CINCINNATI (AP) — Will Grimmer will be trying to make history.
Well, actually, he’ll be trying to come close to making history.
The Mariemont High School senior-to-be is striving to become the second-youngest winner in the 108 years of the Ohio Amateur.
The 17-year-old Cincinnati resident, who has verbally committed to play at Ohio State, shot a 2-under 69 in Thursday’s third round to build a three-stroke lead heading into the final 18 holes on Friday at Coldstream Country Club.
Only Michael Bernard, a current Ohio State senior set to be gone before Grimmer arrives on campus in a year, has won the state’s biggest amateur tournament at a younger age. Bernard was just 16 and entering his junior year at Huber Heights Wayne High School when he won by five shots at Kirtland Country Club in 2010.
Legendary amateur Frank Stranahan of Toledo won the first of his back-to-back titles in 1941 at the age of 18 and is the second-youngest to win the prestigious tournament later captured twice each by Arnold Palmer, John Cook and Ben Curtis.
Grimmer followed rounds of 72 and 66 to stand at 6-under 207. He’ll have plenty of top players keeping an eye on him in the final round.
Defending champion Andrew Dorn shot a second 69 in a row and shares second with Tim Crouch, who has put up three 70s. Both are at 3-under 210. Dorn, from West Chester, played at Coastal Carolina. Crouch is a former Florida Southern standout.
Grimmer, Dorn and Crouch will form the final threesome off the tee on Friday morning.
Springfield’s Clark Engle is the only other player under par. After a 71, the rising sophomore at Ohio State is at 1-under 212.
Boo Timko of Girard, who like his teammate Bernard will be a senior for the Buckeyes, had the day’s best round, a 68. He was fifth at even-par through 54 holes.
Miami (Ohio) player Jack Sparling, from Dublin, had a 73 and is at 214.
Two-time Ohio Am winner Robert Gerwin, just a stroke behind Grimmer at the start of the day, shot a 76 and is now eight shots back.
First-round co-leader Pete Samborsky, the golf coach at Wright State, lapsed to a 77.
Alan Fadel, who won the Ohio Am the second and most recent time it was held at Coldstream in 1995, fell out of contention with a 76.
The third player who shared the lead with Samborsky and Engle, Centerville’s Christopher Sloan, parred his final two holes for a 78 to barely make the cut at 224.
Missing the cut was 1987 Ohio Am winner Peter Hammar.
Recent University of Findlay graduate Marcus Hunt of Port Clinton fired a 76 and is tied for 23rd overall at 75-70-76–221 to make the cut.
Findlay’s John Zitkovic failed to make Thursday’s cut as he fired an 81. He finished the tournament with a score of 76-75-81–232.