After 16 holes of play, Conner Albright was sitting in a pretty good position in the Macon-Middle Georgia Championship.
Albright, who just ended his collegiate golf career at Georgia College, was at 1 over and was sitting just two strokes out of the lead and in second place at Healy Point Country Club behind Stan Gann Jr.
But Albright triple-bogeyed the 17th and ended the day with a 76, missing Sunday’s final threesome by one stroke.
Gann, in a quest to win the championship for the fifth straight year, led the way with a 71, while Coleman Tidwell shot a first-round of 74 for second place. Shawn Hodge sits in third place after shooting a first round of 75.
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For Albright it was a frustrating finish to the day.
“I was trying to make sure I would be in the final pairing, and I guess maybe I was trying to play a little safe and just played 17 very poorly,” said Albright, who has been in the final pairing with Gann in the two years he has played in the tournament. “I just have to get out here Sunday and have a quick start and try to get back in the tournament. The greens are playing very tough, and anyone can go out here on Sunday and have a poor round. I just have to take advantage of the birdie holes, and I should be fine.”
Gann struggled early and sat at 1 over after 11 holes. But he took advantage of the par-5 12th, making eagle, and then he added a birdie on the 13th. His round was the only one below par Saturday.
“It was very difficult, and you can tell by the overall scores how tough it was out there,” Gann said. “I finally was able to put together a few good holes and I stayed away from the high numbers, and it was good enough to lead the tournament. I know Sunday will be a tough day, but I feel like I am in a position to where 18 pars for me will win the tournament.”
The final group of Gann, Tidwell and Hodge should make for an interesting threesome.
“I played with Coleman on Saturday and he was very good, so I am sure he will do the same thing,” Gann said. “Sean is my four-ball partner and we have played tons of golf together, and I love playing with him. I am sure that it will be a battle, but it will also be a lot of fun playing with those guys.”