Former Columbus High golfer Charlie Flowers' goal coming into the Southeastern Amateur tournament was to shoot at or near 10-to-12-under par. That score is typically good enough to win.
At 8-under through three rounds, he is holding up his end of the bargain, but still has an uphill climb in Saturday's final round at the Country Club of Columbus. Despite his strong score, Flowers is still nine strokes back of leader Grant Hirschman, who is on a record-setting 54-hole pace.
After tying the course record of 62 on Thursday, Hirschman (Collierville, Tenn.) flirted with the record again on Friday by shooting a 63 and putting himself at 17-under for the tournament. Not only does he have a chance to repeat as Southeastern Amateur champion on Saturday, but he can also break the all-time 72-hole tournament record (264) with a 67 and the post-renovation tournament record (268) with an even-par 71.
A victory would make Hirschman the 20th player to win the tournament twice and only the 10th to win it in consecutive years. The Oklahoma University golfer said he can't remember ever being on a run quite like his past two rounds.
After posting a 9-under 62 on Thursday, he bogeyed No. 1 on Friday before reeling off five birdies on the front nine. He birdied five straight holes around the turn, Nos. 7-11, and finished the day with an 8-under 63.
"This is probably my first time getting a run like this going," he said. "I'm seeing a lot of putts go in, and I'm making a lot of birdies. I wasn't even ever thinking about the course record, but I thought about it on the last fairway and was like, 'Man, I might have a chance.'"
Hirschman has a five-stroke lead over second-place golfer Carter Page.
Flowers is tied for seventh, though his three-round total of 205 would typically put him in contention to win the tournament. Despite the large gap between himself and the leader, Flowers said he won't be changing his approach going into Saturday's final round. He played near bogey-free golf on Friday, bogeying just one hole (No. 7).
"I'm just going to stay with my plan and if they just play awesome and shoot 20-under, then they beat me," Flowers said. "I would have to play overly aggressive to try and shoot what they're shooting, and that wouldn't work out for me. If I mess up, my wedge game isn't strong enough to get up and down, so I just have to play safe and if I lose, I lose. Hats off to them."
Other local golfers making Friday's cut include Bobby Brent (4-under), James Clark (even-par), David James (1-over), Rhoades Sturkie (2-over) and Parker Derby (2-over).
Country Club of Columbus
Grant Hirschman, Collierville, Tenn. 71-62-63--196
Carter Page, Waynesville, N.C. 70-62-69--201
Vince Whaley, McKinney, Texas 69-68-66--203
John Jonas, Jacksonville, Fla. 65-72-67--204
Vaughn McCall, Australia 70-66-68--204
Steven Fisk, Stockbridge, Ga. 68-66-70--204
Charlie Flowers, Columbus 70-67-68--205
Jack Williams, Adelaide, Australia 68-69-68--205
Sean Kelly, Bradenton, Fla. 75-66-65--206
Matt Lisk, Australia 73-67-66--206
Beau Titsworth, Wexford, Pa. 68-69-69--206
Anthony Quayle, Australia 68-71-68--207
Keenan Huskey, Greenville, S.C. 70-68-70--208
Jared Bettcher, Auburn, Ala. 71-67-70--208
Jonathan Newnham, Starkville, Miss. 71-68-69--208
Bennett Baker, Tallahassee, Fla. 67-72-70--209
