But all of them have little work to do in trying to catch 53-year-old first time player Mike Kelley, from Westerville, who shot a bogey free 68 on sides of 33-35.
Kelley birdied holes 2 and 5 on the front and finished with a bird out of the front trap.
Mansfield’s Jerry Inebnit was in at 69.
Willard’s Roger Tolley — who along with Norwalk’s Rod Bordman and Chris Bleile and Greenwich’s John Ray won the Sunday Best ball event with a gross score of 9-under par — was one player who kept the wheels on another day. He shot a one-under par 70 on Monday, his best number in three years at the Galloway Rd. course.
It was a number tied by Bellevue’s Randy Rankin and Mike McGuire from Powell. Former champion Ray Sovic was one of four players at 71.
Milan resident Harry Perdue was one stroke further back at 72.
“Mr. Perdue is a grinder,” PBCC club pro Eric Morgan said. “That was obvious today.”
Three-time champion and tournament favorite TJ Brudzinski, of Columbus, shot a 73.
Tolley, 55, put together sides of 35, making birdies on holes 5 and 6 on the front (8-foot putt from the fringe on 5 and 15-feet from the fringe on 6) to go with bogeys on 3 and 8. He then put circles around his scores on 13, 14 and 18, making all three putts from around 10-feet. The squares came on 10 and 12.
”Hit the driver horribly,” Tolley said. “Thank goodness I can pitch the ball fairly well. I sure walked in the shade a lot. Let’s just say I ground out a decent round.”
Bordman came in at 76, as he put it “the correct amount of trombones to walk in the parade.”
His sides were 35 and 41.
“Played well on the front, even par,” Bordman said. “Made putts for bird on the opening hole (18 feet) and on 6 (12 feet). But I got the three-putt woes on the back, two of them. It was the worst number I could have shot.
Will need something with a “6” tomorrow and that has to be in the front,” he added. “With the bunched field and the weather being near-perfect, it will take at least four-under to be in the hunt.”
Bleile shot what Bordman called “hockey sticks,” with a 77.
What Bleile did not care to talk about was a “9” on the par 5, third hole.
“Made a mess out of that hole,” he said. “Normally I do not have four birdies out here. But, normally I do not take a 9, either.”
Bleile, 51, chipped in for birdie on 2 and made another on 4. He added red numbers on 13 and 17.
The former Director of Golf at the one-time family-owned Sawmill Creek Golf Club, Bleile now spends some time as a part-time employee at Eagle Creek. He dove-tails that job with that as General Manager of the family business, Norwalk Investment Properties.
Playing with Tolley was Inebnit. He held the lead for better than two hours before giving way to Kelley.
Playing out of Shelby Country Club, Inebnit had a bird on 6 to go with bogeys on 4, 7 and 9 in the front going out in 37. But then he heated up on the back with birdies on 10, 12, 13 and 14 — two of those putts from holed from over 15 feet.
Another player with Norwalk ties, Jim Boling, must have forgot where he was at when he stepped on No. 1 tee because he played the front nine in a messy 45 strokes. He found a true reckoning on the back when he made the return in even par 36.
“Couldn’t hit a shot on the front and couldn’t miss one on the back,” the 61-year jewelry store owner said. “That’s okay, the wife (Amy) is the better player in the family anyhow.”
If one is counting, Amy has two woman’s club championships at Plum Brook (2015 and 2016) while Jim has one (1995).
On the net scoreboard, 71-year-old George Bingman (Medina) finished with a 63, as did Inbenit — two strokes ahead of 61-year-old Huron native Tom Bollenbacher.