VICTORIA, British Columbia — Jerry Smith was maybe unfairly damned yesterday in this space. He’s a strong-looking guy, moves like an athlete, solid through the ball. That doesn’t mean if he put on a burgundy leisure suit he wouldn’t look like the guy who handled your grandpa’s funeral.
In Saturday’s second round of the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship at Bear Mountain’s Mountain Course, Smith didn’t shrink in the spotlight of being the first-round co-leader. He opened with an eagle on No. 1, followed with a birdie on 2, and had it to 13-under after a birdie on the par-3 14th.
A bogey on 15 dropped him to minus-12, which is where he finished with his Saturday 66. David McKenzie, playing three groups ahead of the final threesome of Smith, Jerry Kelly and Steve Flesch, shot 64 to stand as co-leader at minus-12 heading to Sunday.
Smith and McKenzie will be joined in the final group Sunday by Kelly (minus-11).
“Last groups are always a little different, but it’s where you want to be,” Smith said. “Hopefully you’re going to be in the mix, but if you’re not, you learn from it, you see what it takes to win. The three times I’ve been in the final group this year, the winner has come out of that group.”
Doug Garwood had a 67 to follow a Friday 66 to get to 10-under. Lee Janzen shot 64 to stand at minus-9 heading to the final round.
Flesch, the Friday co-leader, shot 70 to fall to a six-way tie for sixth at minus-8, along with Bernhard Langer, David Toms, Woody Austin, Tommy Armour III and Jay Haas.
McKenzie, a 50-year-old Aussie, was the fourth of four Tuesday qualifiers to get into the tournament. His stealth 64 included 31 on the back nine.
“I’m just trying to stand upright and play golf,” McKenzie said. “If I play well, it’s good. If I play bad, I’m unhappy but it’s not the end of the world. That’s been the biggest thing.”
Standing upright is good. Keeps you out of the hands of the leisure-suit guy.
Len Barrie played 184 games for four teams in an undistinguished National Hockey League career, but the British Columbia native gained far greater notoriety in the province for leading the Bear Mountain resort company into bankruptcy — while he, as the story goes, flew above the storm.
The Grey Goatee Research Cell, who might or might not have disclosed they got it straight from a 2011 story in The Globe and Mail of Toronto, said 100 investors, including 18 former NHL players Barrie was able to attract, lost a total of $13 million in Barrie’s scheme.
The research knuckleheads unearthed articles that say Barrie also disrespected tribal elders and was otherwise insensitive to the environment in developing the resort.
Barrie’s former home at Bear Mountain — a 15,000-square-foot compound-like thing — stands like a headstone to his excesses on the hill next to the No. 15 teebox.