Felton sits atop of Southern Am's leaderboard

Sports Reporter

After sharing the lead following the second round of the 109th Southern Amateur Championship, Jarryd Felton and Taylor Funk exchanged the tournament’s lead throughout their third round on Friday afternoon.
Grouped together, Felton and Funk were tied at 9-under headed toward the 18th hole. Funk putted twice for par. Felton landed an 8-iron approach and sunk a 7-foot birdie putt, taking a full share of the Southern Am lead at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point. Felton shot a 3-under 68 in the third round and led with a 10-under 203 – one stroke ahead of Funk’s 9-under 204.
The 68-stroke round was not easy, however. Consecutive bogeys on Par-4’s 13 and 14 placed Felton two strokes behind Funk through 16 holes. With a birdie on No. 17 and the closing birdie on the 18th green, Felton (68-67-68) stayed atop the leaderboard.
“I played really well on the front nine and set up a lot of good chances. I made a couple of good (birdies) and then the nice one on the eighth,” Felton said. “The back nine has played harder than the front nine (this week), so you really have to switch on. I hit a couple of bad tee shots on 13 and 14, recovering with birdies on 17 and 18.”
Felton had a bogey-free 3-under after the front nine, which was highlighted by a 30-foot birdie putt on the eighth green. The Australian had consecutive birdies on the fifth and sixth holes. Felton’s uphill putt on the eighth, a Par-4, was electrifying.
“I felt like I had done the same thing the first few days. Whether I holed them or not, it felt nice to get a long birdie putt was nice,” Felton said.
Funk was an even 35 after the front nine, but back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 brought him within one stroke of the lead. Funk used a birdie on No. 14 to overtake Felton after Felton’s second straight bogey. But the score was tied as Funk bogeyed the very next hole, Par-5 No. 15.
“I feel good that I am in a good position for tomorrow,” Funk said. “I played well on the front, but I really didn’t make any putts. Then I finally got something going on the back. I made a bad bogey on 15, but overall, I played solid.”
Felton is the reigning champion of three Australian amateur tournaments from 2014. The Aussie claims the Mandura Amateur, Tasmanian Open and New South Wales Amateur in his trophy case.
On Saturday, Felton hopes to pick up his first international win. Again, he’ll be grouped with Funk. They will be joined by Jonathan Hardee of Greer, S.C., who is in a two-way tie for third at 8-under 205. The threesome’s tee time is set for 9:20 a.m.
“It would be really good to pick up an international win,” Felton said. “I think that’s something that has eluded me for a while. I have a lot of wins in Australia, but it would be really good to get a win in the U.S.”
Pre-tournament favorite Bryson DeChambeau, the newly crowned NCAA champ and No. 2-ranked am in the world, posted a 5-under 67 to move within striking distance headed into Saturday's final round. DeChambeau had a three-putt bogey on 18, ending his round in verbal and visible frustration at the scorers’ tent.
Low Mississippians are Olive Branch’s Braden Thornberry (3-under 210) and Hattiesburg’s Davis Riley (2-under 211).

Follow Will Nations on Twitter @NationsSports.

54-hole Leaders, 109th Southern Amateur
Old Waverly Club, Par 71, 7,088 yards

Jarryd Felton, Perth, Aus..................68-67-68--203
Taylor Funk, Ponte Vedra FL.............60-65-69--204
Jonothan Hardee, Greer SC...............71-68-66--205
Ben Suarez, Sulpher LA....................71-66-68--205
Matt NeSmith, N. Augusta SC...........69-71-66--206
Dawson Armstrong, Brentwood TN.....70-67-69--206
Joshua Lee, Orange Park FL.............68-68-69--207
Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis CA........72-68-67--207
Jake McLeod, Queensland AUS........69-69-69--207
Taylor Hancock, Clearwater FL..........70-69-68--207
Sepp Straka, Valdosta GA................69-68-70--207
Henry Maybett, Griffin GA.................69-68-70--207
Cameron Davis, Sydney AUS........... 70-67-70--207