Tyler Joiner, Leesburg, Ga. 70-72-67--209
Bobby Brent III, Columbus 70-71-68--209
Zachary Healy, Peachtree Corners, Ga. 73-67-69--209
Andreas Gjesteby, Norway 71-69-70--210
Gideon van der Vyver, South Africa 71-70-69--210
Dawson Armstrong, Brentwood, Tenn. 73-70-68--211
Matthew Marquez, Trinidad 73-70-68--211
Michael Pisciotta, Alpharetta, Ga. 69-74-68--211
Joshua Lee, Orange Park, Fla. 70-72-69--211
Jake Marriott, Naples, Fla. 70-73-69--212
Dillon Board, Jacksonville, Fla. 68-74-70--212
Lee Hodges, Ardmore, Ala. 70-71-71--212
Matthew Mahle, Lexington, Ky. 68-73-71--212
Wesley Gosselin, Knoxville, Tenn. 75-70-67--212
Jarrett Swan, Mt. Pleasant, S.C. 72-70-71--213
Davis Parker, Augusta, Ga. 73-70-70--213
Nate Yankovich, Blacklick, Ohio 72-72-69--213
Emerson Newsome, Dacula, Ga. 72-72-69--213
Hunter O'Mahoney, Tequesta, Fla. 74-70-69--213
James Clark, Columbus 67-72-74--213
Shad Tuten, Savannah, Ga. 67-75-71--213
David James, Columbus 70-72-72--214
Charles Wang, Sarasota, Fla. 70-74-70--214
Robby Prater, Birmingham, Ala. 69-74-71--214
John Lorenzetti, Blythewood, S.C. 71-71-72--214
Forrest Knight, Clanton, Ala. 70-73-72--215
Tae Hyung Kim, Albany, Ga. 70-71-74--215
Jared O'Kelley, Canton, Ga. 71-71-73--215
Addison Coll, Arlington, Va. 72-69-74--215
Will Cannon, Birmingham, Ala. 69-71-75--215
Rhoades Sturkie, Columbus 68-76-71--215
Parker Derby, Columbus 74-71-70--215
Henry Mabbett, Griffin, Ga. 69-72-74--215
Jack Comstock, Jacksonville, Fla. 71-74-70--215
Michael Peter, Florence, Ala. 72-72-72--216
Justin Cho, Alpharetta, Ga. 74-72-70--216
Cory Howard, Jacksonville, Fla. 73-67-76--216
David Cooke, Bolingbrook, Ill. 71-74-71--216
Tye Waller, Griffin, Ga. 69-77-71--217
Chris Rogers, Dawson, Ga. 74-69-74--217
Blake Messer, Hampton Cove, Ala. 73-72-72--217
Taylor Hancock, Clearwater, Fla. 69-74-74--217
Taylor Davis, Franklin, Tenn. 73-73-71--217
Jacob Joiner, Leesburg, Ga. 71-71-75--217
Failed to make cut
Michael Hines, Woodstock, Ga.
Chase Hanna, Leawood, Kan.
Harrison Shih, Saddle River, N.J.
Andy Chu, Australia
Harley Abrams, Boca Raton, Fla.
Dominic Kieffer, Byron, Minn.
Ryan Cole, My. Airy, Md.
Carter Thompson, Tallahassee, Fla.
Dalton Skinner, Birmingham, Ala.
Ben Dietrich, Bluffton, S.C.
Jackson Stroup, Naples, Fla.
Kevin Lee, Gallatin, Tenn.
Dillon Woods, Jacksonville, Fla.
Taylor Martin, Braselton, Ga.
Joe Lewis, Savannah, Ga.
Chad Cox, Charlotte, N.C.
Taylor Hall, LaGrange, Ga.
Jack Larkin Jr., Atlanta
Travis Trace, Jacksonville, Fla.
Alex Handy, Aiken, S.C.
Emmanuel Kountakis, Martinez, Ga.
Drew Czuchry, Alpharetta, Ga.
Taylor Welborn, LaGrange, Ga.
Shea Sylvester, Roswell, Ga.
William Sellers, Montgomery, Ala.
Mel Mendenhall, Marietta, Ga.
Steven Vail, Australia
Will DiIanni, Kernersville, N.C.
Anthony Alex, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Sean Smothers, Tamarac, Fla.
Jacob Kline, St. Augustine, Fla.
Sam Asbury, Atlanta
Blake Dyer, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Jonathan DiIanni; Kernersville, N.C.
Bryce Chalkley, Richmond, Va.
Rhyne Jones, Johns Island, S.C.
Stanton Schorr, Columbus
Bart Middlebrooks, Columbus
Dowling Armstrong, Brentwood, Tenn.
Corey Stamper, Waynesville, N.C.
Jack Stumpfig, Villa Rica, Ga.
Jordan Gumberg, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.;DQ