Cole Hammer (L) and Pierceson Coody (Southern Golf Association photos)
Texas Longhorns Cole Hammer
(Houston, Texas) and Pierceson Coody
(Plano, Texas) are the ones to chase as the Southern Amateur concludes Saturday at Maridoe Golf Club.
The duo navigated Maridoe’s lightning-quick greens in the Texas heat take the top two positions with just 18 holes to go. Always looking forward to the final round while in contention, Coody is even more excited to tee it up with his college teammate.
“It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be just like qualifying,” Coody told AmateurGolf.com following his third-round 72. “It’s my home course but it’s still a stressful day. Having your teammate play with you is just going to be fun. It’s going to be a good grouping.”
Coody’s even-par round had its ups and downs. Kicking things off with an eagle on the par-5 second hole, he tallied two bogeys and a birdie for a front-side 35. Making the turn uneventfully, Coody coasted with pars until he chalked up a birdie on the par-3 14th. Unable to keep the momentum going, Coody posted back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 to end the day with the same score he began it with; 8-under-par.
Hammer continued his good play, following up his 67 on Thursday with a 68 to jump four players and take the lead. Hammer made six birdies on the day, including four of his first six holes, to put himself in position to win his first major tournament since last year's NCAA Regional.
One shot back of his teammate Hammer, Coody feels he has plenty to improve on as he heads into the final round.
“I missed quite a bit of putts inside about six or seven feet,” Coody said. “Not that I was misreading them, I was just hitting poor putts and that’s something I can easily clean up and improve on tomorrow.”
Coody won last year's Trans-Mississippi Championship on his home course of Maridoe and should feel like he has the advantage.
36-hole leader William Mouw simply could not get anything going on Friday. The Pepperdine star had a rough start that set the tone for him. Three-straight bogeys on holes 2, 3, and 4 dropped Mouw from 8-under to 5-under in what seemed like a blink of an eye.
“I just felt a little rushed today,” Mouw said. “I’m excited for tomorrow, we’re not out of it.”
Just three shots back of the lead, Mouw is still in the thick of things. His opening 69 and 67 helped offset his third-round 76, which closed with a double-bogey. Knowing how quickly a lead can change and momentum can shift, Mouw is comfortable with his positioning.
“18 holes of golf is a lot of holes,” Mouw said. “You see three-shot leads go [away] in two, three holes so three shots is nothing. Go out there and compete with some of the best amateurs out there and see who comes out on top.”
David Perkins (East Peoria, Ill.) is two shots back in third after a 74. Mouw is tied for fourth, three shots back, alongside Clay Merchent (Noblesville, Ind.) and Cooper Dossey (Austin, Texas).
Merchent may have the most to gain from anyone on Saturday. While everyone else in the top 10 is already exempt into next month's U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes, Merchent is currently on the outside looking in and needs a win or a runner-up to punch his ticket to the national championship.
Related: USGA to exempt winners, runners-up of 4 AM majors into the US AM
Wilson Furr (Jackson, Miss.) had the round of the day, a 6-under 66, with four 2's on the card, to climb into a seventh-place tie with a pair of Oklahomans, Austin Eckroat (Edmond) and Quade Cummins (Weatherford).
The highest-ranked player in the field, John Pak (Scotch Plains, N.J.), shot a 67 on Friday to get to one under par.
Michael Brennan (Leesburg, Va.), who won the Maridoe Junior here earlier this summer, held his ground Friday with an even-par 72 to remain +2 and is in a tie for 26th.
The final round begins at 7:30 am CT with Coody and Hammer teeing off at 9:20 am CT alongside Perkins.
Be sure to follow @AmateurGolf and @Brayden_AG on Twitter for updates throughout the day.
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). This
is a 72-hole stroke play championship with a cut
made after 36 holes. Entries are open to any male
amateur golfer who has a current USGA Handicap
Index® not exceeding 3.4 under the USGA Handicap
System. Non-exempt players must pre-qualify at
one of the qualifying sites held across the southern
U.S. in the two months leading up to the
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