WATERLOO — Nathan Stamey threw down the gauntlet early Saturday at the 85th Waterloo Open.
After reaching 14-under with his second consecutive 65, Stamey had to sit back and watch as opponents took aim at his low score.
Two challengers rose higher than others as former UCLA golfer Preston Valder carded a 9-under 63, and Richard Schembechler flirted with 59 before settling for a 62 as both reached 15-under to lead Stamey by one stroke after two rounds in the Professional Division at Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course.
The Saturday dramatics have set up an exciting pursuit of a $50,000 payday Sunday in the final round.
Stamey knew his lead wasn’t safe.
“I got a number up there, but as always here you have to keep the pedal to the metal out here,” Stamey said. “I’m sure somebody will get close to me if not ahead of me at some point.”
Stamey’s words proved prophetic.
Celebrating his 25th birthday, Valder, who began the day three strokes out of the lead, made the turn at 4-under (10-under for the tournament), and then caught fire on his second nine. He birdied 10, parred 11, birdied 12 and 13 and eagled at 14.
Valder also scored a birdie on the difficult par-3 17th to shoot a 29 over his final nine holes and a second-day 63.
“It was fun out there playing. I had a good day putting and kind of got things going on the back nine,” Valder said.
“That was a good stretch,” Valder added of his back nine start. “I had a good up and down 12 for birdie, made about 40-footer for birdie on 13 and hit it in there pretty close for the eagle on 14 to keep it going.”
Valder’s playing partner for the first two days, Shad Tuten of Naples, Fla., fired his second 66 of the tournament to get to 12-under and is alone in fourth.
“It is good to be in contention,” Valder said. “It is what you are here for. I’m excited for tomorrow, and it should be a fun day. In the lead, hopefully it stays that way.”
Teeing off at 6:55 a.m. Saturday, Stamey gave the rest of the field a target to shoot for and was the leader in the clubhouse for nearly two hours before Valder finished his morning round.
Stamey, third a year ago, birdied four of his first five holes and five of his first seven.
“It was nice. It was super early, but somehow the coffee kicked in and I made a nice putt on 11, and that kind of settled me in,” Stamey said. “I was pretty solid that front nine.
“I’ll just try to keep the same mindset tomorrow and see what happens.”
Schembechler is the only golfer among the leaders who teed off in the afternoon and he was on from the start. He birdied No. 10, scored the first of his three eagles in the round on the 504-yard No. 12, and made the turn five-under. Then came a blistering back side that saw him eagle No. 1 and No. 3, birdie No. 5 and lip out an eagle attempt on No. 7 before settling for birdie.
Two of Schembechler’s eagles were set up by amazing approach shots. His tee shot on the reachable 346-yard par-4 first rolled within a foot of the cup, and on 3 his short iron got within four feet.
“They were both basically tap-in eagles,” said the former Division II golfer at Malone University. “I was looking at the leaderboard before I teed off and I was thinking if I could shoot seven or eight (under) I could get into position to make a run, and then I kind of just got hot. I didn’t make many bad shots.”
The scores on day two were much lower as the conditions were sunny with a slight breeze. After just three scores of 65 or under Friday, Saturday there was one 63, one 64 and eight 65s in the morning group alone.
Papito Gonzalez of McAllen, Texas, is in fifth at 11-under, and there are 11 golfers, including Iowa City pro Jeffrey Schmid, who are five back at 10-under.
First-day leader Ryan Stovash, who carded a 63 in his opening round, shot even-par Saturday and is 9-under.
Two former champs finished right at the 7-under cut — Sean McCarty and Jerod Turner. Defending champion Austin Quick missed the cut after shooting rounds of 70 and 71 for 3-under.
Sixty-three players made the 7-under cut.
ACES: Former Kentucky golfer Cody Martin scored the tournament’s first ace Saturday as he found the bottom of the cup on the 141-yard par-3 sixth hole with a pitching wedge.
It was Martin’s second career ace and first in competition.
