The 24-year-old carded a 3-under 68 Friday for a 36-hole total of 9-under 133 and a two-shot lead on American Mike Grob. Americans Conrad Ray and Jarrod Warner are at 6-under 136 while four others, including Canadians Martin Price (Collingwood, ON) and Jim Rutledge (Victoria, BC), are four shots off the lead.
A total of 72 players shot 1-over or better to make the cut.
It should be a wild final weekend to the 2002 Canadian Tour season, with plenty at stake for those near the top of the money list. With Jeff Quinney, who came into this week second on Order of Merit, missing the cut, Hank Kuehne clinches the money title.
It also leaves the door open for Gillespie, who would nail down second spot with a win and join Kuehne as tour players exempted into the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying. Steve Scott (3rd) and Mike Grob (5th) will also have plenty to play for this weekend. The top three from the Order of Merit, plus the next two Canadians, will receive exemptions into the Bell Canadian Open and Air Canada Championship.
With Jeff missing the cut, it is a big opportunity for me, but I still have to play tomorrow, so first things first, said Gillespie. I cant get into looking too far ahead or over my shoulder or it will take me off my game.
With a triumph at the Myrtle Beach Barefoot Championship already under his belt this season, Gillespie should get a big boost from the hometown crowd this weekend. And as little as he is talking about it right now, he would love to get the free pass into the second of three stages of PGA Qualifying, which gets underway later this fall.
Q-school can be tough, you have one bad week, one bad hole, and it can cost you a whole year. Thats just the way it is. So the chance is there for me this weekend, and that is all I can ask. It would mean a lot to get it done at home, but I wont put any pressure on myself, Gillespie said.
Full-field scores from The Greater Toronto Open