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Williamsville's Katz has lead at state amateur

Westwood Country Club's Jake Katz shot a second straight 1-under-par round of 69 Wednesday on the Oak Hill West Course in Pittsford and took a two-stroke lead in the 89th New York State Amateur Men's Golf Championship.

Williamsville North grad Katz, 22, is the only golfer under par for 36 holes.

First-day leader Jimmy Welch (Winding Brook CC) of Valatie and University of Connecticut golfer Jeb Buchanan (Wolferts Roost CC) of Albany are alone in second place at 140. Welch shot 74 after his opening-round 66. Buchanan had a 73 after his first-round 67.

Tuesday, Katz had an up-and-down round that included four birdies, five bogeys, and an eagle. Wednesday he carded four birdies with only three bogeys.

He pointed to his accuracy off the tee as crucial. Another improvement for Katz was his mid-range putting. On his first day he struggled to make anything more than a few feet. "Making 10-, 12-footers are huge," said Katz. "Those putts keep the round going for me."

This is the second year Katz will be in the final group at the Men's championship. Last year, he finished runner-up to Doug Kleeschulte.

"I know what to expect," said Katz. "You just have to be patient."

Matthew Stasiak of Fox Valley, who was tied for 12th after the opening round, made the biggest jump among the Western New York contingent. Stasiak fired a 2-under 33 on the front nine but had four bogeys on the tough back nine and finished with a 1-over 71 to tie for eighth.

Five WNY golfers made the cut for today's final two rounds, including 17-year-old James Blackwell of Westwood who hit right on the cut line of 150 after his 74 Wednesday. While Welch and Buchanan lost ground on the West Course final nine, Katz played it in 1-under 34.

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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