NORMAN — Michael Gellerman described his first round at the Westwood Invitational presented by OklahomaTickets.com as “terrible.” He shot a 71 in the first day of the tournament, which left him squarely in the middle of the pack.
Still, the junior golfer at Oklahoma kept things in perspective.
“Tomorrow’s a new day,” he said after Friday’s round.
For Gellerman, that new day was a good one. He easily bested the rest of the Championship Flight field on Saturday, carding a 63 to pull himself into the lead at 134 strokes. It’s a lead he shares with roommate and day one leader Austen Fuller, who shot 68 on Saturday to follow up on his 66-stroke performance from Friday.
The pair of former teammates will enter today’s final with a one-stroke lead on defending champion Kelsey Cline, whose 67 on Saturday followed a 68 on Friday. Jeff Johnson also sits in contention at 136 strokes after two rounds.
“It would be fun to win,” Gellerman said. “It would be good for my confidence, too. There’s a bunch of good guys and good players out there, so winning this tournament would be a lot of fun.”
The biggest difference between Friday and Saturday for Gellerman was how comfortable he was on the course. His opening round on Friday was just his second time to ever play the course, and taught him some lessons he applied on Saturday.
“Every time you play a golf course you learn something new,” he said. “Today, I knew which holes to not hit it long on and how to play it a little better. That made it a lot easier. Tomorrow I’m just going to go out and play my game and stick to the gameplan, and if it works out it works out.”
While Gellerman is becoming more comfortable with the course, no one is more comfortable than Cline, who came back from a stroke down in the final round last year to win the event.
“This isn’t new territory for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing. Depending on the wind tomorrow, I’ll have a better feel for what a good round for me will look like, and it could work to my advantage since I’ve been here so many times and they haven’t been here before.”
But, while Cline is eager to defend his title, he said the tournament has been great regardless of the outcome.
“Winning never gets old, but for me I don’t want to say it’s the most important thing,” he said. “Just being around friends and supporting the golf course is a big thing for me. I’m the older guy now and I’ve been around Norman and golf a long time, and it’s fun to come out to this tournament and support the course.”
The top flight isn’t the only one close heading into today’s conclusion. In the Masters Flight, Steve Hixon leads with a 140, while Tony Woods sits two shots back. Jeff Penny has a commanding lead in the first flight, with Alex McAllister three shots back and the only one in striking distance.
Matt McCool, who shot a 74 to put his two-day total at 149 strokes, has a three-shot lead on Miles Pabst in the second flight, while in the third flight Chris Atteberry has a seven-shot lead on Greg Neal and Christian McAllister, the 12-year-old surprise of the tournament. Joe Pempin leads the final flight with a two-round score of 131, three shots ahead of Rex Brown.
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