OOLTEWAH, TN – Tied for the lead at the time and facing a 100-yard shot into the lake-guarded, par-4 ninth hole at the Honors Course on Friday, University of Texas star sophomore Beau Hossler said he was just trying to take the spin off his wedge approach to keep it from backing into the water. Instead, it took one hop and backed into the cup for an eagle two that separated him from the packed leaderboard in the 108th Southern Amateur.
The rare feat gave the Mission Viejo, CA, native a sudden 3-shot lead and contributed to a 2-under 70 and a 208 total into Saturday's final round. Two shots back is Virginia Tech All-ACC performer Trevor Cone from Concord, NC. South Carolina's Will Starke nailed a 7-iron approach to within two inches of the final hole for a rain-soaked birdie that left him three back at 211.
Hossler, from Mission Viejo, CA., said it was a tough day, with constant rain adding to the challenges of The Honors Course. "It's nice to be leading, but I can't go out tomorrow and play an average round to win. This course is tough enough without the pressure and the strong field."
The pressure was too much, apparently, for 36-hole co-leader Greyson Murray of Raleigh, NC. Frustrated by several missed short putts, Murray suffered a lost ball drive into the woods on the 17th hole and promptly withdrew despite being 1-under par for the tournament with a full round left to play on Saturday.
108th Southern Amateur, 3rd Round Leaders
The Honors Course, Ooletewah TN; Par 72, 7,155 yards.
Beau Hossler, Mission Viejo CA…..70-68-70--208
Trevor Cone, Raleigh NC.................68-72-70--210
Will Starke, Chapin SC…………….70-69-72--211
Geoff Drakeford, Australia…………68-74-70--212
M.J. Masguire, St. Pete FL...............69-72-72--213
Victor Perez, Albuquerque, NM.......72-70-71--213
Jorge Garcia, Miami FL....................74-71-69--214
A.J. Crouch, Jacksonville FL............74-69-72--215
Alex Cusumano, St. Louis MO……..72-68-75--215