WEST POINT, Miss. — After overnight co-leaders Jarryd Felton and Taylor Funk swapped the lead all day on Friday, the Australian Felton birdied the difficult final two holes at Old Waverly Club to take a one-stroke lead into Saturday's final round of the 109th Southern Amateur.
Felton, 19 from Perth, opened a three-shot lead at the turn, but Funk, a University of Texas sophomore and son of Champions Tour player Fred Funk, birdied three of the first five holes on the back nine to surge in front.
But it came down to the demanding 18th, where Felton hit an 8-iron approach to within seven feet and holed the putt to take the lead into the final round.
"I made a couple of bad swings on 13 and 14, which cost me a couple of bogeys, but I was hitting it good all day so the birdies at 17 and 18 didn't come as a surprise," Felton told AmateurGolf.com.
The slender Aussie is accustomed to contending. He won three notable amateur events in his home country last year, including The Dunes Medal, Mandurah Easter Amateur, and Tasmanian Open.
Felton and Funk will be paired together again in Saturday's final round, teeing off at 9:20 a.m. CDT along with Alabama sophomore Jonathan Hardee. Felton said the similar pairing should help both players.
"We got along real well today," Felton added. "When you get the top two players in the same group you get to know where you stand the whole day so it's good."
Hardee is two back of Felton at eight-under, as is former McNeese State golfer Ben Suarez. Three back are a trio of players, including recent Players Amateur winner Matt NeSmith, a senior at the University of South Carolina.
Pre-tournament favorite Bryson DeChambeau, the newly crowned NCAA National champion and No. 3-ranked am in the world according to the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings, posted a five-under 67 on Friday to move within striking distance headed into Saturday's final round.
Low Mississippians are Olive Branch's Braden Thornberry (210) and Hattiesburg's Davis Riley (211).
The Southern Golf Association contributed to this story.
ABOUT THE Southern Amateur
The Southern Amateur, which dates back to 1902, is
one of two competitions held by the Southern Golf
Association. (The other is the Southern Junior.) Its
champions roster is like a who’s
of competitive golf. (And the same could be said of
the standing of its host clubs.) Leading this group is
Robert T. (Bobby) Jones, Jr., who was the Southern
Amateur Champion in 1917, 1920, and 1922. Others
who have won or finished in a challenging position
gone on to national and/or international prominence
include Tommy Barnes, Dale Morey, Don January,
Brewer, Doug Sanders, Billy Joe Patton, Lew Oehmig,
Hubert Green, Downing Gray, Marvin (Vinny) Giles,
Lanny Wadkins, Steve Melnyk, Tom Kite, John
Mahaffey, Ben Crenshaw, Gary Koch, Bill Rogers, Gil
Morgan, Danny Edwards, Andy Bean, Vance Haefner,
Jerry Pate, Chip Beck, David Edwards, Jay Sigel, Bob
Tway, Mark Brooks, Gene Sauers, Davis Love, Justin
Leonard and more recently PGA Tour standouts Webb
Simpson and Kyle Stanley, who won twice each
between 2005 and 2008 in alternate years.
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