Brehm, Wilkinson share lead at LECOM Health Challenge

Photo by Matt Spielman Tim Wilkinson watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the LECOM Health Challenge at Peek'n Peak Resort's Upper Course on Saturday. Wilkinson was tied for the lead at 16-under through 13 holes when play was suspended.

Special to The OBSERVER

FINDLEY LAKE — Ryan Brehm and Tim Wilkinson sit tied for the lead at 16-under as third-round play was suspended at the LECOM Suncoast Classic. After a two-hour inclement weather delay earlier in the day, the third round was suspended due to darkness at 8:57 p.m. Brehm holds the clubhouse lead after completing his round at dusk, while Wilkinson is through 13 holes in his third round.

Brehm carded an 8-under 64 during the third round — one shot off the course record – to ascend the leaderboard. The Michigan State alum reached 8-under through his first 13 holes before coasting in with five pars. His round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-4 12th. The 33-year-old drove the ball into a greenside bunker before holing out for eagle.

Wilkinson continued his steady play with one birdie and eight pars on the front nine before birdieing Nos. 10, 11 and 12 to reach 16-under. The 40-year-old essentially played 31 holes on Saturday after inclement weather suspended play on Friday. Wilkinson had hit one tee shot in his second round on Friday afternoon before the round was suspended. He picked up in the first fairway at 6:55 a.m. on Saturday morning and completed the remainder of his second round (67) and the first 13 holes of his third round.

“I hit one tee shot yesterday and then they suspended the round,” said Wilkinson. “After 16 or 17 years, you don’t think anything of the delays. You just keep plodding. The course is in great shape. I was surprised by how well it drained; the ball was still running in the fairways pretty quickly. The greens are softer, but still in great condition.”

Photo by Matt Spielman Ryan Brehm and his caddie approach Brehm's ball on the ninth green during the third round of the LECOM Health Challenge at Peek'n Peak Resort's Upper Course, Saturday. Brehm leads the event at 16-under par. The third round was suspended due to darkness.

Brehm and Wilkinson lead three players by one stroke. Zach Wright, Byron Meth and Jamie Arnold each sit one stroke back at 15-under. Meth and Arnold are each through 17 holes of their third round while Wright has completed his third round. Second-round co-leader Will Cannon sits two shots back of the lead through 13 holes of his third round.

The third round will continue beginning at 8 a.m. this morning. Final-round tee times are scheduled to run from 9:59 a.m. to noon off of the first and 10th tees.

SATURDAY NOTES:

Saturday’s weather: Afternoon thunderstorms with a high of 84. Wind W/SW at 7-14 mph. The second round continued beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. It was delayed due to inclement weather from 11:54 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. Third-round tee times ran from 3:29-5:30 p.m. before play was suspended due to darkness at 8:57 p.m.

The second round was completed at approximately 3:10 p.m. The cut came at 5-under with 70 professionals advancing to the final two rounds.

U.S. Air Force captain Kyle Westmoreland made the cut behind the strength of a second-round 6-under 66. He Monday qualified last week into the Utah Championship and finished T25 to gain entry into this week’s tournament. He sits T61 after his third round.

Three of the 12 Monday qualifiers made the cut, led by MJ Daffue, who sits T11 (13-under) after the third round.

In his Korn Ferry Tour debut, Thomas Walsh, a University of Virginia alum, made the cut on the number. Walsh earned an exemption into this tournament after winning the 2018 Porter Cup, an amateur event. He sits T54 through 13 holes of his third round.

This week’s purse is $600,000, with $108,000 going to the champion. The winner will also receive 500 Korn Ferry Tour points.

48 Korn Ferry Tour winners are in the field this week, with a combined 67 victories between them.

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