The 43-year-old assistant pro at the Woodholme Country Club in Baltimore, Md. is searching for his best finish in the championship since a tie for fifth in 1994.
Im happy with the round, he claimed of his play over the 7,470-yard Crosswater Club at Sunriver Resort. I didnt expect a ton more. Its hard teaching 50 hours a week and then expecting to be at your best.
So far, his best has been more than adequate this week.
At 10-under-par 206, DeFrancesco is two-up over Oklahoma Citys Tim Fleming (68) and Rob Wilkin (69) of Lenexa, Kan. Four others ' including defending champion Tim Thelen ' are three off the pace at minus-seven.
I feel Im doing what I teach, DeFrancesco said. Im hitting it fairly straight and putting well. Im testing myself out here.
His sentiments might reflect the feelings of every club pro in the field this week.
On the lines for the winner is a check worth $40,000.
More importantly, however, are the perks of a good showing in the event.
Following Sundays 72nd hole, the top-25 finishers will be invited to this years PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
The pressure doesnt seem to be affecting DeFrancesco, however. Despite three bogies on his round Saturday, he rang in three birdies and a tricky seven-footer at the last to save par and offset the mistakes for a 72.
Theres no pass or fail, he said. Im still learning.
Thirty-nine states were represented in this years edition of the Club Professionals Championship. The Crosswater Club ' at 7,470 yards ' is the longest track the event has ever been contested upon.
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