(Note: Sunday’s tee times can be found at www.wcfcourier.com)
1. Preston Valder (Yorba Linda, Calif) 66 63 — 129
2. Richard Schembechler (Memphis, Tenn) 67-62 — 129
2. Nathan Stamey (Bluffton, S.C) 65 65 — 130
3. Shad Tuten (Naples, Fla) 66 66 — 132
4. Papito Gonzalez (McAllen, Tx), 67 66 — 133
T5. Will Wittman (Royal Oak, Mich) 66 68 — 134
T5. Jeffrey Schmid (Iowa City) 68 66 — 134
T5. Dan Woltman (Beaver Dam, Wis) 67 67 — 134
T5. Spence Fulford (Davenport, Fla) 66 68 — 134
T5. Brant Peaperr (Jupiter, Fla) 69 65 — 134
T5. Richard Hearden (Phoenix, Ariz.) 69 65 — 134
T5. Derek Tolan (Highlands Ranch, Colo) 68 66 — 134
T5. Matthew Barry (Parkville, Mo.) 69 65 — 134
T5. Ryan Cole (Mount Airy, Md) 69 65 — 134
134 — Scott Smyers (Lakeland, Fla) 67 67 — 134, Cristobal Del Solar (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) 66 68 — 134
135 — Jon Trasamar (Blue Earth, Minn.), 65-70, Nate Yankovich (Blacklick, Ohio), 68-67, Chris Gilman (Yorba Linda, Calif), 67-68 , Zander Lozano (Fair Oaks Ranch, Tex), 67-68, Bryan Martin (Thousand Oaks, Calif), 68-67 — 135, Michael McCabe (Moorpark, Calif), 67-68, Kristian Caparros (Miami Lakes, Fla), 68-67, Ryan Stovash (Winter Park, Fla.), 63-72, Bryce Emory (Aurora, Ill.), 70-65, Kyle Peterman (Savannah, Ga), 70-65, Hans Reimers (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 68-67, Michael Visacki (Sarasota, Fla.), 69-66, Nick Voke (Ames), 69-66.
136 — Paul Apyan (Chattanooga, Tenn), 71-65, Daniel Hudson (Western Springs, Ill.), 68-68, Sean Bosdosh (Clarksburg, Md), 67-69, Joshua Manske (Algona), 68-68, Vincent Whaley (Fayetteville, Ga.), 69-67, Josephy Juszcyzk (Dearborn Heights, Mich), 71-65, Robert Bell (Pierz, Minn), 67-69, Jordan Elsen (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla), 71-65
137 — Maxime Blandin (Dallas, Tex), 67-70, Jeffrey Kellen (Rockford, Ill.), 69-68 , Josh Esler (Wauconda, Ill.), 70-67, David Longmire (Glendora, Calif.), 66-71, Matt Miller (McKinney, Tex), 73-64, Blake Barens (Orange, Calif), 68-69 — 137, Sean McCarty (Solon), 66-71, Sam Love (Trussville, Ala), 70-67, Kyle Rodes (Plymouth, Mich), 66-71, Cody Martin (Covington, Ky), 67-70.
138 — Quintin Pope (Cheyenne, Wyo), 72-66, Brian Bullington (Frankfort, Ill.), Blake Cannon (Mesa, Ariz), 71-67, Matt Jebavy (Murfreesboro, Tenn), 72-66, Eric Lilleboe (Okemos, Mich), 70-68, Carson Schaake (Omaha, Neb.), 69-69, Luke Won (Carrollton, Tex), 67-71 — 138, Jonathan Hauter (Fairview, Tex), 69-69, Johnny Henno (Solvang, Calif), 69-69, Ryan Sperry (Ukiah, Calif), 68-70, Brendan Gielow (Asheville, NC), 69-69, Blanton Farmer (Nashville, Tenn), 72-66, Andrew Weathers (Chattanooga, Tenn), 70-68, Jerod Turner (Ledo, Texas), 67-71.
Missed the cut
139 — Matt Lee (Cave Creek, Ariz), 72-67, Dalton Reese (Warrenton, Ga), 69-70, Casey Fernandez (Durant, Okla), 67-72, Taylor Funk (Ponte Vedra, Fla), 70-69, Crawford Reeves (Greer, SC), 73-66, Kyle Wilson (San Diego, Calif), 72-67, Ryan Cornfield (Spartanburg, SC), 71-68, Brett White (Caledonia, Minn), 71-68, Nicholas Mason (Parker, Colo), 69-70, Kyle Kochevar (Glen Elyn, Ill.), 67-72, Troy Beaver (Salisbury, NC), 71-68.
140 — Jonathan Dilanni (Charlotte, N.C.), 73-67, Thomas Bonney (Durham, N.C.), 72-68, Al Dickens IV (Charlotte, N.C.), 69-71, Kyle Driscoll (Pewaukee, Wis), 71-69, Josh Weems (Lake Quivira, Kan), 69-71, Keegan Drugan (Holmen, Wis.), 69-71, Patrick Lundy (Myrtle Beach, SC), 70-70, Sam Weatherhead (Grand Rapids, Mich), 68-72.
141 — Daniel Sutton (River Falls, Wis.), 73-68, Kyle Wilshire (Orlando, Fla), 69-72, Thaddeus Obecny II (Wheeling, WV), 70-71, Florian Loutre (Somerset, KY), 70-71, Maxwell Cohen (Los Angeles, Calif), 71-70, Jay Monahan (Hutchinson, Kan), 74-67, Austin Quick (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 70-71, Matt McClung (Flushear, Texas), 72-69.
