Pearson out in front

Colin Pearson had no reason not to be satisfied with his performance at the 66th annual Fort Dodge Amateur men’s golf tournament here Saturday.

Beginning moving day three shots off the pace in the open division, Pearson shot a low second-round score of 69 to tie Ryan Schrimper atop the leaderboard with a two-under par 140 after 36 holes at the Fort Dodge Country Club.

Levi Fink (69-72-141), Connor Peck (72-70-142) and Matthew Junge (73-71-144) are the other frontrunners. Anchoring the senior division are Joe Palmer (71-68-139) and Joel Yunek (73-70-143).

Pearson is the defending open champion, while Yunek has prevailed the past two years in the senior class and four times overall.

“I was extremely happy, but it was definitely a grind all day,” said Pearson, a 2012 FDSH graduate and University of San Diego signee. “I didn’t hit my irons well at all. I was about 20 or 30 feet out trying to get my pars. My goal was to put something solid down on the first day and get my name higher on the leaderboard after the second round.”

Pearson, who won the 2011 and 2012 city titles, tied the overall Fort Dodge Am tournament record last summer with a 14-under par 199 total. He actually registered pars on each of the front nine holes yesterday, while posting birdies on 10, 11 and 17. Pearson’s lone bogey came on No. 15. Last year, he tallied a nine-under par 62 on the second day of the tournament to gain control.

“I just want to play the course (today) and stay patient,” Pearson said. “I feel more confident knowing I’ve been in this situation before, and I’m not too nervous. I’m excited to play with the guys that are contending. I’m hoping to go out and post good numbers.”

Schrimper, from Marion, managed birdies on 5 and 15. The former Mount Mercy University golfer settled for bogeys on 14 and 17.

Fink, the 2014 NJCAA national champion for NIACC, carded birdies on 9, 10, 11 and 15. He took a double-bogey on 18, along with bogeys on 2, 4 and 5. Fink actually broke his driver on hole No. 3.

“The head just broke after I tapped it on the ground, but I didn’t really need it the rest of the round anyway,” said Fink, who placed fifth here in 2013 with a four-over 217. “I thought the course was a lot different than last year. It seems to be less firm and a little more receptive. My goal for (Sunday) is to hopefully finish at least fifth or better.”

After entering the second round in front of the rest of the field, Ryan Kinseth is currently tied for sixth with seven others. Kinseth followed up a 68 with a six-over 77. The reigning Lakeside Am champion fired birdies on 12, 15 and 18. He added two double bogeys -2 and 3 – and five bogeys – 4, 9, 10, 11 and 17.

“I didn’t have a very good day,” Kinseth said. “The course was in great shape, but I wasn’t able to play how I wanted to. It was frustrating, especially considering I was in the lead going in.”

Defending senior runner-up Palmer, of West Des Moines, sank birdies on 3, 9, 15, 16 and 17 to go with a double bogey on 18. Yunek, a 1972 graduate of Lake City High School who lives in Mason City, notched birdies on 5, 9 and 11 and a double bogey on No. 1.

Marshalltown’s Pat Ryan (70-76-146) and Boone’s Jim Currell (73-73-146) still remain in striking distance. Ryan started Saturday with a one-shot advantage over Palmer, Tom Kesterson and Scott Morgensen.

The top 32 players and ties made the cut for today’s championship flight on the open side, with 16 seniors also advancing.

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-80s this afternoon, with south winds around 10 miles per hour. Chance of thunderstorms is 50 percent.