Anders Albertson never played Sunnehanna Country Club before this week, but the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference champion from Georgia Tech quickly found the course to his liking.
“This course rewards you for striking the ball well,” Albertson said Saturday following the conclusion of his third round at the 60th Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions. “You have to putt well here, too. The greens are tricky. It’s an awesome course.”
Albertson played well enough through the opening two rounds that he sat six strokes back of co-leaders Steven Ihm and Tom Lovelady at 3-over par.
He felt a better round was coming. It happened Saturday.
Albertson played bogey-free golf and was one of several players who made significant strides up the leaderboard. He birdied Nos. 1, 9, 11 and 13 for a 4-under 66 that moved him to 1-under (209) with four others .
“I played well all week, even in my practice round,” Albertson said. “I played the same today as I did the first two rounds, but I got a couple putts to fall.”
Albertson’s fit for Sunnehanna hasn’t paid off on the scoreboard through two rounds, though he sat just six strokes back of co-leaders Steven Ihm and Tom Lovelady at 3-over.
Joining Albertson at 1-under are Rick Lamb, Mike Miller, Jordan Niebrugge and Anthony Paolucci.
Niebrugge, like Albertson, made a big move upward on Saturday. He carded six birdies, including four on the back nine to finish 3-under for the round. Lamb overcame a triple bogey on No. 6 where he hit a tree then found a bunker.
An eagle on No. 11 and five birdies helped Brad Valois move from plus-7 to 3-over following his round of 66.
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Past champions: University of Alabama standout Bobby Wyatt, the nation’s top-ranked amateur, won’t become the first back-to-back champion at Sunnehanna since Ricky Fowler claimed titles in 2007 and 2008.
Wyatt finished the third round with a 2-over 72, giving him a total of 221, which missed the cut. Things started well for Wyatt, who eagled the par-4 No. 3, but he was unable to overcome an opening day score of 79.
Pittsburgh native Nathan Smith, the 2011 champion, carded a 70 and made the cut with a three-round total of 216.