ATHENS, Ga. -- If a Georgia player is to win the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at UGA, one of the three remaining Bulldogs will have to mount a charge from the exact same position in the final 18 holes.
Ex-Georgia players Hudson Swafford, Paul Claxton and Justin Bolli are all tied for 15th at 8 under after Saturday’s third round at the UGA Golf Course, trailing leader Tyrone Van Aswegen by five strokes.
That’s a sizable margin to overcome, but they hope their home-course knowledge might be worth a stroke or two in a potential comeback.
“I know where the pins are going to be tomorrow,” said Swafford, who shot a 2-under 69 Saturday. “I’ve seen everything. I know how it’s going to break around these certain pins and I know the spots where I can be aggressive and I just basically need to execute the golf shots, really, and I think I’ll have a chance.”
Bolli and Claxton were actually two of Saturday’s biggest movers, with both veterans shooting 5-under 66. That matched the 66s from Woody Austin, Shawn Stefani and Lee Janzen for third-best scores of the day, trailing only Van Aswegen’s 65 and Bio Kim’s 64.
At 12 under, Kim is tied with Austin and second round co-leader Billy Horschel (who shot 69 Saturday) for second place.
“I’ll still play really aggressive and try to make a lot of birdies, but it’s kind of out of my hands,” Bolli said of the gap between himself and the leaders. “If I just shoot low, that’s all I can do.”
He certainly closed with a flourish, carding four birdies and five pars on the back nine Saturday after making the turn at 1 under. He said a par save on No. 9 was actually the launching point for his round.
“I think I was only 1 under at the time, kind of going back and forth, and I made that and that pretty much got me going. I played pretty well after that,” Bolli said.
Claxton and Bolli will be paired together in the 11:05 a.m. group, seven groups behind the leaders. Swafford and Kevin Foley will tee off two groups before them at 10:45 a.m.
Swafford said the earlier start, perhaps before the wind begins swirling through the pine trees that dot the course, might create an advantage over the later groups.
“The wind won’t be quite as bad. It’s all about going out there and getting off to a hot start,” Swafford said. “You get 2 or 3 under through five and you never know. This course has yielded a couple low rounds this week, which it usually doesn’t. But it is out there and I know that.”