By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
SAUCIER – Steve Wilson is no stranger to golf’s big stage.
The 43-year-old Ocean Springs resident won the MGA State Amateur Championship in 2007, captured the USGA Mid-Amateur Championship in 2008 and played in the Masters in 2009.
He takes a one-stroke lead over Eddie Brescher III into today’s final round of the 98th annual State Am at Grand Bear. Four other players, including two-time defending champion Clay Homan, are in contention.
“I’m just going to play the same, one shot at a time and do the best I can,” said Wilson, who’s 8-under 208 after 54 holes.
Wilson, a former Gulf Coast Community College and Southern Miss player, started Saturday four shots behind Brescher, but went to the top of the leaderboard with a 5-under-par 67. His round included an eagle on No. 11 and five birdies.
“I hit the ball OK today and putted a little above average,” a modest Wilson said. “I think it’s going to take a 12-under to win it. Brescher’s played solid.”
Brescher, a native of Hammond, La., and golf coach at Millsaps College, entered the third round at 9-under and dropped it to a 10-under before three bogeys on the back sent him to 7-under 209.
“I was on fire a little at the start,” he said. “I make a few goofy mistakes on the back. I’ve hit the ball well all week. My weakness has been my putting.”
Brescher, 28, who played for Southeastern Louisiana, has performed on some big stages as well. In last year’s State Am he trailed Homan by two strokes with nine holes to play.
“I’m looking forward to this,” Brescher said of today’s final 18 holes. “(Wilson) has a great track record. He’s no pushover. He’s familiar with being in the last group.”
Homan, Mississippi State’s coach, entered the third round 10 shots off the lead, but battled back with a 5-under 67 to move into sixth with a 2-under.