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Defending champion Bradshaw challenging leaders at Fuhrer Invitational

| Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 5:36 p.m.

The third round of any golf tournament is known as moving day.

Only one golfer, returning champion David Bradshaw of Harper's Ferry, W.Va., made a big move Tuesday at the 29th annual Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational at the Pittsburgh Field Club in Fox Chapel. Everyone else stayed put.

Bradshaw was one of only four golfers to shoot under par, firing a 5-under 65 for a three-round score of 1-over 211 to climb to within five shots of leader Ryan Sikora. The Greensburg resident shot 1-under 69 and is at 4-under 206 for the tournament, which will conclude Wednesday.

Pine Township's Mike Van Sickle, coming off a win at the West Penn Open last week, shot 1-over 71 and is at 2-under 208 for the tournament.

Nathan Sutherland is tied with Bradshaw for third, while Allegheny Country Club pro John Aber and Irwin's Dan Obremski are tied for fifth at 212.

Bradshaw had seven birdies and two bogeys during Tuesday's round, which included hitting a ball out of bounds on No. 8 and a three-putt bogey on No. 16.

The seven-time West Virginia Open champion said he found his groove late in his second round Monday. That groove remained in the third round.

“Monday, I hit six of 26 fairways and basically with hitting from the trees,” Bradshaw said. “It was a terrible day. When I woke up (Tuesday) and I hit a couple balls on the driving range, I knew it was going to be a good day. I got it going, made a lot of putts and hit a lot of good shots.

“I'm in a good position. The plan Wednesday is to get out and post another good score. Golf is so stupid; you wake up every day, and it's different.”

Bradshaw called his bogey on No. 8 the best of his career.

Sikora, who won the Fuhrer title in 2007 and '11, said he grinded out his round. He made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to grab a two-shot lead, then made a par save on No. 18.

“I got off to a good start with birdies on (Nos.) 2 and 4, and then I bogeyed three out of four holes before I birdied (No.) 9 to make the turn even,” Sikora said. “I just played steady.

“I was trying not to take myself out if it. I'm happy that I still have a couple-shot lead. There are a lot of good players in this tournament, and I'm going to have to play well Wednesday.”

Van Sickle said he played poorly early, but he was glad he remains in contention.

“I got my bad round of my system, and hopefully I'll come back (Wednesday) and play a lot better,” Van Sickle said. “I just didn't have a good swing early, and it took me a few holes to get started. Anyone 215 and under is still capable of winning this.”

Others to post rounds under par Tuesday were Sutherland (69) and Jason Robinson (68).

The final round gets under way at 8 a.m., with the leaders teeing off at 9:21 a.m.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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