angry,” he said.

He then brought home his round with birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 and pars on 8 and 9.

Bingaman will look to calculate his yardages more carefully today after being off a club several times Saturday.

“I was hitting the shot the way I wanted to, but not being anywhere near where I wanted to be,” said Bingaman, explaining how he ended up with 18 putts on the first nine despite reaching each green in regulation.

Bingaman said he had three looks at eagle Saturday, including one on No. 18, which was his ninth hole, when a 15-foot putt lipped out. He followed up with a “decent look” at eagle on No. 1 but didn’t get it.

“I was happy with tap-in birdies at that point,” he said. “I couldn’t get anything else to go in.”

Bingaman and Robbins will be joined in today’s lead foursome by Scott Sullivan, who coached both at Colorado Mesa as a men’s golf assistant, and former Fruita Monument standout Joey Saad, who is going to be a sophomore at Dominican University of California in the fall.

Sullivan dropped from second to third with a 1-over 72 on Saturday, shooting 17 pars and one bogey to put him at 142. Saad shot his second-straight 72 and is tied for fourth at 144 with Chase Wortmann, who is joined in the preceding foursome by Kolton Kyne (145), Garrett Harrison (146) and Matthew Hall (146).

Only two others shot better than par Saturday, a pair of high school golfers: Grand Junction’s Donny Kinnaman and Montrose’s Riley Willis. Both shot 70 and climbed considerably in their flights.

Kinnaman, who finished fourth in the Class 5A state meet last fall as a sophomore, made amends for a first-round 77 by shooting his best round at Bookcliff. The improvement, he said, stemmed from better putting.

“Yesterday (Friday) I shot even on the front and 6-over on the back because I missed a bunch of short putts,” Kinnaman said. “And today those went in.”

His round was almost a lot rosier. Putts for birdie lipped out on Nos. 5, 6 and 8. With a little better luck on those, he would have been in the thick of things with the top eight players of the championship flight.

As is, he said, “After today I’m feeling really positive about my game. This is probably my sixth tournament of the summer, and this was by far my best round.”

Willis climbed into contention for the first flight championship. His 145 is two shots behind leader Chris Berg, who followed Friday’s 70 with a 73.

Willis said he had a couple of three-putts, but, “I was actually putting the ball really well.”

Willis, who qualified for the Class 4A state meet last fall as a junior, said his previous best round at Bookcliff was the 75 he shot Friday. Besides the putting, “My ball striking is the best it’s been,” Willis said. “It kind of clicked this week.”

He almost missed the opportunity, saying he didn’t sign up for the tournament until Thursday “because that’s when I found out about it.”

Dane Hamilton continues to lead the second flight after a second-round 77 put him at 150, four shots ahead of Peter Foye.

James Stelljes went from one-stroke back after the first round to a two-stroke lead at 163 in the third flight.

Al Zimmerebner leads the fourth flight by four strokes at 166.

Dutch Denbleyker extended his lead in the fifth flight to 12 strokes with a two-day 162.


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