Morgan keeps lead as placements help shuffle field
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
The pins were a little tougher Thursday as the Blount County Men’s Amateur Golf Championship rolled into Pine Lakes Golf Course for the third round. To compensate slightly for the par-71 course, the pin placements may have been a bit more challenging as it was a topic of wide conversation as the groups rolled back into the club house from the afternoon rounds.
Kevin Morgan retained the lead in the Championship Flight with an even par to stay at 4-under. Josh Wheeler moved into second — one stroke back of Morgan — with a 1-under 70 as the pair played in the same afternoon group. Peyton Sliger, who entered the day 3-under, dropped into a distant third, carding a 6-over in the morning round.
“I can’t complain right now, overall my game’s going pretty good,” Morgan said after holding onto the lead. “It seems to be down to a two-man race now. It was playing pretty straight forward, nothing major going on. The only thing was the pin locations, but outside of that, it was a pretty normal day for Pine Lakes.”
Morgan had a one-stroke lead entering last year’s final round before Michael Bradshaw ran him down and forced the defending champ to win the 2011 Championship Flight in a playoff.
“We go to my home course now, and we’ll see what happens,” Morgan said of today’s final round when the Championship heads to Green Meadow Country Club.
The Championship, First and Second Flights will tee off at 2 p.m. while the Third and Fourth Flights tee off at 8:30 a.m.
The man on the move Thursday was Don Myers, who stormed back into the First Flight lead turning in the day’s best round with a morning 69. Myers stood in a five-way tie in the Open Division Tuesday but fell three strokes back after a second-round 76 at Egwani Farms. Tournament director Kevin Teeters, who led the First Flight after the field was divided following the second round, dropped back with an 80 on Thursday while two players jumped up the First Flight leaderboard with even-par performances. Jamie Knight and Donnie Pendley both made up some ground and into a shot for the money that goes to the top six finishers in each open flight with 71s.
DIVOTS: The bizarre round of the day went to Randy Hooper, who set heads to being scratched on No. 14 with a putt that passed the hole, stopped, and came back in to the cup with something that could be described as backspin. Hooper also saved par taking a swing that got as much tree root as ball but landed within four feet of the pin. “You might not want him playing for you from the fairway but if you’re on a root, he’s your man,” one golfer managed as the round was verbally replayed under the cart covers. ... Morgan’s mother, who was diagnosed with cancer, is planing to be at Green Meadow for today’s final round. “Mom’s coming out tomorrow, that’s all that matters to me right now. Golf is kind of in the back seat, family comes first. Golf’s golf and life’s life, you know.” ... Ronie Phelps has a one-stroke lead over Sam Love in the Second Flight. ... Scott Riggs leads Larry Renfro in the Third Flight while Jimmy Webb holds a three-stroke lead in the Fourth Flight.