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Sine rises to top of City Am field with 68

Josh Sine believes the key to mastering Snyder Park’s narrow, tree-lined fairways is patience, and the veteran golfer showcased plenty on Sunday.

Vying for his eighth Springfield Men’s City Amateur title, Sine opened second-round play with eight straight pars before posting a breakthrough birdie on the 459-yard, par-5 ninth hole.

The seven-time champion and 2012 winner fired a 4-under 68, moving into a one-shot lead over Andy Bonar while sharing the day’s low round with 2007 champ Chip Knuckey.

“I three-putted on 15 for my only bogey,” said Sine, who shot 70 on Saturday and sits atop the leader board with a 6-under 138. “It was a solid day — nothing really good, nothing really bad. … The key is staying patient. Some holes you try to go after, some holes you don’t.

“If somebody can get to eight or nine (under) at the end of this thing, that’s really good golf for four days,” he added. “The course is playing really well.”

Bonar (67-72 — 139) made noise early with birdies on holes 2, 4, 9, 13 and 16, but relinquished his lead with bogeys on No. 5 and No. 7, and a double-bogey on No. 6.

“The greens were a little faster today and the pins were playing a little tougher,” he said. “I haven’t been playing too well this summer. It’s just been, well, bad. These are two of the better rounds I’ve had all summer.”

Scott Wilke strung together back-to-back rounds of 70 and sits at 4-under 140 with two rounds still to play, while Knuckey (73-68 — 141) moved into striking distance at fourth by carding the day’s other low-round 68.

“I was scrambling better — putting better — today,” said Knuckey, who turned pro in 2009 and 2010 but regained his amateur status last year.

A 2009 Wright State University graduate, Knuckey carded four birdies on the front nine and added three more on the back — his only miscues being a bogey on the 389-yard, par-4 opening hole and a double-bogey on the 271-yard, par-4 11th.

“Snyder’s a shot-maker’s course,” he said. “You can’t really overpower it.”

Zach Fowler and Clay Portz each shot 76 after opening-round 67s, and Sean Ryan carded a 71. They sit fifth at 143.

“I struggled a bit today,” Portz said, “but playing with the lead isn’t easy for anybody. Tiger (Woods) doesn’t seem to have an easy time with it, either. … That’s why they give us 36 more holes.”

Portz, a full-scholarship sophomore at Northern Kentucky University who helped Kenton Ridge to a 2011 state title, is playing in his first U.S. Amateur 6-hole qualifier today at Miami Valley Golf Club. Former KR teammate Luke Schlicher (74-71 — 145) is joining him.

“I can’t say whether playing (at Snyder on Sunday) will help or hurt (at the qualifier),” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll have a good run.”

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