By Mike Dougherty
OLD WESTBURY – It’s no surprise that Frank Bensel is again in contention heading into the final round of the Lincoln Met PGA Championship.
The 46-year-old White Plains native is a model of persistence.
Bensel is looking to end a string of three runner-up finishes in the biggest Met PGA event of the season. He carded a 1-under 71 on Tuesday in trying conditions at Glen Oaks, and was tied atop the leaderboard with St. Andrew’s head pro Greg Bisconti with a 2-under total of 142.
“We’ll see,” the Century assistant said. “I need to play another good round. I’ve been good the last two days, most of the time.”
Heavy rain disrupted the morning wave, and contributed to a difficult stretch for Bensel.
“I was 2-under before it really started coming down and then I made four bogeys in the middle of the round,” he said. “And then I made birdies on three of the last five holes. The course is playing great, though. It’s incredible how good it is.”
Bensel won this championship in 2009.
Despite soft conditions when the rain finally let up, there were only three players in the red.
Bisconti also carded a 71 for the second day in a row, and Siwanoy assistant Jason Caron shot a 69 to get to 1-under. GlenArbor director of golf Rob Labritz (69) and Golf Club of Purchase assistant Kirk Satterfield (70) are both at even par. Metropolis assistant Colin Amaral (69) and Winged Foot assistant Grant Sturgeon (71) are tied for sixth at 1-over with Tam O’Shanter assistant Paul Griffin (70).
There is likely to be plenty of back and forth in the final round.
“It was raining so hard for a while, I was in survival mode,” Labritz said. “My caddie, Todd Luigi, he was a rock star out there, a big help. I haven’t been playing a lot, so yesterday was kind of a practice round. Today was better. I’d like to win this one. It’s something that I haven’t been able to do yet.”
Bensel won the Connecticut Open in July and was second at the Met Open last month, so he’s got some momentum. He made the semifinals of the Westchester PGA Championship early in the season, but was not feeling confident until a visit to Golf Club of Purchase director of golf Carl Alexander.
“He always helps when I’m not swinging well,” Bensel said. “I’ve been working harder on my short game, and once we get into a flow, playing more regularly, that really helps.”
Lincoln Met PGA Championship
At Glen Oaks Club, par 72
1. Frank Bensel, Century 71-71- 142
1. Greg Bisconti, Saint Andrew’s 71-71-142
3. Jason Caron, Siwanoy 74-69-143
4. Rob Labritz, GlenArbor 75-69-144
4. Kirk Satterfield, Golf Club of Purchase 74-70-144
6. Paul Griffin, Tam O’Shanter 75-70-145
6. Colin Amaral, Metropolis 76-69-145
6. Grant Sturgeon, Winged Foot 74-71-145
9. Patrick McCarthy, Garden City 73-73-146
9. Tim Puetz, Huntington 76-70-146
11. Paul Selvaggio, Wykagyl 76-71-147
11. Mike Gilmore, Winged Foot 73-74-147
11. Paul Dickinson, Atlantic 74-73-147
11. Tyler Jaramillo, Seawane 73-74-147
11. Joe Christianson, Deepdale 70-77-147
11. Matt Dobyns, Fresh Meadow 73-74-147
11. Christopher Toulson, Sunningdale 75-72-147
11. Kirk Oguri, Half Hollow 74-73-147
(Note: Second round suspended due to darkness with 12 players on the course)