Jon Mills was able to make a miraculous par save on the par-4 12th hole before darkness fell Saturday night during the third round of the South Georgia Classic. Mills’ approach to the green came up 60 yards short, then he got up and down to stay at 11 under par and take temporary possession of the lead in the fifth event on the 2011 Nationwide Tour schedule.
The tournament has been playing catch-up since Thursday’s thunderstorms that have kept each of the first three rounds from being completed on time. Only 39 of the 71 players who made the cut, which didn’t come until early Saturday afternoon, managed to finish the third round. The remaining 32 will return Sunday at 7:50 a.m. to finish Round 3. Sunday’s final round will begin at approximately 10:25 a.m.
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Mills has recorded 14 birdies through 48 holes, offset by just three bogeys, and is the overnight leader, but the Canadian, who became a father for the first time in March, has a lot of golf left to play.
“I’m not hitting it as good as I can, but I’m making up for it on the greens with chipping and putting,” said Mills, who brought his wife Megan and newborn Benjamin Andrew with him this week. “It’s going to be another long day tomorrow. Hopefully my little one doesn’t keep me up too late. This morning he had me up quarter to five, which is a little early. But it’s all part of the experience, I guess.”
Mills leads by one stroke over Monday qualifier Ted Potter, Jr. who has played 14 holes. Argentina’s Miguel Angel Carballo, first-round leader Mathew Goggin and three-time Nationwide Tour winner Charles Warren are two behind at 9 under at various points on the course.
Potter Monday-qualified for the event by firing a 66 at Glen Arven Country Club in Thomasville, Ga. This week is his 56th Nationwide Tour event.
“I'm very happy to just get into the event after that Monday qualifier, to play well is a bonus right now,” said Potter, whose best finish on Tour is a tie for 11th at the 2010 Chattanooga Classic. “I'm just trying to stay positive and take one shot at a time.”
While Potter has had little success on Tour, this week being his seventh career made cut, he has experienced tremendous success on the Hooters Tour, having won seven times.
“I've won quite a few tournaments on the Hooters Tour so I'm trying to draw back on those experiences and stay focused on every shot,” said the 2006 and 2009 Hooters Tour Player of the Year. “A win out here would mean I have a place to play the next couple of years and I wouldn't be so stressed on where I'll be the following year.”
Potter is seeking to become the first Monday qualifier to win since Kyle Reifers won the 2006 Chattanooga Classic.
--The third round was suspended when darkness fell at 8:12 p.m. Sunday’s final round tee times will run from approximately 10:25 a.m.-12:25 p.m.
--All four past winners of the South Georgia Classic are in the field this week: John Kimbell (2007/-6 through 12 holes), Bryan DeCorso(2008/+4 through 54 holes), Garth Mulroy (2009/-6 through 54 holes) and Ewan Porter (2010/-2 through 54 holes).
--There are currently five Monday qualifiers in the top 25: Brian Harmon (tied for 19th), Matt Hendrix (tied for 14th), Brent Long (tied for sixth), Michael O’Neal (tied for 19th) and Ted Potter Jr. (second).