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Trio rises to top of ATB Classic leaderboard

Eric Lilleboe Eric Lilleboe - PGA TOUR Canada

SHERWOOD PARK, Alberta—Eric Lilleboe shot a 9-under 63 Friday and joined Nicolo Galletti and Davis Lamb in a three-way tie at 12-under to share the 36-hole lead at the ATB Classic.

Lilleboe had nine birdies, including six on his final eight holes, to equal the lowest score relative to par posted on PGA TOUR Canada this season. Lamb, who had to Monday qualify to get into the field, shot a 68 and Galletti fired a 67 to create the three-way tie at 136 at the Northern Bear Golf Course.

“I just told myself to stay patient and ended up putting together a string of birdies that really got me going,” said Lilleboe, of Okemos, Michigan. “At that point it was just good talk with my caddie and picking good (yardage) numbers, picking good lines, being aggressive when I should be aggressive. It just turned into 9-under.”

Lamb, of Bethesda, Maryland, began the round one shot off the lead. He had five birdies but incurred a rare bogey on the par-5 15th hole.

“I’m happy with how I’m playing and I’m happy to be in this position, but there’s a long way to go,” Lamb said. “I just stayed patient. I didn’t get off the greatest start I wanted, but I rolled in a good birdie on No. 5 and kept it going from there.”

Galletti, of Berkeley, California, began the day tied for third. He overcame an early bogey and birdied six of his final 13 holes to move up two spots.

“The confidence is really high right now. I was driving it really well today, hit all 14 fairways, which is pretty huge out here. They have some holes that are really narrow. So, if I can just keep doing that, I should give myself a lot of chances and hopefully the putts will start going in,” Galletti said.

Charlie Reiter of Palm Desert, California, shot 66 and is alone in fourth place, one shot back at 11-under. Tied for fifth at 10-under were Ryann Ree of Los Angeles, California, who shot 66, and first-round leader Carr Vernon of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, who slipped to 71. 

The low Canadian is Chris Crisologo of Vancouver, British Columbia, who shot 66 and is among four players tied for seventh at 9 under.

The long-hitting Reiter had a stretch of four consecutive birdies on the back nine and finished with a 31. His only misstep was a bogey at No. 6 that was predicated by an unplayable lie.

“I salvaged a bogey, which quite honestly was weird, but it kind of jump started me, and I fired off five quick birdies on the back nine,” Reiter said.

Vernon had three bogeys, including one of his final hole, the difficult par-4 ninth. But the poor finish didn’t diminish his optimism for the weekend.

“Overall, (I’m) excited about where my game is at,” Vernon said. “Looking forward to a good weekend. Just got to keep at it, keep focusing on one shot at a time and hit good golf shots.”