By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BELDEN – Alex Rowland was in this position two years ago.
In the top three at the 2010 Trustmark Invitational, a bad Sunday knocked him out of contention.
Today he finds himself with a one-stroke lead heading into the final 18 holes at Tupelo Country Club. He followed a 4-under Friday with Saturday’s 2-under 70, six-under for the tournament.
Rowland, a former Mississippi State golfer from Houston, has said he will likely turn pro following the tournament. He had five birdies and three bogeys on Saturday – and for a second straight day, he wasn’t pleased with his driving.
“I didn’t drive the ball very well today, but putted well, so that’s kind of kept me playing good,” Rowland said.
A stroke back are Millsaps coach Eddie Brescher and Mississippi State junior Chad Ramey of Fulton. Ramey shot a 3-under 69 Saturday.
Brescher cut five strokes off his par day on Friday for a Saturday low, 5-under 67.
Former Amory golfer Barrett Edens, a junior at MSU, is two back of the lead after sharing the lead on Friday. Mississippi State sophomore Fletcher Johnson, a former Tupelo standout, is three back at 141. He shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday.
Only eight were under par after Friday. Ten golfers are now under par.
The top scoring professional on the MSU-dominated leaderboard is Bob Wolcott, whose 2-under 70 gave him a two-day 142, tied with Vince Hodges.
“I still left a few out there today,” said Johnson, a sudden death runner-up last year at Country Club of Jackson. “I hit a few better shots today. I held it together. We’ve got one more round.”
Johnson wasn’t pleased with his day on the four par 5s, where he went 1-over. He bogeyed No. 13 and his final hole, the No. 9, which many consider one of the tougher of the course.
“I’m definitely going to have to drive better. I hit it in the trees three or four times,” he said. “If you hit the fairways out here, you can score. If you get in the fairways, it’s not hard. If you get in the trees, it is.”