After frustrating back-to-back even-par rounds in the 95th State Amateur, Garrett Burgess’ putter switch didn’t work out quite as well as he would have hoped.
With new putter in hand, Burgess fired a 1-over 73 to fall into a seven-way tie for 33rd after making the cut the day before.
“Same old, same old. Just a new day,” Burgess said. “Same result, different story.”
After his performance had faltered of late with a $2,500 hand-crafted Scotty Cameron putter of three years, Burgess went into his closet and pulled out one with far less monetary value and one he’d never played a full round of golf with.
“It’s old. God, I don’t even know what it’s called,” he said. “There’s no name on it. … It’s a hand-me-down, one of my granddad’s old ones.”
Early on, though, it looked to be the right choice.
Burgess birdied his first hole and then made a short putt on his fifth hole to go to 2-under. Then it began to unravel.
“All three days, I’ve hit the ball pretty good,” he said. “I would consider anything for how I hit the ball. If anybody else would have putted for me, I’d bet you I’m 5 or 6 under.
“That’s the only reason I think there’s a difference in my score and theirs. If I make a quarter or half that I should make, I’m easily 5 or 6 under.”
He missed a short putt on the next hole to take a bogey and then closing out the turn, left opportunities on the course. He saved par on both holes, but had opportunities for a birdie and an eagle.
A missed 10-footer and dumping it in the water on the final hole summarized his back nine closing out his 1-over round.
While there were the missed opportunities to lament, his day was steadier and less of a roller coaster ride than Friday’s round where he had four birdies, but also four bogeys.
“I actually putted pretty good, I just didn’t make anything,” he said. “Everything was on the edges, better than yesterday.
“It really doesn’t help me out any, even though I think I’ve got a little more confidence.”
Going into the final round, he’ll likely need to shoot a 2-under to make up the distance between himself and the exemption status that will automatically put him in the tournament for next year.
First-day leader Hunter Hawkins retook sole possession of the lead with a 5-under 67. After being tied with Smylie Kaufman, the Vestavia Hills’ resident went backward giving Hawkins a five-stroke lead heading into today’s final round.
After an eagle to start off the back nine, Kaufman closed out the side with four bogeys, including going back-to-back on his final two holes.
Hawkins had three bogeys, too, but followed that with two eagles and four birdies and played his final four holes at 4-under.
Ott Chandler, the only other golfer from Calhoun County to make the cut, withdrew from the tournament.
Bran Strickland is the sports editor for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3570 or follow him on Twitter @bran_strickland.