Acme, Mich. — Okemos' Eric Lilleboe made an eagle on the 15th hole and then drained a 65-foot birdie putt on 18 to cap off a third-round 65 on Wednesday, giving him a five shot lead entering the final round of the 102nd Michigan Open.
Lilleboe, 31, a mini-tour professional, was 7 under on Wednesday and is 13 under for the tournament, at The Bear course, in line for the $8,000 first-place check. The tournament's purse is $55,000.
Kalamazoo's Barrett Kelpin, 29, shot 68 and was at 8 under.
“I was in some pretty bad spots but ended up making a bunker shot on 16 from the middle of nowhere, and at 11 I was so fortunate to find my ball inbounds touching the white line,” Lilleboe said. “I had some really poor swings, especially after it started raining, and I made some quality shots, too.
"It feels good to put a round together and be in the lead, but it takes luck, too. I made a couple of 30 footers for par. I made eagle at 15. It was that kind of day.”
Lilleboe and Kelpin tee off at noon in the final round, along with Manistique's Mike Nagy, who shot 72 and was at 5 under.
Nagy was tied for Grand Blanc's Willie Mack III, who slipped with a 74.
This is the second consecutive year Lilleboe is in the final group in the final round, and was in the final group in 2016.
“I’ve played in these since I was in college,” he said. “To win would mean everything. I mean, it is the state Open. I was born and raised in Michigan. That makes it mean a lot. I’m going to be ready, ready to tee it when it is time to go. I’m not going to call anything, but I’m definitely playing good golf.”