The former Harrison High School standout and rising South Alabama sophomore finished with a 3-over 75 in Saturday’s third round at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek course.
After jumping on top of the leaderboard with a 68 on Friday, Garretson now sits at third at 3-under 213, four shots behind former Alabama golfer Lee Knox, the 2010 Georgia Amateur champion.
“I need to execute my shots better,” Garretson said. “I had a few errant drives, and I have to keep the nerves away when I’m putting. If I do all that, I should be good.”
Knox shot 70 to move to 7-under 209 and claim a two-shot lead on Matt Russell (69). Knox highlighted his round with an eagle on No. 9, but three bogeys on the back nine prevented him from stretching his lead any further.
Scott Weeks (74) and defending champion David Noll Jr. (69) are one stroke behind Garretson.
Garretson started out smoothly, and a birdie on No. 9 left him even at the turn, but he ran into trouble at the par-4 11th. When Garretson’s tee shot went into the woods, and the ball couldn’t be located, he had to go back to the tee box for a second time, taking a two-shot penalty, and ultimately settled for triple-bogey 7.
Garretson traded pars and bogeys on the next four holes and got back on track with a birdie on 16.
“I just learned to forget about (errant shots),” Garrettson said. “I didn’t learn to forget about it before I got to college, but I just try to stay focused on the present.”
Recent Walton graduate David Yowell is in a tie for sixth at 215 after a 71. Of the 28 holes he played Saturday — which included the final 10 holes of his rain-delayed second round — Yowell had just two bogeys.
The rising senior hit the green in regulation on many of his holes, giving him chances for birdie putts, but he only came through Nos. 7, 8 and 13.
“I’m just going to hit my shots and make pars,” Yowell said when asked about his chances in today’s final round. “I’m not going to go for every green. I’m just going to stick with my game plan and make pars.”
Needing a big surge today to vie for the title is Pinetree Country Club member Mark Strickland. Strickland shot 73 on Saturday and is nine strokes behind Knox for the tournament.
Kennesaw State’s Jimmy Beck jumped four spots to 17th after a 73 left him at 3-over 219. He recovered from a triple bogey on 5 by birdieing Nos. 8, 9 and 16.
Former KSU golfer Chad Wilson, shot 70 and is 22nd overall at 220, despite a double bogey on 18. He also struggled on 18 as his second round concluded earlier Saturday, when he had a quadruple-bogey 8.
When Wilson wasn’t on the 18th hole, he played well, totaling six birdies and two bogeys in the third round.
“If 18 wasn’t so bad, I’d be in a pretty good spot,” Wilson said.
Marietta’s Tom Price Jr. (75) at 25th at 221. Price putted well, saving five pars, but his difficulty was reaching greens in regulation.
Kennesaw resident Chris Hall (74) shaved three strokes from his second round and is in a group at 223 with Kennesaw State’s Austin Vick (74). Another stroke back are former Harrison golfer Patrick Garrett (79), Kennesaw’s Christian Raynor (76) and Kennesaw State’s Jonathan Klotz (74).
Marietta’s Matthew Hayes (80) is at 225, and a third-round 80 dropped Marietta’s Tommy Caswell Jr. to 232.