Columbus City Golf Tournament: North grads rule top of men’s leaderboard

This time, Jake Coffey didn’t need to worry about overcoming a few penalty strokes.

The Columbus North graduate, who will be a senior at St. Francis, fired a 3-under-par 69 in Sunday’s second round of the Columbus City Tournament at Harrison Lake Country Club. Coffey leads Spencer Fairbanks, who will be a senior at North, by one shot going into the final round.

Coffey would have had back-to-back 69s if not for a momentary lapse at the beginning of Saturday’s opening round at Greenbelt. He forgot to remove a practice club from his golf bag, leaving him with 15 clubs, one more than the number allowed.

The resulting four-shot penalty (he discovered the error on the second hole) left him with a 73 and four shots back of Fairbanks entering Sunday’s second round.

On Sunday, Coffey made six birdies and three bogeys. He might have gone lower, but lipped out a pair of eagle putts.

“I had a good day putting,” Coffey said. “I was hitting it well, and it helped not having a four-stroke penalty today.”

Fairbanks, whose opening 69 gave him the first-round lead, came back with a 2-over 74 on Sunday.

“I knew that I probably wasn’t going to go under par again, but I was trying,” Fairbanks said. “I think 74 was a good round today. I haven’t been playing well, so I’m good with that.”

A state qualifier as a sophomore, Fairbanks didn’t have as strong a junior year. But he bounced back with the best round of his life on Saturday.

Today and Tuesday, Fairbanks will play in the Boys State Junior Championship at Purdue’s Kampen Course. The match play tournament begins Wednesday and continues through Friday.

The final round of the city tournament is Sunday at Otter Creek.

“I think I’ll be good,” Fairbanks said. “I’ll practice a lot this week. I’ll get a few more rounds under my belt. Then, I think I’ll be ready Sunday.”

Coffey’s brother, Ian, is in third place, six shots behind Jake Coffey at 148. Ian Coffey, who will be a junior at St. Francis, followed an opening-round 70 with a 78 on Sunday.

Ian Coffey will play in the Indiana Open today and Tuesday — and Wednesday and Thursday if he makes the cut — at French Lick.

David Lacey carded the second-best round of the day on Sunday, a 76, that left him in fourth place at 149. Matt Herron also is at 149, followed by Darren Hinton at 150.

Jake Coffey and Fairbanks both played in the first foursome of the day, teeing off at 7:30 a.m. with Bryce Turner and Zachary Schiavello. Next week, the two Coffeys and Fairbanks will be in the final pairing.

“I had a great time out there playing with those guys,” Jake Coffey said. “I love Otter Creek, and I’m looking forward to playing there Sunday.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.