Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
It was moving day Wednesday for several familiar names when it comes to local golfers in the second round of the New Mexico Open at the Paradise Hills Golf Course.
One of them wasn’t even supposed to be in the 156-player field that pays $14,000 to the winner, and another announced this was his last professional tournament.
But everybody will be chasing Edward Olson of Aptos, California, who backed up his opening-round, 5-under 65 with a 63 Wednesday that put him at 12-under 128. That’s two strokes ahead of Blake Cannon of Mesa, Arizona, one of two players to tie the course record of 8-under 62. (Click here for updated results.)
Former New Mexico State golfer Tim Madigan of Rio Rancho, who charged into contention with a 5-under 65 Wednesday, said this is his last professional tournament.
“This is extremely important to me,” said Madigan, who is in a tie for sixth with a 133, five strokes back. “This is my last professional event. I’m going to go for a career change.”
He’s negotiating to become a development officer for the NMSU Foundation after eight years of slogging through the pro ranks.
“I really want a life,” Madigan said. “The last eight years I haven’t had any kind of life. I’m extremely tired. Unless you’ve been out there, you don’t know hard it is. It’s extremely hard being on the road 25 weeks of the year. Me and my wife would like to start a family.”
Although he’ll be hanging up the clubs professionally, “I’ll probably be a weekend warrior,” he said.
“It’s very bittersweet having my dad carry my bags one last time. I really want to win it for my mom and dad.”
Former University of New Mexico player Wil Collins was still in South Dakota on Monday, attending several family celebrations.
But he decided to hitch a ride to the airport with his sister that night, arrived back in Albuquerque about midnight and made a call to see if there happened to be any tournament openings.
“It’s kind of a weird way of getting into a tournament,” Collins said. “I was sitting in the office working, and I’m catching up on stuff Tuesday morning and the phone rang at 11 a.m,” Collins said. “I called my boss and he said, ‘Go for it.'”
Then all he did was fire off a 3-under 67 Tuesday followed by a 2-under 68 Wednesday to enter Thursday’s final round in a 12th-place tie, seven strokes back. The field was trimmed to the low 50 for Thursday’s final round.
“It’s been going pretty good,” said Collins, who had played Paradise Hills just two times prior to the tournament. “Not a lot of expectations. I haven’t really played much. I played a tournament two months ago and since then I think I’ve played three rounds, four rounds at the most. I’m just trying to have fun.”
Fellow Lobo and defending champion Sam Saunders carded a 4-under 66 to go with his opening-round 68, propelling him into a 10th-place tie, six strokes off the pace.
“I played pretty well (Wednesday),” he said. “I got up and down a few times when I needed to. I didn’t hit as many greens as I would like, but my chipping was pretty good and I putted pretty well – except I three-putted the last hole, so that sort of sucks. Other than that, it was a good day.”
Saunders said he struggled a bit Tuesday as he felt the expectations of repeating.
“I was maybe a little nervous,” he said of the opening round. “I almost felt like I should win because I’ve played well this summer, too. I have a few wins this summer already, so I’m in good shape. I probably put a little pressure on myself (Tuesday) just because I was defending and it was my home tournament. So coupled with that, I think that makes it a little tougher.”
Saunders said he was hoping no one would run away from the field Wednesday so he could make a run at a repeat.
“It’s important,” he said. “It’s my home-state open and that’s awesome. I always want to play well here. I was lucky to win it last year, and I’m hoping to win it again this year. It would mean a lot to me. I know my game is good so hopefully I’ll have a chance.”
Colton Yates of Scottsdale, Arizona, fired off eight birdies without a bogey to shoot an 8-under 62, joining former Colorado State teammate Cannon in tying the course record. That vaulted him up the leaderboard after shooting an opening-round 70.
The field will be trimmed to 62 for the final round, with former PGA player Notah Begay one of the last to make the field after two-day total of 2-over 142. Tee times range from 7:30-9:10 a.m.