By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
WEST POINT – If practice makes perfect, then Billy Brozovich should putt better today in the third round of the MGA State Amateur Championship.
Brozovich, a Greenville resident and Ole Miss golfer, struggled with his putter Friday in the tournament’s second round at Old Waverly. He had three 3-putts on his final nine holes.
“I hit it great today, but my putter left me on the back,” said the Rebels’ fifth-year senior, who headed to the practice green after signing his scorecard. “I didn’t putt well today, but I hit it so good, I didn’t have to putt well.”
Brozovich, the first-round leader with a 4-under-par round Thursday, finished 1-over-par Friday and is tied with three others for first place after posting a 68-73 – 141.
He is tied with Mississippi State golf coach Clay Homan (69-72 – 141), Southern Miss golfer Nicholas Brown (69-72 – 141) and MSU golfer Alex Rowland (70-71 – 141).
Ryan Ratcliff, a Mississippi College player, is all alone at 1-under. He recorded a hole-in-one on his eighth hole, the 190-yard No. 17.
The third-round – made up of the top 60 scores and ties – is scheduled for today. The final 18 holes are Sunday.
Tupelo’s Fletcher Johnson, the defending State Am champion, struggled for the second straight day, shooting a 73-79 – 152. The 18-year-old MSU signee had three double bogeys and three bogeys to overshadow a round that featured an eagle and two birdies.
“I missed a lot of fairways,” he said. “I haven’t hit any good golf shots. I haven’t been able to get anything going.”
The second round was quite a different experience for Brozovich, who recorded six birdies in the opening round.
“I didn’t feel comfortable putting today,” he said. “After I missed my first one it stayed with me.
“I don’t know what happened, but I’m about to work that out now. I’m going to figure out what I was doing wrong.”
Brozovich didn’t blame Old Waverly’s much-criticized hard, fast Bermuda greens.
“It isn’t that tough,” he said. “You just have to hit it in better spots.”
Homan started on the back nine Friday and birdied three holes. However, he recorded his second and third bogeys on the front, along with seven pars.
“I played pretty much the same as yesterday,” he said. “I just had more putts fall yesterday than today.”
Homan saw two birdie attempts come up short on his 14th and 16th holes.
“I just want to try to make a lot of pars and take advantage of the par 5s,” he said. “You want to birdie the holes that are accessible, but a lot of the holes aren’t accessible because the greens are firm.”
– West Point’s Wilkes Bryan, 41, has recorded two hole-in-ones in his golfing career. Both have come on the same hole – No. 12 at Old Waverly, a course owned by his father, George Bryan.
Bryan’s second ace came in Friday’s second round. He used a 9-iron on the 153-yard hole.
“My first one was on Labor Day 16 years ago; I was playing with my dad,” he said. “I used an 8-iron that day from 150 yards.”
Bryan finished strong with a 1-over 73 after recording an 84 in the first round and made the cut.
“I never quit,” said Bryan, who made the State Am cut for the first time.
– It’s no surprise that the course’s four par 5s produced the most birdies – 15 (67), 2 (60), 9 (36) and 10 (35) – 198 of the 460 recorded in the first two rounds.
By comparison, there were 2,549 pars, 1,479 bogeys and 406 double bogeys recorded. Oh, yes, there were 173 triple bogeys or higher.