By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
MADISON – Mississippi State University golf coach Clay Homan is 18 holes away from his fourth Mississippi State Amateur golf tournament championship.
Homan, the defending champion, tied the State Am single-round record with Saturday’s 64 at Reunion Golf and Country Club and has a three-day total of 208.
Three of his Mississippi State players are in the top 11 entering today’s final 18 holes of the 97th annual event.
“I just felt really good with the putter in my hands,” said Homan, 40. “The greens I felt were a little bit softer.”
Rain came down at times on the 7,000-yard course but Homan, who came in even, shaved nine strokes off his Friday total.
Batesville’s Grant Goforth is second, four strokes back, after Saturday’s 70. Fellow Fulton native Chad Ramey, a sophomore player for Homan at MSU, shot a 74 on Saturday and is the closest area golfer on the leaderboard at 217.
Ramey finished fifth last year and is tied for fifth with three golfers.
“I was seeing the lines better, but I hit a lot of good shots too,” Homan said. “I gave myself a lot of makeable birdie putts.”
Homan credited three keys par saves, one a 12-footer on six after hitting a 9-iron in the bunker and on 11 and 12.
His day included 10 pars and eight birdies, four birdies on the final six holes.
“I started getting back into a rhythm making birdie putts and had a couple of key up and downs on 11 and 12 that kept my round going,” Homan said.
Former Tupelo High golfer and MSU freshman Fletcher Johnson – the 2010 State Am champion – shot a Saturday second-best 69 and is at 220 with five others, including teammate Barrett Edens and former Blue Mountain golfer Michael Collie in 11th place.
Edens, a former Amory High School standout, shot an even-par 72 on Saturday.
Edens said he can’t see making up 12 strokes today and catching his boss.
“If I do, it will take some big mistakes by him and a few others and I just don’t see that happening,” he said, then laughed. “It was pretty tough out there, a little messy. I was surprised to see a 64, but not surprised to see he did it.”
Homan tees off at 9:10 a.m. today with Goforth and third-place Eddie Brescher III of Jackson, who is six back.