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Engle in control at City Am

Holds five-stroke lead over leaders, including last six champs

Win or lose, Clark Engle’s goal every golf tournament is to learn something he can apply to the next one.

The lesson after last weekend’s first two rounds of the Springfield Men’s City Amatuer? Don’t look over your shoulder.

The 2013 Shawnee High School graduate carries a five-stroke lead into this weekend’s final two rounds, both at Reid Park’s North Course. The five golfers immediately behind him — Josh Sine, Andy Bonar, Michael Bernard, Dan Schuler and Joe Turney — have combined for 20 City Am championships, including six straight and 12 of the last 16.

“I feel comfortable with it,” said Engle, who shot 134 (66-68) last weekend. “I want to be in the lead, so that’s where I feel comfortable.”

Sine, the two-time defending champ and eight-time winner, fired a 65 last Saturday to lead Engle and the field by a stroke. But a 74 on Sunday dropped him to second.

“I’d like to be a little closer, but I left a lot of shots out there,” said Sine, also a Shawnee graduate. “It helps (winning past tournaments), but I also know the pressure isn’t going to get to Clark. He’s used to tournament golf.”

In addition to playing Big Ten golf for Ohio State, Engle is coming off a sixth-place finish at the Ohio Am that ended July 11. He’s also the defending champion of the Clark County Match-Play Championship coming up in August.

That the final two rounds are on Reid North is also a plus for Engle. That was his home course in high school.

“It suits my game pretty well. I don’t hit a lot of drivers but I can make a lot of birdies by making some good approach shots there,” Engle said. “I was able to stay away from bogeys (last weekend). My only bogey was my last hole.”

Bonar, the Wittenberg assistant golf coach and 2011 champ who enters the weekend eight shots back at 142 (68-74), didn’t have any bogeys on Sunday until his final three holes. He bogeyed them all.

“I turned a good round into a not-so-good round,” said Bonar, whose game has slowed down this summer with a 10-month-old at home. “(Engle’s) lead is pretty insurmountable. He’s very, very good.

“North’s not an easy course. I bet if you asked Clark his 68 on the North was better than his 66 on the South. If you make par on the North that’s pretty good playing.”

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