CHEVY CHASE -- Jeff Thomas birdied the 17th hole to get to par-70, and the resulting 54-hole total of 207 produced a five-stroke lead in the 89th renewal of the Middle Atlantic Amateur championship at Columbia Country Club yesterday.
Thomas was trailed by Richard Holland, 70-212; Scott Inman, 73-215; and Kirk Lombardi, 71-215.
The cut fell at 230, and 42 players will play this morning.
A year ago at Baltimore CC, Thomas, in the event for the first time, was not out of the lead for three rounds, then faltered with a last-day 76, and Marty West III came from four back to win the championship for the fifth time, beating Thomas by a stroke.
"Nothing is really guaranteed, and Richard [Holland] is playing well," said Thomas, from South Plainfield, N.J.
Thomas, 36, highlighted his tour of the 6,545-yard, par 35-3570 course with birdies at three of the four par-3's, rolling in putts of 10, 18 and 30 feet.
Holland, who started the day five back, closed to within three on a chip-in birdie to a Thomas bogey at the 14th, but it was as close as he could get.
(Scores, Page 24D)