Triplett, Duke share Sanford International lead

Minnehaha proves to be a tricky golf course for the second straight day

Kirk Triplett held on to a share of the lead at the Sanford International golf tournament on Saturday but he has some company.

Triplett, who shot a 66 on Friday and held a one-stroke lead over Paul Broadhurst and Tom Gillis, came back with a 68 on Saturday and is at 6-under. Ken Duke, who shot a 69 on Friday, put together a 5-under 65 in the second round to gain a share of the lead.

One shot back is Paul Goydos at 5-under. Five more golfers are at 4-under.

Calmer conditions

The wind of Friday’s round had mellowed a little bit on Saturday. However, firm conditions remained at Minnehaha Country Club.

This sets up an interesting Sunday with a lot of contenders at the front. That combines with a golf course that is not offering up easy shots.

“On a golf course like this, when it gets firm and fast you just have to keep it in front of you,” said Duke, who is in his first year playing the Champions Tour. “You really have to use your imagination going into the greens because they’re so firm and fast. You’ve got to keep the ball below the hole for sure.”

Meanwhile, Triplett birdied the 18th to pull into a tie with Duke for the lead. After Friday’s round he talked about avoiding trouble. On Saturday it was much the same.

Unique challenges

“The wind’s blowing, the greens are firm and there’s as much rough here as I think we had at the U.S. Open,” Triplett said. “You sort of combine those three things — there is a little bit of uncertainty with the firmness of the greens and yeah, it’s hard to get the ball close.”

Goydos, a five-time winner on the Champions Tour who is 16th on the money list, shot a 66 after shooting an even-par 70 on Friday. He was another who handled the challenges better than most the others. But he wasn’t exactly bragging about it.

“Very rarely do you see on a Champions Tour event or a PGA Tour event where you get on a tee on a non-par 3 and you see three different clubs off the tee. That just doesn’t happen anymore. On this course, it happens all the time.”

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