By Gene Phelps
WEST POINT – T.J. Morgan’s plans for today’s final round of the MPGA Trustmark Invitational are the same as they were the first two rounds.
Why change? The Mississippi State senior golfer from Bruce takes a 5-stroke lead into today’s final 18 holes. He had seven birdies and recorded a 5-under 67 Saturday on the 7,000-yard Old Waverly course. His two-day score is a 9-under 135.
“I’m going to keep doing the same things,” said Morgan. “I’ll control what I can control and let the rest happen. I’m not going to change how I play.”
The players enjoyed a dry round after enduring a twice rain-delayed opening round Friday. About 30 players in the field had to finish their first round Saturday before the second could start.
Morgan’s challengers will include a former Meridian Community College teammate, Easton Key, and Tupelo amateur Damon Palmer, who both enter the final round at 4-under-par 140.
Key, who plays for Arkansas State, shot a 4-under 68 in the second round with a strong 5-under showing on the back nine. He birdied 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17. However, in an attempt to shoot a 29, he bogeyed 18.
“I wanted to keep it going; I didn’t lack any confidence,” he said.
Amateurs Vince Hodges of Tupelo and defending champion Eddie Brescher of Hattiesburg are joined by professional Tim Yelverton of West Point, the tournament’s low pro, at 3-under 141.
Brescher, an assistant golf coach at Southern Miss, tied Morgan with the day’s best round with his 5-under.
Morgan credits Yelverton and Old Waverly teaching pro V.J. Trolio with helping his game. Morgan says he “struggled” last season, his first with the Bulldogs.
“They’ve helped me a lot with fundamentals and drills,” he said. “They’ve helped me with how to practice. I’ve worked really hard on my swing.”
Morgan had another solid day with his putting, sinking one 20-footer for birdie on No. 7.