In order for that to happen, however, Travis Nance of Cartersville must rebound from his worst round yet of the four-day event, which began Thursday.
When asked about his round Saturday, where he shot a 1-over-par 73, Nance said, “[It was] not as good as I was hoping; [I] kind of went a little backwards. … But as much as I get to play, I can’t expect a lot. I don’t get to play that much.”
After shooting consecutive 71s Thursday and Friday for a 2-under-par 142, which placed him near the top of the leaderboard, the 33-year-old was seemingly on his way to another top-10 finish after tying for 10th at last year’s Georgia Open and tying for third in 2009.
“Tomorrow, I just gotta hit my irons better, and I just gotta make some more putts,” said Nance, who is tied for 16th with a score of 215. “I haven’t put a lot of work into it. I really haven’t played a lot in the last month.”
Storming back to win the tournament may be a long shot for Nance, who sits 10 strokes behind leader Jay McLuen of Forsyth. McLuen shot a 70 Saturday after posting rounds of 69 and 66.
“My goal, I’d like to try to get a top-five [finish]. I know I’m not gonna win, but I’d take a top-five [finish], definitely a top-10,” Nance said.
Nance was among a handful of local golfers who struggled Saturday as rain delayed the tournament for a while.
Larry Clark of Kingston did not point to the rain, or subsequent delay, as a contributing factor for his rough outing, though.
“[It] was not very pretty today. I didn’t play very well,” said Clark, who shot a 7-over-par 79. “[I] just didn’t play very well, couldn’t make any putts, got frustrated and forced it. … Barnsley is such a tough golf course. You gotta be patient and if you try to force it, it usually goes the other way.”
Clark sits tied for 60th with a 9-over-par score of 225. He shot a 75 Thursday before posting his best round on Friday with a 71.
“[I need to] just make some putts early and be patient. That’s all you can do. I feel like I’ll play decent [today]. I had a pretty good practice session after [the third round],” Clark said. “I’d like to play a good round at even par or better [today]. You finish where you finish.”
Other Bartow County golfers at the Georgia Open include Blake Darnell and Ricky Casko.
Darnell, much like Nance, sat amongst the top 20 or so golfers going into Saturday’s round — he shot a 71-72 over the first 36 holes — but fell back from the pack a bit with a 4-over-par 76 in the third round. He heads into the final round today tied for 33rd with a 3-over-par 219.
Casko, son of Cass High football coach Rick Casko, produced the best day of any of the local golfers. Ricky Casko, a Troy University golfer, rebounded from back-to-back rounds of 75 and 74 to shoot a 72 on Saturday. At 5-over-par, Casko is tied for 41st with his score of 221.
Those tied with Casko include Kyle Beardslee of Canton, Jonathan Keppler of Marietta, Cates Culpepper of Columbus, Shawn Koch of Cumming, Mark Strickland of Woodstock and former Atlanta Braves pitcher-turned-professional golfer John Smoltz of Alpharetta.
Another Bartow golfer, Aden Faddis, missed the cut Friday after shooting a +16 the first two rounds.
Faddis, like Casko, Clark and Darnell, is listed as an amateur golfer.