(North Alabama Athletics Photo)
DECATUR, AL (July 9, 2016) -- North Alabama's Michael Peter fired the round of the tournament in the third round, a bogey-free 5-under 66, to move to 2-under and the top of the Spirit of America leaderboard. Peter is the only player currently under-par at Burningtree Country Club and he will carry a three-stroke lead over Matt Gourgeot into the final round.
Heading into Saturday's third round Peter was 3-over and on the fridge of competition. That all changed with a back nine charge that moved him into first place. Peter turned in a front nine 1-under 34 before providing some late Fourth of July fireworks on the closing nine.
The recent North Alabama graduate eagled the par-5 13th to jump start his round and birdied the ensuing hole to quickly move to 1-under for the week. Following a par on No. 15, Peter rolled in one more birdie on the 16th to cap his impressive 4-under 32 on the back nine.
Second round leader Matt Gourgeot will start Sunday's final round at 1-over and in second after a 1-over 72. Gourgeot did reach 2-under during the round only to bogey three of the final five holes.
Three players --Will Thrash (Huntingdon), Neil Gannaway (Tennessee Tech) and Blake Messer (Auburn)-- are 2-over and sharing third.
Saturday marked the final day of team competition and it was UAB and North Alabama sharing first place with a 54-hole, 435 total. The UAB team was comprised of Taylor Eyster and John Hayden while Michael Peter and Will Bragwell paired to make up the North Alabama squad.
ROUND TWO RECAP
Matt Gourgeot has combined rounds of 73-69 to post even-par and take the second round lead of the Spirt of America. Three players are 1-over and share second place.
Gourgeot's round got off to an inauspicious start with a double-bogey on his first hole of the day, the 10th dropping him to 4-over for the tournament. From there Gourgeot turned things around, beginning with a birdie on No. 11. The run continued with birdies on 15 and 17 before Gourgeot returned to even-par with a birdie on the 8th hole.
UAB's Taylor Eyster, Samford's Austin Jackson and Auburn's Blake Messer are all part of the second place tie at 1-over. Of the group tied for second Messer had the best round of the day, shooting a 2-under 69. Messer carded five birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on Friday. His best stretch came on holes 16-18 when he tallied three birds in a row.
First round co-leader Woodie Eubanks is in fifth place at 2-over while Corey Carlson who also shared the lead dropped all the way back to 4-over and a 12th place tie.
UAB continues to lead the 54-hole team competition. The UAB team is made ip of Taylor Eyster and John Hayden.
ROUND ONE RECAP
Corey Carlson and Woodie Eubanks both posted 2-under 69 to take the first round lead at the Spirt of America. The leading duo will carry a two-stroke lead into Friday's second round.
Carlson, a rising sophomore at Florida State, tallied three birdies and one bogey during his first round on Thursday. The 2015 Florida Azalea Amateur winner rolled in his first birdie of the day on No. 8 before carding two more on holes 13 and 16. His only bogey came on the 12th hole.
Mid-amateur Woodie Eubanks had a bit more of an adventuresome first round with five birdies and three bogeys. Eubanks was 2-over through six holes before turning things around with a pair of birdies to close out his front side. On the back nine Eubanks converted three more birdies on holes 11, 13 and 18 while only bogeying the 12th.
Austin Jackson (Samford), Taylor Eyster (UAB) and Neil Gannaway (Tennessee Tech) are all tied for third at even-par. Will Bragwell (North Alabama) and Piran Adi (SMU) are both 1-over and tied for sixth.
In the 54-hole team competition UAB paces the field after Taylor Eyster (71) and John Hayden (73) combine for a team total of 144.