RUMFORD, R.I. — Hunter Stewart and Michael Johnson, at six-under, have a share of the Northeast Amateur 54-hole lead.
The two SEC rivals were hovering near the top of the leaderboard entering the third round as Stewart, a graduating senior from Vanderbilt, trailed 36-hole leader Zach Seabolt by two while Johnson, a redshirt senior at Auburn, used a second-round 64 to sit one back of Seabolt.
Stewart's 66 on day three was nothing out of the ordinary, other than its general lack of mistakes on the scorecard. Making just one bogey at the par-4 5th, Stewart threw in four birdies throughout the course of his round on Friday at Wannamoisett Country Club.
The already graduated Stewart postponed turning pro because of his desire to make the 2015 Walker Cup team. He figured he would play this year's Northeast Amateur for the first time while he had the chance.
"Now, knowing what I passed up I’m thinking this would have been pretty fun," Stewart told the Rhode Island Golf Association.
Johnson fired 67, and did so with no bogeys and two birdies. In fact, since the first round, where Johnson began the day on 10 and had a rough stretch on the front nine, his back nine, that included bogeys at holes 1, 3, and 4, he has yet to make a bogey since.
"I'm just trying to play well. If I shoot 3 or 4-under and lose, then hats off to whoever wins," Johnson told the RIGA.
Seabolt, a junior at Winthrop University, fell apart during the third round, which he started with a one-shot lead at the 54th running of the event. Having made 10 birdies entering the day, Seabolt, a native of Raleigh, N.C., circled zero numbers on his scorecard and grinded around two double-bogeys en route to a 10-over 79. He now sits 11 shots off the lead.
Third place is held by two Big-12 golfers, one of which will officially be on the Oklahoma State roster beginning this fall. Zachary Bauchou of Forest, Va. was one-over through six on Friday but used an eagle and a birdie on the back side to post 66 and sit one back of the leaders.
Also one back at five-under is Iowa State junior Nick Voke, a native New Zealander. Things were looking disappointing for the Cyclone after his third bogey of the round came at the 13th hole, but Voke closed with authority, making birdies at 14, 16, and 18 en route to a 68.
Two back in fifth place is Texas A&M sophomore Cameron Champ, who came close to defending his Memorial Amateur title in Sacramento, Calif. last month. Sixth place is held by Texas standout sophomore Scottie Scheffler, who is three back.
Don't count out defending champion Stewart Jolly of NCAA National title holder LSU, who along with recent Monroe Invitational winner Adam Ball, is tied for seventh place at two-under.
The final pairing of Stewart and Johnson will begin their fourth and final round Saturday at 11:22 EDT.