KERNERSVILLE — For a first timer in the Forsyth Invitational Stuart Fuller is feeling quite comfortable.
Fuller, a rising junior at Wofford, shot 3 under 69 on Saturday in the second round at Pine Knolls Golf Club and will have the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
He’s at 9 under after 36 holes.
“I haven’t had a lead in a tournament in a long time so this is nice,” said Fuller, who had five birdies and two bogeys on Saturday. “I had never played this course before so I was kind of feeling my way around but there are a lot of blind shots.”
Fuller will take a three-shot lead over Chris Logan (72) and the Einstein family of Greg (70) and his son Brandon, who shot 72. Logan and the two Einsteins are are 6 under for the tournament.
Sitting four shots off the pace are Brian Hayes (69) and Mark Johnston, who had the best score of the day at 4 under. Michael Robb (70) and Kevin Veach (69) are at 4 under and Arlis Pike, who was playing at his home course, shot 71 and is at 3 under. Pike, who is 71 years old, is a three-time winner of the Forsyth but hasn’t won it since 1995.
Chasing Fuller as well will be Logan, 52, a three-time winner whose last win in the Forsyth was in 2005. Greg Einstein, 52, has been in contention before but this is one of his best chances to win his first Forsyth Invitational.
“I hung in there and played well and I just sort of scrambled around,” Greg said. “That was about as good as I could do out there so I’ll take a 70.”
The Einstein family has a long history in the 72-year history of the tournament. Greg’s father and Brandon’s grandfather, Freddy, won the tournament in 1973.
“I think it would be neat,” Greg said about the family history of the tournament. “And I don’t care which Einstein it is. Brandon’s going to have his chances over the few years but I don’t know how many chances I’m going to get.”
Brandon, who is a rising sophomore at High Point University, never got his putter working as he settled for an even-par 72.
“I just have to go out and hit fairways and greens,” Brandon said. “I just didn’t hit it as well as I could and my ball-striking was off.”
Veach followed up his 70 on Friday at Reynolds Park with another solid round.
“I got to play in this Forsyth Invitational twice when I was in the juniors so I’ve played a lot and I love it,” said Veach, who is 28 and works at Wilshire Golf Course.
Veach, whose family owns Wilshire, came close to winning the Forsyth Junior in 2007.
On Saturday he was steady throughout his round to put himself into position for Sunday’s final round. He three-putted from just off the fringe on 18 for a bogey, but was excited about his chances. He had five birdies and two bogeys.
“I just have to see my game and see if it comes to me,” Veach said. “I would love to win it and I can’t really express it in words but it would be really big. It should be fun.”
Notes: Sam Haggas, the youngest golfer in the field at 16, is allowed to play in the Forsyth Invitational as the winner of the Forsyth Junior. Haggas, a rising junior at Bishop McGuinness, has shot rounds of 76-76…. Arlis Pike and Steven Blakely are the two oldest golfers in the field at age 71. Steven is playing golf again after suffering a stroke a few months ago. Two of Steven’s sons, Greg and Dewayne, are also playing. “It’s great to see him out here playing,” Dewayne said…. Reynolds Park was playing about 6,200 yards on Friday as a par-71. Pine Knolls was set up from the back tees. It was playing around 6,500 and is a par-72. Sunday’s final round will be played at Tanglewood Park’s Championship Course. The par-70 will play at just over 6,400…. Pine Knolls is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The course was built in 1969. According to Pike, who worked on the course from 1972 through 1980, Grady James designed the back nine…. For the final round foursomes will go off both No. 1 and No. 10 tees with the tee times falling between 7:30-9:30 a.m. The foursome of both Einsteins, Logan and Fuller will tee off at 9:20 a.m. of the first tee…. Two veteran golfers in the Forsyth Invitational are Sonny Kiger and Gerald Carter. Carter, who is 67, said: “Sonny and I added it up and we have 135 years of experience in this tournament,” Carter said. “I think I’m going to play in two more of these.”… In Friday’s first round there were 13 golfers who broke par. In Saturday’s round there were just eight who managed to break par.