Garrett Rank knew he would need to play his ball where it rested, on an awkward slope near a sprinkler head but not in a place he was afforded relief under the rules.
But he peeked at a rules official anyway, just to get confirmation, before executing a tricky up-and-down on No. 11 with a long par putt. It was just a routine par, but also an opportunity for the Canadian to crack after a huge round Friday left him wth a large cushion entering the third round of the Players Amateur on Berkeley Hall's South course.
Rank didn't offer any openings. He shot a 2-under-par 70 on Saturday to reach 13-under 203 for the tournament.
He is six shots clear of four players at 7 under, including defending champion Hunter Stewart.
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"I didn't hit it as good today as I did yesterday, but I salvaged it pretty good and managed to make a couple really good saves for par and a couple really good two-putts from long distance," Rank said.
Florida State golfer Jack Maguire delivered a bogey-free 64 to join those in second at 7 under. Zachary Olsen and Scott Vincent also reached 7-under 209.
But they chase Rank, who has not shown many signs this summer of holes in his game. And when adversity arises, the Canadian has the benefit of perspective.
He is only weeks removed from his most recent doctor's visit to ensure cancer discovered in January 2011 has not returned. His visits have dropped from once a month after the diagnosis and surgery to every three months and now just twice a year.
Rank said doctors want to watch closely during a five-year window. But there have been no other scares.
And Rank is settling in to an applaudable stretch of golf.
He recently qualified for the U.S. Amateur. He shot 66-66-68 the first three rounds of the Monroe Invitational in June and finished tied for third.
Now he will try to finish off a victory at the Players Amateur, which comes with an exemption into next April's RBC Heritage presented by Boeing at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Rank tees off at 10:11 a.m. Sunday with Virginia Tech's Vincent.
"I'm just going to stay really patient, work on my gameplan and not really worry about whatever everybody esle is doing," Rank said.
Tee times were delayed more than an hour Saturday after storms moved through in the morning. But there were no other stoppages as tournament organizers hope to complete 72 holes for the first time since the Players Am came to Berkeley Hall in 2012.
Rank's rise grabbed the attention of the field after his course-record 62 on Friday created separation. Stewart, playing in the group ahead Saturday, wasn't sure where Rank stood throughout the day but could tell he wasn't moving backward.
Stewart held together an up-and-down round -- he made an eagle by holing an 8-iron from 168 yards on No. 10 and a double bogey two holes later when his drive plugged in the lip of a bunker -- to shoot 1-under 71 but said he was frustrated with the gap he faces Sunday.
"Guy's running away with the golf tournament, so I've got to put up a little fight tomorrow," Stewart said.
Follow assistant sports editor Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.