Past tournament champion, Shonn Weldon, carded a 7-under par 65 on Saturday and holds a two-shot lead over both Tre Lamb and two-time Chicken Dinner champion Josh Jackson. Heath Jones, last year’s winner, will round out the final foursome on Sunday. Jones sits four shots back after an opening round 69.
Weldon finished fourth in last year’s event at 5-under par for 36 holes. He finished at 6-under when he won it all in 2010.
Lamb has played in the Chicken Dinner several times, but has never been in the final group on Sunday. Jackson won the tournament in both 2003 and 2008, and lost in a sudden death playoff in 2007.
However, neither of the three will likely feel comfortable with Jones lurking just four shots back. In last year’s final grouping, Jones trailed Bo Abney by four shots after the first seven holes on Sunday, but eventually made up the ground and claimed a one-stroke victory after a birdie at the par-4 18th hole.
The day’s penultimate foursome also has plenty of experience in the tournament. Jared Willerson, Jaylon Ellison, and Ryan Cannington are all four shots back after a trio of 69’s on Saturday, while Andrew Partridge is five back after shooting a opening round of 70.
Partridge, a Bremen native, won the Chicken Dinner title in 2007 just two weeks removed from graduating high school. His late-round charge tied him with Jackson before he won it on the first hole of sudden death.
Former LaFayette High golfer, Link Casey, is also five back while Matt Rodgers shot a 71 on Saturday and sits six strokes off the lead.
The next-to-last group in the championship flight is scheduled to tee off at 1:50 p.m. with the final foursome set to go off at 2 p.m.
Nine golfers are tied for the lead in the first flight after carding 2-over 74’s on Saturday. There is an 11-way tie for first in the second flight at 6-over 78. Another nine-way logjam at 10-over 82 can be found at the top of the third flight, while Don Phillips and Howard Hunt share the fourth flight lead at 15-over 87.