The names atop the leaderboard at the Lawrence Amateur Golf Assn. City Championships usually have been the same during the last three years.
But the early morning buzz Saturday at Eagle Bend Golf Course was that a new face was emerging as a threat to win the title.
Dighton native Adam Stanley, a 1998 Kansas high school state champion, fired a 31 on the front nine and wrapped up the day with a first-round score of 66 -- five strokes ahead of Matt Bellemere and Daniel Brumley in the standings.
"I just made a lot of putts," Stanley said. "I made everything. That was the difference. I usually don't make that many putts. I had a good group of guys to play with, though, and that made it a lot easier."
Stanley's day included two eagles -- one on the 510-yard, par-5 No. 9, and another on the 560-yard, par-5 No. 16 -- and he posted only two bogeys all day.
Although shocked at his ability to hit big shot after big shot, Stanley wasn't totally surprised he had a good day. He plays Eagle Bend two or three times a week, so he knows the course well.
Also, temperatures in the mid-70s and a minimal breeze gave Stanley the perfect conditions to have a big round.
"I knew a lot of birdies could be made out here today with the way the weather was," he said.
Sure, birdies. But two eagles?
"Go where eagles dare to fly," Stanley said. "I hit some long drives and hit some good shorter shots, too. I luckily made those putts, too."
Stanley wasn't the only golfer knocking down big shots Saturday. Bellemere hit numerous clutch recovery shots, putted for 11 pars and finished one under with a 71.
"It was a pretty tough day out there for me," he said. "I was scrambling. I probably hit three fairways all day, so I had a really tough day off the tee. But my recovery shots treated me right, and I was able to roll some putts in too."
The second-place standing is familiar territory for Bellemere. He has been a mainstay on the leaderboard since the tournament's return in 2001. He won the 2001 title, was runner-up in 2002 and placed third in 2003.
Bellemere and Brumley -- a recent Lawrence High graduate who also tallied a 71 -- will join Stanley in the final group of the championship flight today in the final round, which will be played at Alvamar Golf Club.
Last year's runner-up, Mike Grosdidier, remains in the hunt after a 73, while Conrad Roberts and Stewart Platz logged 74s. Defending champion Camron Flanders fired a 76.
Although six golfers remain in striking distance, it will take a monster round by one of them or a major falter by Stanley for force a change atop the standings. His five-stroke lead may be insurmountable if he shoots for par today, but Stanley isn't taking anything for granted.
"I just want to keep it in play," he said. "You have to keep it in play at Alvamar or you're going to shoot a high number. I've heard the greens are fast, so that'll be another thing to look out for. It's going to take a good round to put it away, no doubt."