Sanchez going for second seniors title in three years

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By Mike Cote

The opening round for Eddie Sanchez didn’t end as well as it started.

But if he finishes up in the same position that he finished Saturday, he will grab his second City senior men’s title in three tries.

Sanchez will take the lead heading into today’s City Championship Senior Men’s final round after finishing with a 1-over 73 Saturday.

John Stam and defending senior men’s champion Bruce Norman are within five shots of Sanchez’s lead heading into today’s play.

Heading into his final six holes of the day Saturday, Sanchez was 2-under par, but took bogeys on both the 8th, 9th and 13th — he started the day on the 14th hole — to finish up a stroke above par.

“I hit the ball really well,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t hit many greens, but the short game is where I excel.”

His putter came through for him Saturday, as he holed two 20-foot putts on the day.

Norman, who won the 2008 title by four shots over Sanchez, played a steady round but couldn’t take advantage of Sanchez’s bogeys late on the front side, picking up a pair of bogeys as well.

Stam, meanwhile, was looking forward to being grouped with Sanchez today.

“This will be the first time in a lot of years that we’ve played together in a tournament,” Stam said.

The two men were last grouped together at a high school tournament in the late 1960s when they both played for the Hilltopper golf squad.

Stam said that his putter also came through for him Saturday, with the LAGC greens rolling about as well as they’ve rolled in some time. Unfortunately, he was only able to hit four greens in regulation.

On the front, Stam shot a 1-over 37, parring each of the first eight holes before needing an extra shot to finish the ninth. He concluded the day taking just one double-bogey, on the 16th, but got one of those strokes back on the very next hole.

“I kept the ball out of trouble,” he said. “I got the ball to the green and my short game took it from there.”

Darren Knox finished fourth Saturday with his 81, while Kurt Anast earned an 82.