COON RAPIDS -- Bill Israelson, golf professional at the Vintage in Staples, fired a five-under par 67 to claim the lead Friday heading into the second round of the 2000 Best Buy Minnesota State Open.
Israelson started the day with a one-over par 37 on the back nine, but rebounded with a six-under par 30 on the front.
A three-putt double bogey on the par-3 17th was the only major glitch in his round.
"The short game has been the weakest part of my game lately. I've really struggled with it," Israelson said. "But when you start hitting it four inches away, all of a sudden your short game looks pretty good.
"The magic was back -- at least for nine holes. I don't think I've ever had a 30 for nine holes in any tournament of this stature."
Israelson's storied career includes winning the State Open in 1991, the State Amateur twice, the state PGA twice and the state PGA match play four times.
Israelson, 43, made eight birdies to finish the day one stroke ahead of Professional Dave Podas of the Minneapolis Golf Club and amateur Ben Meyers of the University Golf Club. Four players followed with 69s.
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