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Michael Putnam, Andrew Yun share lead heading into final round of Tacoma Open

A pair of former next-door neighbors in University Place will take the overnight lead into the final round of the inaugural Tacoma Open.

Mini-tour golfer Andrew Yun, who went to Bellarmine Prep and Stanford, and PGA Tour player Michael Putnam, a Life Christian Academy and Pepperdine product, share the lead at 9-under-par 133.

Putnam shot 67; Yun 68 — and the two will be in the final group, along with Sumner’s Brian Thornton (8-under 134), on Sunday at Meadow Park Golf Course.

The winner will win a $10,000 paycheck.

“It will be my biggest Sunday,” Putnam said, “of September.”

Tournament officials could not have asked for a better storyline heading into the final round. Putnam is the headliner professional, and Yun grew up playing junior golf at Meadow Park.

“It is going to be awesome and so much fun,” Yun said. “To have this at Meadow Park means a lot.”

Putnam tied for the second-lowest round of the day. Through 36 holes, he is bogey-free. He made a 10-foot putt at the 13th hole for birdie, and then hit a sand wedge close at No. 16 to set up a final birdie.

“Being in the trees has been tough,” Putnam said. “But I’ve gotten some good bounces out of them.”

Yun made two mistakes Saturday: clipping a tree at No. 13 and seeing his ball fall into a deep ravine, leading to a bogey. And at No. 5 — a risk-reward drivable par 4 — Yun hit his tee shot into the greenside pond, leading to a double bogey.

But Yun responded by hitting a sand wedge to 4 feet at the par-5 seventh hole. He also sank a 10-footer for a final birdie at No. 9.

“Today was tougher. The wind (direction) was opposite to yesterday,” Yun said. “But I am happy with (68). I played well today.”

Not to be underestimated, Thornton — a teaching professional at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent — is playing really good golf right now. He won earlier this week at the PGA Pacific Northwest sectional championships in Shelton, and backed up a 65 on Friday with a 69 in the second round.

Thornton finished 3 under on his final five holes, with a key tap-in birdie at No. 13 to get it rolling.

“My game has been steady,” Thornton said. “There isn’t a shot I don’t feel like I can handle.

“I feel like I am at a level where I should be, and can be.”

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