142 — Hunter O’Mahony (Davie, Fla), 69-73, Tee Opperman (Pawleys Island, SC), 70-72, Peter Webb (Madison, Wis.), 71-71, Blaine Buente (Troy, Ill.), 69-73, Michael Makris (South Bend, Ind.), 72-70, Anthony Cecere (Scottsdale, Ariz), 71-71, Johnny Watts (Fishers, Ind), 75-67, Kurt Slattery (Taylor Ridge, Ill,), 68-74, Brandon Holtz (Bloomington, Ill.), 72-70, Brooks Thomas (Chattanooga, Tenn), 70-72, Graham McAree (Fishers, Ind), 73-69, Ryan Sullivan (Winston Salem, NC), 69-73.
143 — Dane Worley (Cedar Rapids), 70-73,Michael Cromie Raliegh, N.C.), 73-70, Hernan Borja (Carol Springs, Fla), 73-70, Jamie Hall (Seattle, Wash), 72-71, Adam Babb (Mansfield, Texas), 73-70, Anthony Alex (Ponte Verda Beach, Fla), Ryan Wallen (Laramie, Wyo), 72-71, Jacob Coffey (Columbus, Ind), 70-73, Cole Adams (Connersville, Ind), 72-71.
144 — Adam Squires (Waterloo), 72-72, AJ Morris (Aspen, Colo), 70-74, Mitchell Homb (O’Fallon, Ill), 70-74, Charles Merzbacher (Knoxville, Tenn), 72-72, Matthew Jennings (Prairie City), 70-74, Connor Peck (Ankeny), 76-68, Nicholas Grubnich (Crown Point, Ind), 73-71, Andrew Cobb (Bonita Springs, Fla), 69-75, Nick Cocalis (Phoenix, Ariz), 77-67, Kurtis Luedtke (Charleston, SC), 71-73, Andrew Steinhofer (Madison, Wis.), 72-72, Zach Burry (Appleton, Wis), 71-73, Jeff Curl (Birmingham, Ala), 74-70, Michael Schachner (Libertyville, Ill.), 72-72, Matthew Mickelson (Lamoni), 75-69, Sean Walsh (Keller, Texas), 72-72.
145 — James Tisdale (Jacksonville, Fla), 70-75, Chad Howard (Dublin, Ohio), 75-70, Daniel Longmire (Glendora, Calif), 77-68, Andrew Garner (Paradise Valley, Ariz), 73-72, Zachary Dittmer (Kansas City, Mo), 72-73, Victory Rodriguez (East Palm Desert, Calif), 74-71, Grant Brown (Cache, Okla), 70-75, Bobby Taggart (Stuart, Fla), 73-72, Sergio Garcia (Cedar Rapids), 72-73, Josh Butterfield (Aurora, Ill.), 72-73, Joe Hurn (Mountain Top, Ga), 74-71.
146 — Eric Cole (Delray Beach, Fla), 74-72, Zach Gaugert (Scottsdale, Ariz), 74-72, Ran Argotsinger (Lee’s Summitt, Mo), 72-74, Matt Gallant (Murfreesboro, Tenn), 75-71, Shane Cozadd (Spring, Tex), 75-71, Michael Van Deventer (Columbus, Ind), 74-72,
147 — Barrett Keplin (Kalamazoo, Mich), 73-74, Matthew Meneghetti (Schererville, Ind), 73-74, Tracy Vest (Waukee), 72-75, Tyler Peggs (Germantown, Tenn), 73-74, Michael Dominick (Scottsdale, Ariz), 73-74, Mark Baker (Scottsdale, Ariz), 75-72, Jordan Cowart (New Braunfels, Tex), 73-74, Ben Wollam (Marshalltown), 74-73, Ryan Banwart (West Bend), 76-71.
148 — Alex Higgs (Dallas, Tex), 73-75, Collin Neeman (Columbia, Ill), 76-72, Thomas Eldridge (Raleigh, N.C.), 74-74, Mike Roters (North Liberty), 73-75, Tyler Smith (Oskaloosa), 73-75, Dominic Piccirillo (Salem, SC), 71-77, Alexander Riddle (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 76-72.
149 — Bobby West (Las Vegas, Nev.), 76-73, Jake Leavitt (Raleigh, NC), 74-75.
150 — Colin Proctor (Anderson, Ind), 76-74, Jay Lim (Los Angeles, Calif.), 79-71, Zach Ward (Waterloo), 77-73.
151 — Brent Quade (Madison, Wis), 73-78, Adam Turner (Galesburg, Ill.), 73-78, Ian Facey (Miama, Fla), 78-74, Dane Barrick (Greenville, SC), 75-77, Weston Matheny (Hilton Head Island, SC), 77—75.
153 — Will Nixon (St. Louis), 75-78 — 153.
158 — Devon Johnson (Eden Prairie, Minn), 75-83 — 158.
160 — Nathan Leary (Waterloo), 76-84 — 160.
162 — Tait Darby (Olive Branch, Mass), 77-85 — 162.