By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
While the calendar said it was Saturday, Chris Patterson played golf like it was a Wednesday.
“I’m playing with the guys I normally play with on Wednesday,” he said. “So I was thinking to myself this is just a normal round with your friends. There’s no reason to get upset or worked up over it. ... You go out and play with your buddies like you do every week.
“That’s the attitude I decided to take, and I think it kind of helped. It kept me focused a little more. Instead of trying to do something I probably couldn’t do, it kept me in the moment for the most part.”
Patterson followed an opening-round 68 with a 3-under-par 69 and maintained the top spot in the 45th annual Briarbrook Invitational at the Briarbrook Golf Course.
Patterson’s 36-hole total of 7-under 137 is two shots ahead of fellow Briarbrook member Corey Clingan, who fired a 67 Saturday to make a huge leap up the leaderboard. Andrew Maier (71-140) and Mark Bruder (70-141) complete today’s final foursome that tees off at 2 p.m.
Chad Walker (72-141) is tied for fourth place, one shot ahead of Glenn Keeton and Dustin Edge, who posted their second 71s, and Tug Baker, who had a second-round 73.
Lou Rapalino and Chad Lind are tied for ninth at 143 after shooting 69 and 72, respectively. Defending champion Jim Lucas and Ethan Hutcheson are tied at 144 — just as they were one year ago when Lucas beat Hutcheson on the third playoff hole.
“There are a lot of great players out here,” Patterson said. “I have to play as good as I can play to even have a chance to win.”
After Saturday’s round, the 55-under field was split into flights.
Chris Mitchell and Andrew Watts share the top spot in President’s Flight at 146. Other leaders are Chris Moudy in A Flight with 152, Jake Reed, Brandon Stidham and Jeff Wagner in B Flight with 159, Ron Oney and Brian Williams in C Flight with 167 and Adam Greek in D Flight with 177.
Steve Watts, after a first-round 66, matched par-72 for a 138 total and a seven-shot advantage over Tim Old in the Seniors Division (ages 56-65).
In the Super Seniors (66 and older), J.B. Brown leads the field at 155, two shots ahead of Jim Brown (no relation).
Patterson’s solid ball striking on the back nine Friday continued throughout his 34-35 round on Saturday.
“Actually, the weird thing was (Saturday) I hit the ball better than I did (Friday),” Patterson said. “I hit the ball solid all day long. There was only really one bad swing I had and that was on 18. I pushed it right into the trees. I missed the green left by about three or four yards, then chipped it up and made a two-footer for par. But that was really my worst swing of the day.
“I think I hit almost every fairway. I only chipped twice. I only missed two greens today. I hit the ball much more solid, but I didn’t make as many putts as I did (Friday).”
Three of Patterson’s four birdies came on par-5s. He two-putted No. 5 and No. 13 for birdies and chipped within four feet for birdie on No. 7. His other birdie was a chip-in on 17.
“I was just a little left of the green (off the tee),” Patterson said. “I hit my chip and for some reason it didn’t check and rolled off the back of the green. Then I chipped it in from the back of the green for birdie.”
His lone bogey came on the par-3 16th when he missed the green right and missed an eight-footer for par.
Clingan, tied for 17th place after an opening-round 72, holed six birdies and carded four straight 3s from the eighth through 11th holes.
He birdied 1, 5, 6 and 9 during a front-nine 32. The back nine had birdies on 10 and 18 and a bogey on 17.
Maier shot 35-36 with three birdies and two bogeys. Bruder had 34-36 with five birdies and three bogeys, and Walker round of 72 included three birdies on the front side and three bogeys on the back.