State golf: Patrick Wilkes-Krier opens 5-shot lead entering final round at Michigan Open

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Patrick Wilkes-Krier is looking to go wire-to-wire.

The leader since Day 1 of the 105th Michigan Open, Wilkes-Krier, of Ann Arbor, shot a 2-under 70 Wednesday to extend his advantage to five shots entering Thursday's final round at The Bear in Acme.

Wilkes-Krier was at 13 under, with the closest competitor Oakland alum Jake Kneen of White Lake. Kneen, who won the 2018 Michigan Open, shot 69 on Wednesday and was at 8 under.

Ann Arbor's Patrick Wilkes-Krier continues to lead the Michigan Open.

Wilkes-Krier finished runner-up at last year's Michigan Open, but lost in a playoff to Michigan State's Bradley Smithson. Because Smithson, of Grand Rapids, was still an amateur, he only could accept a golf-shop gift certificate, while Wilkes-Krier received the first-place check of $12,000.

Clearly, he wants more this year.

“I want to win,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve got a game plan I can adjust based on weather conditions, so it’s going to be mostly about trying to execute good swings and make good putts.”

The highlight of Kneen's round Wednesday was a 60-foot eagle putt on the par-5 sixth hole.

Joe Juszczyk, from Dearborn Heights, was at 6 under, slipping from a 63 Tuesday to a 73 Wednesday.

Four golfers were at 5 under: Hartland's Baker Stevenson (66), 2017 Michigan Open champion and Hillsdale resident Matt Thompson (71), Wisconsin golfer and Grosse Pointe Farms' Coalter Smith (73) and former Michigan Amateur champion and Howell resident Beau Breault (68).

Six-time Michigan Open winner Scott Hebert, of Traverse City, was in a group at 3 under, tied for ninth, after shooting 71. Recent Michigan graduate Patrick Sullivan, last year's Michigan Amateur champion, was at 1 over after a 72, tied for 21st with Smithson, who shot 73.

"Here we are with a chance," Kneen said following Wednesday's round. "Patrick is a great player. I don’t think he is going to do anything crazy tomorrow, so I have to go out there and control what I can control and just try to shoot the best score possible.”

The 2022 purse for the field at the Michigan Open, with new title sponsor Hall Financial, is $85,000.

Michigan Women's Amateur

The Michigan Women's Amateur is down to the Sweet 16 at Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester.

There weren't many surprises on the first day of match play Wednesday, with defending champion Kimberly Dinh of Midland, last year's runner-up Mikaela Schulz of West Bloomfield, and top seed and Michigan State assistant women's golf coach Caroline Ellis all winning their opening matches.

Sisters Anika (UM) and Anci Dy, of Traverse City, both advanced, and being on opposite sides of the bracket, they could actually face each other in the championship match.

Alissa Fish, a Clark Lake resident and Western Michigan golfer, beat 15-year-old Lauren Timpf, of Macomb.

There are two rounds of match play Thursday and two more Friday, including the championship.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984