ZACHARY — Wet conditions and slow greens kept most of the field off balance, but Mike Drury and Brandt Garon found it to their liking Saturday morning at BREC’s Player of the Year golf tournament.
Drury and Garon each toured the Beaver Creek golf course in 2-under par 70 to tie for the lead heading to Sunday’s final round. Blaine Patin, who won the tournament in 2013, was a stroke back at 71 while Ed Mitchell shot 72.
Scott Haynie was three strokes off the lead after a 73. Shane Starns, the points leader for overall player of the year before the tournament, shot 74 and is tied for sixth place with Landon Covington.
The final round begins at 7 a.m. Sunday with the final group scheduled to tee off at 8:12 a.m.
“The greens were a little slow, but that’s understandable as wet as its been,” Drury said. “I just had to commit to hitting putts firm. As long as I did that I didn’t have a problem.”
Connor Johnson found the greens tougher to navigate, and shot 76.
“At first I didn’t realize you needed to have Thor’s hammer to get the ball to the hole,” he said. “After a while, I started lagging the ball just trying to avoid a three-putt.”
Drury’s round featured four birdies to offset a double bogey at the par-5 11th, where he pushed his tee shot out of bounds. He responded with birdies at 13, 15 and 16, and lipped out a birdie putt at 18 that would have given him the outright lead.
The last two birdies at 15 and 16 were particularly satisfying for Drury. He rolled in a 50-footer at 15, and then knocked a wedge to 8-feet in 16.
In contrast, Garon played the front side at even par before making birdies at 11 and 13. He was happy to close the round with five consecutive pars.
“Everyone out here knows about the stretch of holes between 14 and 17,” Garon said. “If you hit a great shot, you can go for birdie. Otherwise, you just take your par and keep on going.”
Garon began his round with birdies at the first and fifth holes.
At the par-5 sixth, he lost his second shot in the trees while trying to hit the green in two. He took double bogey, but rebounded on the back nine.
Patin, who has used an anchored putter in recent BREC tournaments, switched to a short putter. Despite the conditions, he was pleased with his results on the greens. His round of 71 featured birdies on 2, 11 and 13, three of the four par-5s. His missteps were bogeys at 4 and 5.
Avoiding bogeys will be a key component for Sunday’s final round. For Drury, doing that will start with driving the ball straight.
“I actually didn’t hit the driver well today,” Drury said. “I’m hitting the irons good so if I can hit my driver I’ll have a good chance to score well.”